Intel Xe Graphics' Incredible Performance Uplift From OpenCL To oneAPI Level Zero To Vulkan

Written by Michael Larabel in Graphics Cards on 23 October 2020. Page 1 of 11. 35 Comments

Since picking up the Dell XPS 13 9310 for delivering Tiger Lake Linux benchmarks, most of the focus so far has been about the overall processor performance while in this article is our first deep dive into the Gen12 Xe Graphics performance on Linux with Intel's fully open-source graphics and compute stack. Here is a look at how the Tiger Lake Xe Graphics performance is with the Core i7-1165G7 ranging from OpenGL and Vulkan graphics tests to OpenCL, oneAPI Level Zero, and Vulkan compute tests.

The Core i7-1165G7 features Iris Xe "Gen12" Graphics with a clock frequency up to 1.3GHz and 96 execution units. From my testing of the Dell XPS 13 9310 retail unit thus far, it's the Xe LP graphics of Tiger Lake that have been the most interesting and compelling in terms of performance. The open-source Intel Linux graphics stack is ready to go for making use of Xe Graphics from gaming and other graphics with OpenGL 4.6 and Vulkan 1.2 acceleration to the Intel Compute stack providing OpenCL 3.0 and oneAPI Level Zero 1.0.

For this article in delivering the latest Linux Xe Graphics performance figures the Linux 5.9.1 kernel was used along with Mesa 20.3-devel. On the Intel compute stack side was the Compute-Runtime 20.41.18123 and Intel Graphics Compiler 1.0.5186.

With the Intel Vulkan support and Compute-Runtime offering stable support back to Gen8/Broadwell graphics, that was originally my target for as far back as the comparison was going to be. But in hitting some Broadwell/Gen8 issues/hangs in some of the compute tests and some of the other workloads just being too terribly slow, the comparison was then focused to mainly look at the all common Gen9 graphics since Skylake through Gen11 Ice Lake and now Gen12 with Tiger Lake. In any case here are a few Gen8 vs. Gen9 vs. Gen11 vs. Gen12 graphics tests that did successfully run without issue on Broadwell:

The Broadwell tests were done with a Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon. The Gen9 was tested on a Dell XPS with Core i7 8565U, the Gen11 on a Dell XPS with Core i7 1065G7, and then the Gen12 on a Dell XPS with Core i7 1165G7.

It's quite a straight-forward comparison with the Gen9/11/12 all using the Dell XPS of their time and running Ubuntu 20.10 with the above mentioned graphics driver stack configuration. During the benchmarking the CPU power consumption was also monitored using the Intel RAPL Linux interfaces for also being able to provide performance-per-Watt metrics.

Following the main Gen9 vs. Gen11 vs. Gen12 graphics/compute comparison are also some fresh Intel Tiger Lake vs. AMD Renoir metrics in this article too. All benchmarks were carried out using the open-source, fully-automated Phoronix Test Suite benchmarking software.

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