Nvidia have taken us to the future with real-time Ray Tracing tech, and it’s glorious. They recently unveiled their new Quarto RTX cards, powered by Turing technology, at an event at Siggraph 2018. For those of you who don’t know, Ray Tracing is a technique that can deliver some fantastic lighting effects, but it has been quite a challenge to render in real-time, because of how resource-hungry the process is.
The new Turing architecture can render Ray Tracing about twenty five times faster than the previously used Pascal technology “by a factor of six”, as per Nvidia. The flagship card that has been unveiled is the Quarto RTX 8000, which costs $10,000, and can render up to 10 Giga Rays per second and a 48 GB frame buffer. The RTX 6000 is less powerful, and also cheaper at $6,300, and also does 10 Giga Rays per second, but with a 24 GB frame buffer. Finally, there is the RTX 5000, which costs $2,300 and does 6 Giga Rays per second with a 16 GB frame buffer.
Giga Rays, in case you’re wondering, refers to how many rays of lighting are being rendered- so 10 Giga Rays per second, for instance, amounts to 10 million rays per second. Which is pretty impressive. What’s even more impressive is the Quatro RTX family of cards, which also boast new DLAA anti-aliasing tech and interoperable rasterization, can compute up to 16 TFLOPS, an architecture that Nvidia as describing as “greatest leap” since the advent of 2006’s CUDA GPU.
Obviously, these cards are intended for professional use, and not for the average consumer. This means that they may not have a great impact on the gaming industry as of now. But it’s certainly exciting to think about the prospects, and the potential they represent, especially when you hear Nvidia claiming that in a few years, this technology should allow games to basically look like movies.
You can check out some of the demos below to see what Ray Tracing effects look like in real time. The videos below, created by Porsche, show Porsche 911 Speedster Concept using Ray Tracing effects, and then compare it with trailers made in real-time. It’s a pretty impressive leap indeed.