Intel Lands Vulkan Ray-Tracing Prep Work In Mesa 20.3

Written by Michael Larabel in Mesa on 6 November 2020 at 12:04 AM EST. 8 Comments
Following the news that we were first to report last month on Intel starting open-source public patches for Vulkan ray-tracing in preparation for their forthcoming Xe HPG graphics card, the initial prep work for that Vulkan ray-tracing support has now been merged in time for Mesa 20.3.

The Mesa 20.3 code branching is imminent and merged as of writing has just been patches to prep the infrastructure for allowing Intel's "ANV" Vulkan driver to support ray-tracing but not the actual extension enablement. Thus for this Q4'2020 Mesa3D update there might not be the working implementation, but that in turn would then most likely come with Mesa 21.0 next quarter. Given the Xe HPG release doesn't appear imminent, that timing should ultimately turn out fine.

What did land on Thursday were the NIR intermediate representation and SPIR-V intrinsics around ray-tracing and other work for SPIR-V's SPV_KHR_ray_tracing functionality. This MR is what hit the Mesa 20.3-devel tree.

It's great seeing Intel working to provide timely Vulkan ray-tracing support for their forthcoming capable hardware. NVIDIA's proprietary driver does support Vulkan ray-tracing on Linux and while AMD's forthcoming Radeon RX 6000 series graphics cards can handle ray-tracing we haven't yet seen any support working for the AMDVLK or RADV drivers. The most we've seen so far on the open-source side for AMD has been some ray-tracing work on their AMDGPU LLVM back-end. But hopefully it won't be much longer before seeing the support wired up for AMDVLK and RADV.
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