With improved AMD GPU rendering support in Cycles

Blender 3_0 - Sprite Fright

For Blender users worldwide, we have some exciting developments to share about AMD graphics card support. Blender 3.0 was announced with some rewrites to the rendering engine Cycles (aka Cycles X). This removed OpenCL™ support for rendering on AMD GPUs for technical and performance reasons. To help address this, AMD has been working very closely with Blender to improve support for GPU rendering in Blender using the AMD HIP API, to ensure users of AMD graphics cards can take advantage of all the enhancements found in Cycles X.

For AMD GPUs, this will be Blender 3.0, expected in December 2021.

Previous versions of Cycles, Blender’s physically-based path tracer, supported rendering via the OpenCL framework. OpenCL is a C-based programming language that allows running programs on many GPUs which support it. However, moving forward, our partners at Blender were hoping to merge the separate OpenCL code with the C++ CPU and CUDA rendering code. In short, with Cycles X, they were looking for a way to compile a single codebase that could be used on all the different devices Cycles can render on, including AMD graphics cards.

Luckily, AMD has an open-source solution for developers just for that. HIP (Heterogeneous-computing Interface for Portability) is a C++ runtime API and kernel language that allows developers to create portable applications for AMD and NVIDIA® GPUs from a single source code. This allows the Blender Cycles developers to write one set of rendering kernels and run them across multiple devices. The other advantage is that the tools with HIP allow easy migration from existing CUDA® code to something more generic.

AMD has been working closely with Blender to add support for HIP devices in Blender 3.0, and this code is already available in the latest daily Blender 3.0 beta release.


AMD Support for the Blender 3.0 Beta

To use this with a supported AMD graphics card, an updated AMD Radeon™ Software driver is needed. Today we are releasing a beta driver for users who wish to test out our support for Cycles X in the latest Blender 3.0 Beta Windows® release. As this is a beta release of both our driver and Blender 3.0, our support for Cycles X is currently in preview. We will have more to share about our support in December when Blender 3.0 is expected to be launched.

We love the Blender community and are excited to better support it for rendering on AMD GPUs. In addition to our continuing support of the Blender Development Fund, we will continue contributing code to Blender development to benefit users and improve their workflows and experiences. Stay tuned, as there is more to come!

Compatibility: Cycles X in Blender 3.0 is enabled on AMD RDNA™ architecture graphics cards and up in Windows, and support has been validated by AMD on the following desktop graphics cards:

  • AMD Radeon™ PRO W6800
  • AMD Radeon™ 6900 XT
  • AMD Radeon™ 6800 XT
  • AMD Radeon™ 6800
  • AMD Radeon™ 6700 XT
  • AMD Radeon™ 6600 XT
  • AMD Radeon™ 6600

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Blender is a registered trademark (®) of the Blender Foundation in EU and USA. NVIDIA and CUDA are registered trademarks of NVIDIA Corporation. OpenCL is a trademark of Apple Inc. used by permission by Khronos Group Inc. Windows is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other jurisdictions.

Blender 3.0 – “Sprite Fright” image CC BY Blender Studio – https://studio.blender.org/films/sprite-fright/.