Intel’s upcoming Xe discrete GPUs will feature hardware-acceleration for real-time raytracing, similar to NVIDIA’s “Turing” RTX chips, according to a company blog detailing how the company’s Rendering Framework will work with the upcoming Xe architecture. The blog only mentions that the company’s data-center GPUs support the feature, and not whether its client-segment ones do. The data-center Xe GPUs are targeted at cloud-based gaming service and cloud-computing providers, as well as those building large rendering farms.
“I’m pleased to share today that the Intel Xe architecture roadmap for data center optimized rendering includes ray tracing hardware acceleration support for the Intel Rendering Framework family of API’s and libraries,” said Jim Jeffers, Sr. Principal Engineer and Sr. Director of Intel’s Advanced Rendering and Visualization team. Intel did not go into technical details of the hardware itself. NVIDIA demonstrated that you need two major components on a modern GPU to achieve real-time raytracing: 1. a fixed-function hardware that computes intersection of rays with triangles or surfaces (which in NVIDIA’s case are the RT cores), and 2. an “inexpensive” de-noiser. NVIDIA took the AI route to achieve the latter, by deploying tensor cores (matrix-multiplication units), which accelerate AI DNN building and training. Both these tasks are achievable without fixed-function hardware, using programmable unified shaders, but at great performance cost. Intel developed a CPU-based de-noiser that can leverage AVX-512.