“warning” ]Disclosure: Nvidia India blacklisted us because we called out a conflict of interest with a blogger/columnist/reviewer a few years ago. As of now, this individual holds an Nvidia email which he uses for business purpose and also writes for a couple of newspapers without any disclosure when plugging in NVIDIA promotion. The latest was an article about Metro Exodus talking about RTX feature with no disclosure.
Also, many industry insiders confirmed that he is being pitched to multiple third-party companies and AIC partners for promotional purpose until recently when it axed its streamer program in India- quietly. Many agree this would have violated Federal Trade Commission guideline if it was done in the US also guidelines set in India. Companies will take advantage of whatever they can get to do marketing and PR. It is up to the people who present content to their audience who should carry responsibility or make proper disclosures. All the more reasons to call out columnists, journalists and reviewers to call out for PR shilling. [/powerkit_alert]
Situation until now…
Many months have passed since Nvidia released the RTX series graphics cards. But the fate of the Nvidia RTX looked rather grim with only a limited number of games having RTX enabled, with the exception of Metro Exodus as its latest. It may seem things are picking on atleast in announcements, at least according to the leaked documents from Nvidia meant to be an official announcement for the GDC 2019.
Game studios that are onboard…
As per the official press release, Nvidia said Unreal Engine and Unity have integrated Microsoft DXR (DirectX RayTracing) which is needed for the currently available Nvidia to use RTX. The company will also provide comprehensive tools for developing ray tracing in games.
Support Pascal and Turing Graphics cards…
The biggest surprise is Nvidia to enable RTX features on the older GTX graphics cards. They cited the reason that it would enable developers to gain access to millions of gamers. The GTX architecture which will have this RTX support are Pascal and Turing architectures. Volta-based Titan V also includes RTX support. This feature will be enabled via a driver scheduled to be released on the month of April. Comparison between high-end GTX cards performance against mid-end RTX graphics cards with RTX enabled is something to look forward to. People’s reactions towards this feature also something we’ll get to watch.
The bare minimum support is the GTX 1060 6GB graphics cards. The support extends towards Turing based GTX 1660 and GTX 1660Ti graphics card. The complex high ray counts can only be handled by the RTX GPUs 2060 to 2080Ti and the Titan RTX. The effectiveness of its quality with GTX 1060/GTX 1660/Ti graphics cards is what we need to look at. It is not something great, but its there. If older games and eSports titles can take advantage of this, there is some novel attraction towards enabling DXR in these NVIDIA graphics cards. It also contradicts Nvidia earlier claims of having DXR support only in RTX enabled graphics card. So there might be a class-action lawsuit.
Nvidia did set some expectations of what kind of RTX performance should be roughly expected on the GTX cards, and recommended people to use RTX GPUS to enjoy 2-3x faster ray-tracing performance:
With this driver, GeForce GTX GPUs will execute ray traced effects on shader cores. Game performance will vary based on the ray-traced effects and on the number of rays cast in the game, along with GPU model and game resolution. Games that support the Microsoft DXR and Vulkan APIs are all supported.
However, GeForce RTX GPUs, which have dedicated ray tracing cores built directly into the GPU, deliver the ultimate ray tracing experience. They provide up to 2-3x faster ray tracing performance with a more visually immersive gaming environment than GPUs without dedicated ray tracing cores.
Nvidia’s comparison in performance between GTX 1080Ti and RTX 2080
Due to the nature of how RTX works, there will be some difference in performance and/or rendering quality. The rendering quality on the Pascal and Turning might be stifled to make RTX look superior, but that’s speculation at this point. Nvidia did present some numbers which ideally should be taken with some salt. This was emphasized with the currently support RTX Games Battlefield V, Shadow of the Tomb Raider and Metro Exodus.
Games showcased in GDC 2019 for RTX showcase
Three games are named to have RTX feature- Control, Dragonhound and Quake II RTX. These games will be shown at the GDC 2019. ‘Control’ is a demo video showcasing ray-traced global illumination, reflections and shadows. While Nexon’s upcoming MMORPG will feature real-time raytraced reflections and shadows.
Quake II RTX, as the name suggests, is modified to support ray tracing with optimized graphics and physics. This game is the first to use NVIDIA VKRay, its Vulkan API which enables ray-tracing in its games. It is uncertain if this will be available for the public.