Published: Mon, April 15, 2019
Technology | By Lionel Gonzales

Nvidia Brings Ray Tracing to GTX Cards: Here's How to Enable It

Nvidia Brings Ray Tracing to GTX Cards: Here's How to Enable It

As of GeForce driver release 425.31, previous generation Pascal-based GPUs from NVIDIA, and current generation Turing GTX GPUs, will now support ray tracing in games that make use of DirectX Raytracing (DXR).

Starting today, Ray Tracing is available on GeForce GTX 16 Series and GTX 10 Series video cards.

The drivers also arrive with optimizations for Anno 1800 and some fixes for game crashing bugs.

The long and short of it being that simple reflections and shadows can be had without awful performance drops on cards that lack RT hardware, however the more rays an effect requires, the worse the performance hit gets (or perhaps, the better an RTX card would look).

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You can check out more performance details over at Nvidia's dedicated post, or check out this video in which Nvidia's VP of Technical Marketing, Tony Tamasi, explains a bit more about DXR and its implementations in games. But there is a distinction to be made between RTX, which is specific to Turing cards that pack RTX cores, and DXR, an API and ray tracing feature set that's now baked into Windows 10. At the same time, you can also see that the GeForce GTX 1660 Ti is nearly as fast as the GTX 1080 despite having lower compute horsepower. These are far less computationally intensive and will not necessitate RT Cores depending on how game devs have implemented these effects. Be warned: All three leverage multiple ray tracing techniques, and Nvidia's numbers show them chugging hard on GTX graphics cards using the same strenuous settings mentioned above.

According to NVidia, playing Battlefield V at 1440p with Ultra DXR enabled would get you around 22FPS on a GTX 1080 - 18FPS on a 1070 and a lowly 12FPS on a 1060. Due to the extra processing power required for such effects, the lowest-end GPU supporting the tech will be the GTX 1060, and even then, that will be a strain for most games. He stated that even the most powerful GTX GPU which is the 1080ti will only be able to exhibit the ray tracing features at a maximum resolution of 1080p. The Turing architecture is advanced and provides more room for ray tracing as it can execute floating point and integer instructions at the same time. 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. The company has also released three demos to exhibit and try out this new feature with the GTX GPUs called Atomic Heart RTX tech demo, Justice tech demo and Reflections tech demo.

Meanwhile, if you want ambient occlusion, which delivers subtle shadow and lighting effects, you'll be able to run that at 59.5 fps on the RTX 2080 Ti (on an RTX tech demo), 47.6 fps on the RTX 2080, 33.7 fps on the RTX 2070 and 31.1 fps on the RTX 2060.

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