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Maxon releases Redshift for AMD in public alpha

Monday, June 27th, 2022 | Posted by Jim Thacker

Originally posted on 26 April 2022. Scroll down for news of the Redshift for AMD alpha release.

Maxon and AMD have announced that Redshift, Maxon’s GPU renderer for DCC tools like 3ds Max, Blender, Cinema 4D, Houdini and Maya, is now compatible with AMD’s Radeon Pro GPUs on Windows and Linux.

The move – teased in last week’s release trailer for Redshift 3.5, which also introduced support for CPU and hybrid rendering – makes Redshift compatible with AMD, Apple Silicon and Nvidia processors.

Support for AMD GPUs on Windows and Linux is currently in closed beta, and will become publicly available when AMD releases its Radeon Pro Software for Enterprise 22.Q1 drivers “later this quarter”.

Making Redshift compatible with AMD as well as Nvidia and Apple GPUs
The option to run Redshift on AMD GPUs on Windows and Linux was first teased as “coming soon” in Maxon’s launch video for Redshift 3.5, the latest version of the renderer, which was released last week.

The change will make Redshift compatible with all major makes of GPU currently used in production, with the exception of Intel’s upcoming Arc A-Series cards.

Maxon introduced support for AMD GPUs to macOS versions of the previously Nvidia-only renderer last year, followed soon after by native support for the Apple Silicon processors used in current Macs.

AMD support achieved using HIP, as with Cycles X
As with Cycles X, the major rewrite of Blender’s Cycles render engine rolled out in Blender 3.0 last year, support for AMD GPUs in Redshift has been achieved via AMD’s HIP platform.

An open-source C++ runtime API and kernel language, HIP (Heterogeneous-Compute Interface for Portability) lets developers create software that run on both Nvidia and AMD GPUs from a single code base.

Sometimes described as a way of porting tools written using Nvidia’s CUDA computing framework to AMD GPUs, HIP has been around for several years, but was initially mainly used in high-performance computing.

AMD claims that HIP has “little or no performance impact over coding directly in CUDA mode”.

The firm has also just announced HIP RT, a new GPU ray tracing library that could provide an alternative to Nvidia’s OptiX API or DirectX 12’s DXR, although its release comes after the work on Blender and Redshift.

Publicly available later this quarter for Radeon Pro W6800 and Radeon Pro VII GPUs
To use Redshift on an AMD GPU, users will need Radeon Pro Software for Enterprise 22.Q1, the next update to AMD’s drivers for its workstation graphics cards – actually due out later this quarter, Q2 2022.

The renderer is officially supported on two AMD workstation GPUs: the firm’s current top-of-the-range card, the Radeon Pro W6800, and the previous-gen Radeon Pro VII.


Updated 27 June 2022: Following the release of AMD’s latest workstation GPU drivers – now rebranded AMD Software: Pro Edition 22.Q2 – Maxon has released an AMD-compatible build of Redshift in alpha.

It’s Windows-only – a Linux version will follow “at a later date” – but runs on a wider range of AMD GPUs than Maxon’s original blog post suggested: it works with most cards with AMD’s RDNA or RDNA 2 architectures.

Gaming cards supported include all discrete Radeon RX Vega GPUs, the Radeon RX 5500 and above in the Radeon RX 5000 Series, and the Radeon RX 6600 XT and some higher Radeon RX 6000 Series cards.

Of AMD’s workstation GPUs, cards from the current Radeon Pro W6000 Series and previous-generation cards like the Radeon Pro WX 9100 should also work.

The alpha release has limited multi-GPU support – multi-GPU rendering works, but it doesn’t scale well – and doesn’t support hardware accelerated ray tracing, which should follow “at a later date”.

System requirements, pricing and release dates
Redshift for AMD is available in public alpha for Windows only. Current Redshift users can apply to join the alpha program by following the instructions in this forum thread.

The current version of the renderer, Redshift 3.5, is available for Windows 10, glibc 2.17+ Linux and macOS 11.5+. The software is rental-only, with individual subscriptions costing $45/month or $264/year.

Read Maxon’s announcement of Redshift support for AMD GPUs

Visit AMD’s webpage on running Redshift on AMD GPUs

Full disclosure: in my life outside CG Channel as a freelance technology writer, AMD recently commissioned me to produce marketing material on HIP.

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