What is Ray-Tracing?

Credit: NVIDIA

Not sure why everyone is so hyped about ray tracing? Here’s what you need to know.

What is ray tracing?

Ray tracing is new graphical rendering technique allows for a more authentic depiction of lighting and shadows by rendering it in a more realistic way. Rather than try and achieve the illusion of realistic lighting, ray-tracing leverages the additional compute and deep learning capabilities afforded by the Turing architecture found in Nvidia's modern graphics cards to simply emulate it outright.

A quick video showing off what ray-tracing can do can be seen below:

What do I need to experience ray tracing?

If you’re looking to experience ray-tracing for yourself, you’ll need two things:

  • One of Nvidia’s new RTX-series graphics cards

  • A game that supports ray-tracing

Currently, there are four Nvidia graphics cards available that support ray-tracing: the RTX 2060, 2080 Ti, 2070 and 2080.

However, at this year’s GDC, Nvidia announced plans to bring support for basic ray tracing to GTX 16-series GPUs and GTX 10-series graphics cards from the GTX 1060 upwards.

When this capability arrives in April via a GeForce driver update, Developers won’t need to do anything special to support ray tracing on GTX GPUs. If a game has ray tracing, compatible GTX cards will automatically work with it.

Credit: NVIDIA

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Fergus Halliday
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