Blender Cycles Rendering Support For Intel Arc Via oneAPI + SYCL Under Review

Written by Michael Larabel in Intel on 13 April 2022 at 02:00 PM EDT. 11 Comments
Opened up at the end of March is the work-in-progress Intel oneAPI back-end for Blender's Cycles renderer. This Intel GPU back-end focused for supporting the company's forthcoming Intel Arc graphics cards is targeting the open-source oneAPI Base Toolkit and making use of SYCL. There still is more code work needed, but it's good to see this coming together to complement Blender's NVIDIA CUDA and AMD HIP support.

With Blender 3.0 having removed OpenCL acceleration, at least until there is any viable Vulkan back-end developed it's been up to vendor-specific rendering back-ends with the NVIDIA CUDA/OptiX code leading the way followed by AMD HIP. (With Blender 3.2 this summer is where the AMD HIP acceleration on Linux will finally be in place.) Intel engineers recently sent out for review their code adding a Cycles back-end for Intel GPUs via oneAPI and the SYCL API. Via the industry standard SYCL, this back-end could potentially be used with other driver stacks in the future.

This Intel back-end can work for Gen12 integrated graphics but Intel's focus is clearly on Intel Arc dedicated GPUs. From the review, "This implementation has been tested on Tiger Lake and Alder Lake integrated GPUs as well as Intel Arc graphics pre-production silicon which is our current focus. Compilation time for targets prior to Intel® Arc™ is known to be unexpectedly long (currently around an hour) and is being worked on."

More details on this in-progress Blender Cycles code for Intel GPUs via This back-end has been tested on both Windows and Linux but does require having all necessary oneAPI components installed for successfully enabling GPU acceleration. Hopefully this Blender back-end will be squared away and mainlined in time for more Intel Arc graphics hardware appearing later this year.
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