Embree 4.0 Is Running Well On Intel 4th Gen Xeon Scalable "Sapphire Rapids"

Written by Michael Larabel in Software on 10 February 2023 at 09:00 AM EST. Page 1 of 3. 8 Comments.

This week Intel released Embree 4.0 as the newest version of their open-source, high performance ray-tracing library. While the headline feature is now having support for GPU acceleration with SYCL to take advantage of Arc Graphics and other GPU hardware with SYCL support, for those that have long been using Embree on CPUs its performance has also improved. Here are some initial CPU-based benchmarks I did this week on Embree 4.0 with Intel's new 4th Gen Xeon Scalable "Sapphire Rapids" processors.

Embree 4.0

Embree 4.0 offers "beta" support for SYCL to target Intel Arc Graphics and other GPUs. In a follow-up article I'll be looking at that while today's article is looking at the Embree 4.0 CPU performance with long being fond of this Intel open-source project -- just one of many great open-source software projects from the company -- and also enjoying it as an interesting and real-world ray-tracing tests for CPU performance testing.

Embree 4.0

Embree 4.0 is a big update over the Embree 3.13 series that has been around since May 2021. In turn Embree 4.0 will get picked up by Intel's wonderful OSPRay ray-tracing engine and its OSPRay Studio interactive software and also used by other software making use of Intel's oneAPI Rendering Toolkit. Those unfamiliar with this open-source Intel project and wanting to learn more can do so at Embree.org.

For some initial Embree 4.0 benchmarking, first I ran some comparisons of the prior Embree 3.13 series to Embree 4.0 series on the same hardware and using the same inputs/configurations between versions.

Following the v3.13 vs. v4.0 testing is also a look at how Embree 4.0 compares when limiting its ISA / used instruction capabilities. The Embree path-tracer allows restricting the ISA used to make it very trivial to compare the impact of AVX, AVX2, and AVX-512 on the ray-tracing performance. So that was looked at too while also looking at the Sapphire Rapids power consumption and peak frequency metrics.

All of this initial Embree 4.0 testing was carried out on the Intel Xeon Platinum 8490H dual socket "Sapphire Rapids" Eagle Stream server provided by Intel for review purposes. The server is equipped with two of these 60-core / 120-thread processors, 16 x 64GB DDR5-4800 system memory, and Samsung MZWLJ1T9HBJR 1.92TB NVMe SSD storage. Ubuntu 22.04 LTS was running on this system with an upgrade to Linux 6.2 Git and making use of the Intel P-State performance governor during testing.

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