Published: Thu, March 21, 2019
Electronics | By Kelly Massey

Nvidia to enable ray tracing for non-RTX GPUs

Nvidia to enable ray tracing for non-RTX GPUs

As was made abundantly clear recently, however, that may well not be the case; Crytek has shown real-time ray tracing running on a demo called Neon Noir with convincing reflections rendered using its CryEngine game engine, and the kicker is that it was claimed to be running on the AMD Radeon RX Vega 56 graphics card, a GPU with precisely zero cores created to accelerate ray tracing workloads. "It all points to an exciting future for gamers". NVIDIA is also going to bring ray tracing to the Vulkan API.

NVIDIA has announced that they will be releasing a new GeForce Driver in April which will enable DXR support for Pascal GeForce 10 series and Turing GeForce 16 series graphics cards. A scaled up version of Pascal that would deliver 60 FPS in Metro Exodus with ray tracing enabled, just based on pure raw FP32 performance would end up being a 650W, 35 Billion transistor chip with a die size of 1324mm2, rocking a total of 44 TFLOPs of FP32 compute power. "On GeForce GTX hardware, these calculations are performed on the shader cores, a resource shared with many other graphics functions of the GPU". Nvidia says RTX GPUs will be two to three times faster than GTX ones thanks to their RT cores. "We will do our best to help try to communicate exactly what you can expect as the games come out, but the best I can say right now is: Basic, single effects, GTX can generally do", Nvidia's Walker explained.

Nvidia to enable ray tracing for non-RTX GPUs

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. DX12 Raytracing is already supported by some of the biggest game engines, including Unreal, Frostbite and CryEngine. "Now millions of developers working in Unity can achieve wonderful graphics with lightning speed", Nvidia vice president of Professional Visualization Bob Pette said.

In comparison, new RTX cards - the Titan RTX, RTX 2080 Ti, RTX 2080, RTX 2070 and RTX 2060 - are capable of rendering complex ray tracing effects. In other words, it rips out all traditional effects and replaces them with ray-traced lighting, reflections, shadows and VFX.

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