Intel showcased its Arc Gaming and Arc Pro graphics cards are SIGGRAPH this week and one of the company's rep confirmed that the blue team is ready with Multi-GPU support through its oneAPi.
Intel Arc Multi-GPU Support Through oneAPi On The Way For Arc Pro & Arc Gaming Graphics Cards
Update: Intel has confirmed that the Multi-GPU rendering support is only for Blender 3.3 on Arc & Arc Pro graphics cards and not for gaming. They have issued the following statement.
Intel showed a Blender Cycles rendering demo at SIGGRAPH with Intel Arc graphics. Multi-GPU rendering support for Intel Arc and Intel Arc Pro graphics cards through oneAPI is supported starting in Blender 3.3. Intel Arc graphics does not support multi-GPU for gaming.
It has been several years since AMD & NVIDIA abandoned any sort of multi-GPU support for their consumer-grade graphics cards. While the technology still exists in the server and HPC segment, it has more or less disappeared from the gaming scene. The reason is due to the poor scaling & value that Multi-GPU APIs offer in games plus having Multi-GPU supported within engines means that developers have to add in extra hard work for an extremely small user base.
Content creation apps and server workloads on the other hand can offer better utilization of multiple GPUs and we have seen how NVIDIA with its MIG (Multi-Instance GPU) design & AMD with its GPU chiplets are gaining the ground in the HPC segment. Intel has a similar chiplet-Esque design coming soon with its Ponte Vecchio and its future Rialto Bridge iteration that will take advantage of oneAPi's multi-GPU suite.
Even looking at content creation apps, we see that NVIDIA's top-of-the-line hardware has been designed to support at least two-way NVLINK. There's a reason why the NVIDIA RTX 3090 series alongside the RTX A6000 graphics cards offer that functionality since certain PRO workloads are designed to do just that.
Intel with its oneAPi believes that they can also leverage Multi-GPU performance of their own hardware including Arc Gaming and Arc Pro graphics cards. Talking to TweakTown's Rob Squires, An Intel representative stated that Arc Multi-GPU support was ready to be showcased at SIGGRAPH 2022 however the reason they didn't show any demos was because the only test unit they had for Arc was a small NUC chassis which can only house a single graphics card, in this case, an Arc A770 Limited Edition.
Intel is finalizing their oneAPi software for multi-GPU support. It turns out that it was only due to the inability to find the right chassis that prevented Intel from showing off a multi-GPU solution on the show floor this week.
What was made clear, though, is that software support for an Intel multi-GPU solution is here and almost made its debut at SIGGRAPH 2022. The source we spoke with at Intel was referring to the consumer version of the discrete Arc GPU line, but adding support for the Arc Pro line should not be that far behind.
The Intel representative also revealed that the Multi-GPU oneAPi software support they were going to showcase was developed around the consumer Arc GPUs or the Gaming lineup but the company will also be adding support for the same technology across its Arc Pro lineup of chips. Now whether oneAPi Multi-GPU optimization only targets PRO apps or gaming too remains to be seen but it would definitely be nice to see if Intel gets to offer some decent Multi-GPU gaming performance versus its competitors. The company has already been adding various Multi-GPU optimizations to its oneVPL and oneAPI libraries.
Having two Arc A750 running together could offer a nice gain in performance versus an RTX 3070 or RTX 3080 in the right gaming title (optimized around DX12 & Vulkan APIs) but one reason why Multi-GPU is no longer viable for most gaming PCs is that it adds more cost, more power, more heat and the overall portfolio of apps and games that can take advantage of it are too low, to begin with. Hopefully, with Intel disclosing more details of its Arc lineup in the days ahead, we will get more detailed information.
News Sources: Igor'