The importance of drivers was highlighted once again, as it was found that a single line of missing code drastically reduced the performance of applications. intel gpu.
According to reports, a new fix made to the Intel graphics drivers for Linux improves ray tracing performance up to 100 times. Can Intel Arc expect the same kind of improvements?
As reported by Phoronix, the switch to the open source Intel Mesa Vulkan driver was made by Lionel Landwerlin on Thursday. Landwerlin is an intel Linux graphics driver engineer with years of experience under his belt, but this time the fix was relatively small: all it took was one line of code to achieve, as Landwerlin put it, “like a 100x improvement.” (not kidding).” It all boils down to a problem with memory allocation.
Due to something as simple as a missing line of code, the memory allocation task was not set up the way it should have been. Normally the Vulkan driver would ensure that the Vulkan ray tracing tasks were assigned to the discrete Intel GPU. However, due to monitoring, the Vulkan controller was moving data to the slower outboard system memory and then back again. These messy transfers had a massive impact on the graphics card’s ray tracing performance.
Adding the bit of code to Mesa 22.2 should bring tangible improvements. The update will be released to end users in late August, and while it’s still some time away, there will likely be plenty of time before customers can buy the new Intel Arc GPUs in any major capacity.
Intel Arc, in general, seems to be struggling with driver optimization. Although the GPUs, which have been plagued by various delays, are still scarcely available, they are likely to hit the end market soon. Intel is set to attend LANfest in Colorado with a gaming bus full of Arc-based computers, so late September seems like a safe bet, but the launch could happen even before then.
Meanwhile, various Intel graphics cards are being spotted in benchmarks, some of which are released by Intel. The company revealed in a recent Linus Tech Tips video that it went all out on DirectX12 support, which is part of the reason so many games just don’t run well on Intel Arc. There are still some software optimizations that need to be done before the graphics cards are released to a wider audience.
News about Intel driver fixes is something of a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it’s great that such a huge performance boost is on the way; On the other hand, this was a pretty big oversight with a clear impact on graphics performance. When it comes to Intel Arc GPUs, the hardware definitely has potential, so hopefully Intel can resolve the driver issues soon enough.