A Number of GeForce GTX Graphics Cards Will Now Support Ray Tracing

Alonzo Simpson
April 15, 2019

Back at the GDC 2019 in mid-March, Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang revealed that real-time raytracing technology was about to become available to a lot more Nvidia GPU owners in the coming weeks. Compared with GTX 10-series, the newer RTX cards can sometimes double, triple and even quadruple the frame rate for games or demos that use ray tracing. If you want to know what visual improvements ray tracing brings, Nvidia also released a downloadable Star Wars demo as well as ray tracing showcase demos for Justice and Atomic Heart.

If you wish to enjoy RTX games better, we strongly recommend you to go with at least an RTX 2060 that has dedicated RT cores required to process ray tracing better. All of the tuning for DXR support has presumably been done exclusively on Nvidia GPUs, so how AMD cards would perform in these workloads or with these features enabled is still unknown. This also includes the recently released GTX 16-series - the GTX 1660 Ti and GTX 1660. However, with some tweaking to settings and a resolution of 1080p, some games may in fact be playable with DXR enabled. For something that may not be as intensive (like Battlefield 5's somewhat basic reflections), GTX cards are capable of achieving some respectable frame rates at 1440p with DirectX Ray Tracing (DXR) turned on and game settings cranked up to ultra.

Battlefield V uses it for reflections, and Metro Exodus is using it for illumination and ambient occlusion. And while there are now only three games featuring ray tracing effects, NVIDIA has released three tech demos for you to try. On the other side of that coin, if you've been on the fence about buying an RTX card because you're not sure if ray tracing is worth the additional cost, this could be a good way to get a feel for the tech before deciding to take the plunge (assuming, of course, that you've got a supported GTX card in your current rig).

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This post originally appeared on Tom's Guide.

Today there are several ways to implement real-time ray tracing, and the effect of each method on performance depends on a number of aspects. In a presentation to the media, Nvidia's Director of Product Management Justin Walker gave Battlefield V as a point of comparison, stating that even a 1080 Ti would only be able to use all of its ray tracing features at just 1080p. If you own any of them, you can try out ray tracing in the above-mentioned games. NVIDIA also notes that Justice is the first game ever to feature real-time ray-traced caustic effects, which are light rays re-focused or scattered after hitting reflective or refractive surfaces. At the time of their announcement, NVIDIA announced that this driver would be released in April, and now this morning, NVIDIA is releasing the new driver.

If you're a GTX graphics card owner with a taste for trying ray tracing, an adaptive sync monitor should help significantly.

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