NVIDIA GeForce GTX Cards Getting Ray Tracing Support Soon

Donna Miller
March 21, 2019

Real-time ray tracing is coming next month to Pascal GPUs. If you head on over to the Nvidia news blog you can find stories about accelerated data science, GPUs powering Amazon Web Services, machine learning, 3D design collaboration tools, robotics, and automotive.

DirectX Raytracing (DXR) will be available on GeForce GTX 1060 6GB and higher GPUs.

HDRP (High Definition Render Pipeline), the avant-garde of raster-based solution which is capable of achieving breathtaking graphics in real time on consumer-grade hardware was released previous year. Without those cores on the silicon, GTX cards will only be able to support a reduced implementation of ray tracing.

Instead, the GTX 10 cards series will perform ray tracing calculations such as Bounding Volume Hierarchy (BVH), and on their shader cored ray/triangle intersection, while already handling the other tasks in the rendering traditionally rasterized. Nvidia is making the open source GameWorks RTX code available as well as plugins for Unreal Engine 4.22 and Unity's 2019.03 preview.

For example, the Metro Exodus has been used by Nvidia to demonstrate, compared to Turing, how much slower Pascal GPUs are at ray tracing, even after disabling the RT cores of the latter.

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But if this becomes a reality, he promised that Eskom and government would communicate this in an open and transparent manner. Eskom is still dealing with contractual issues for Medupi and Kusile power stations.

That all sounds well and good, as on paper Nvidia is bringing one of the features it touted for its flash new GeForce 20-series RTX graphics cards to GPUs that are a lot less heavy on the wallet.

At GDC Nvidia debuted a number of games and experiences utilising real-time raytracing. Additionally, Dragonhound is Nexon's upcoming online action RPG monster battle game that will feature real-time raytraced reflections and shadows.

The whole game is also using a special Vulkan extension that allows devs to add ray tracing effects to their games. It includes algorithms for ray traced area light shadows, glossy reflections, ambient occlusion and diffuse global illumination.

The results are impressive to say the least, especially when you factor in that Quake II is a game from 1997.

Unfortunately, the new drivers won't prevent the ray tracing from dragging down a game's frame rate.

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