Nvidia brings ray tracing to older cards

NVIDIA is bringing ray tracing to older GeForce GTX GPUs

Nvidia to enable ray tracing for non-RTX GPUs

The graphics chipmaker announced Monday at GDC 2019 it will enable DirectX ray tracing (DXR) on some of its older graphics cards with its Pascal architecture via a driver expected in April. Notable GameWorks RTX elements include; the RTX Denoiser SDK for fast real-time ray tracing (lowers the required ray count), and the Nsight for RT tool for DXR debugging and profiling.

Coming from the studio that gave us action-packed thrillers like the Max Payne series and Alan Wake, the upcoming Control from Remedy Entertainment is among the most anticipated games to arrive later this year, and in some newly-released footage, we can already see it will be a graphical powerhouse thanks to its inclusion of Nvidia's ray tracing tech behind it. Until now, Ray Tracing was exclusive to NVIDIA's RTX series of graphics cards, but not anymore. "We've been working very hard to optimize ray tracing across all our 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. They'll also be available for the newly-released GTX 1660 and 1660 Ti products.

However, by enabling ray-tracing support on older cards, Nvidia is effectively expanding the install base of ray-tracing enabled graphics cards.

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Unfortunately, the new drivers won't prevent the ray tracing from dragging down a game's frame rate. Currently, the two biggest titles are Battlefield V and Metro Exodus. NVIDIA explained that the original lighting in Quake II was baked and static, but when ray tracing is enabled the entire environment comes alive and looks completely different from the work id Software did in the 90s.

Nvidia has been paying close attention, announcing today a collaboration with Schied (himself a former Nvidia intern) on Quake 2 RTX-a "purely ray-traced game". Created by Christoph Schied, it used an RTX technique known as Path Tracing in order to create more lifelike lighting effects, and the results are impressive (there's a video at the bottom of the page). "You're going to want RTX for that", he added.

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