Some GeForce GTX graphics cards now support ray tracing

Some GeForce GTX graphics cards now support ray tracing

On Thursday, Nvidia released Game Ready drivers that unlock DirectX Raytracing support on the GeForce GTX 1660 and 1660 Ti, and on GTX 10-series graphics cards from the 6GB GTX 1060 on up.

The Titan X and Titan Xp are also supported. However, there are still a few interesting things to note here, namely how well our current best graphics card for 1080p victor, the GTX 1660 Ti, compares with Nvidia's much more expensive GTX 1080. To make it simple, the workload on processing the ray tracing increases with the number of rays involved. As you can see below, even the company's newly-released GTX 1660 and 1660 Ti cards offer subpar performance.

The Nvidia GeForce GTX series of GPUs from the GTX 1060 upwards will now support ray tracing.

NVIDIA gave us some idea of just how capable GTX cards will be when it comes to ray tracing.

Battlefield V, Shadow of the Tomb Raider, and Metro Exodus now support real-time ray tracing. But Nvidia's early discussions of DXR also emphasized that the performance impact of enabling ray tracing was ruinous - heavy enough that only specialty cards like Turing could handle it in the first place. That said, we're now unclear on whether these will be released publicly or just to the press and Nvidia partners - we've asked for clarification on this point. Update 11/04/2019: The Game Ready Driver for Anno 1800 with extended DXR support for GTX GPUs is available via the Nvidia GeForce driver download page.

Nvidia has no plans to rebadge its existing GTX inventory to make this update known despite it being a massive upgrade. Basically, this technology renders illumination, reflection, and shadow in a more realistic looking way, while working faster and more effectively than past technology. Microsoft used their own fallback layer for a time, but for the public release it was going to be up to GPU manufacturers to provide support, including their own fallback layer. I have yet to try out other titles like Battlefield V or Metro Exodus but if you are using a non-RTX graphics card, it is safe to say that you won't be getting a playable experience using ultra RT settings. Whether or not gamers want to use the DXR effects, with these new drivers the installed base of DXR cards just became many times larger.

The situation is pretty much similar in all other tests, including Justice, Atomic Heart, and Reflections RTX tech demos, as well as the Battlefield V game, where only at medium DXR effects, you can get over 60fps on GTX 1080 Ti at 1080p resolution. All three of them show off ray traced shadows, reflections, and the capabilities of NVIDIA DLSS, with Reflections taking things one step further by tossing ray-traced ambient occlusion into the mix as well.

While this is indeed big news, it's probably best not to get too excited about the prospect of ray tracing on GTX GPUs.

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