Intel Xe May or May Not Support Ray Tracing

There were several reports from Intel’s developer conference in Tokyo suggesting Ray-Tracing support on the upcoming Xe GPUs. Kenichiro Yasu, Intel’s Director of Technology had presumably confirmed ray tracing on the upcoming Intel Xe GPUs. However, Intel has since denied said support and attributed the false reports to a poor translation.

Earlier this year, the same thing happened with Raja Koduri, Intel’s Chief Architect, as well. The report that Intel’s discrete GPUs will feature HBM2 memory and start at around $200 was attributed to a wrong translation to Russian and back. High Bandwidth Memory on a budget graphics card didn’t exactly bode well.

However, quite surprisingly, there is still a chance of ray tracing support on the Xe line-up. Intel has previously stated that it will offer ray tracing acceleration with its professional rendering platform on Xe graphics cards. Whether this support will also be featured in mainstream cards still to be seen. NVIDIA’s 20 series feature dedicated RT cores. However, a GPU can still perform ray tracing tasks and has been available in professional systems for quite some time now. Intel has been speaking of it for over a decade with regard to its Xeon server chips.

Currently, Intel offers professional libraries for ray tracing. A hardware-based solution similar to NVIDIA’s RTX GPUs is still uncertain. However, Intel’s OneAPI rendering toolkit makes use of DX11 and offers a ray-tracing solution that doesn’t require dedicated silicon. This is utilized by World of Tanks. This means that the upcoming Xe graphics cards might be able to run ray tracing titles regardless of dedicated RT cores.

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