Intel Arc Alchemist GPU Flexes In New Blender Benchmark

Blender video demo screen
(Image credit: Intel Graphics)

Intel Graphics has shared a video featuring the 3D rendering app Blender accelerated by an Intel Arc Alchemist GPU. Senior Software Evangelist & Developer Affinity Programs Manager at Intel, Bob Duffy, shows us how slickly the real-time rendering preview works with a bit of Arc desktop muscle applied to it.

After a short and sweet intro, Duffy takes us through setting up Blender for using the unreleased Intel GPU. Next, he does some snappy scene manipulation and quickly renders at excellent preview quality in the viewport.

Duffy doesn't mention any technical details of the Intel Arc GPU used in the demo. Moreover, the dialog boxes we see in setup and subsequent setting adjustments have the Intel Arc GPU technical details blurred out in the video. It spoils our fun somewhat, but thankfully someone in the Intel Graphics team must have given the following text overlay the green light (about 1min 10sec into the video): "Demonstration conducted on Intel Arc pre-production desktop discrete graphics card hardware. Results may vary."

Explaining how the upcoming Intel Arc Alchemist desktop GPU works in Blender, Duffy says that in this demo, the GPU specifically denoises the fast rendered scene and makes it a lot more pleasant and finished looking. Specifically, Duffy says Blender uses AI to leverage 'Intel Open Image Denoise.'

Duffy also shows how quickly Blender can update the high-quality preview when changing the properties of materials in the scene. To demonstrate this, he adjusts the refractive index of the glass object, center scene, several times.

Intel's Software Evangelist also shows some depth of field manipulation. Most of you will be familiar with the depth of field, but in brief, it is a photographic effect where things out of the chosen focus plane get blurred. It is an established and popular technique in portraiture, and now every new smartphone can do it or replicate it thanks to software/AI.

Duffy performed a final render of the tabletop scene to wrap up the video. It was completed in 7.3 seconds and looked snappy; however, he didn't provide any scene render comparison times using known GPUs from any vendor.

This updated Blender with Intel Arc acceleration features baked in will arrive "sometime in Q2," which is also the timescale in which we should see the discrete desktop GPUs. Remember, the Intel Arc laptop GPUs launch on Wednesday.

Intel seems keen for its Arc GPUs to succeed, so joining the Blender video demo earlier today in its social media feeds was a teaser video bearing the date 3/30/22.

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The teaser video is quite opaque and probably ranks among the worst teasers, including from Apple, Samsung, and Asus. However, we thought it wouldn't hurt to tack it onto the end of our Blender rendering story. So if you see something in Intel's short, dark and blurry video that we have missed, please let us know in the comments.

Mark Tyson
Freelance News Writer

Mark Tyson is a Freelance News Writer at Tom's Hardware US. He enjoys covering the full breadth of PC tech; from business and semiconductor design to products approaching the edge of reason.

  • bigdragon
    The 40 million triangle moon caught my attention. A 2080 Super tends to get upset when a sculpt hits 15+ million triangles in Blender 3.0. I do freelance game work in Blender, and if Intel is bringing the performance then goodbye Nvidia.

    The denoising and depth of field are completely unremarkable. Same process plays out on Nvidia and AMD GPUs too. I can't tell what's so special or AI about what Intel is doing. My BS detector fired up for those parts of the video.