Monday, June 10, 2019

The Difference Between Hardware and Software Accelerated Ray Tracing?

You don’t need specialized hardware to do ray tracing, but you want it. Software-based ray tracing, of course, is decades old. And it looks great: movie makers have been using ray tracing for decades now. But it’s now clear that specialized hardware — like the RT Cores built into NVIDIA’s Turing architecture — makes a huge difference if you’re doing ray tracing in real time. Games require real-time ray tracing.

Once considered the “holy grail” of graphics, real-time ray tracing brings the same techniques long used by movie makers to gamers and creators. Thanks to a raft of new AAA games developers have introduced this year — and the introduction last year of NVIDIA GeForce RTX GPUs — this once wild idea is mainstream. Millions are now firing up PCs that benefit from the RT Cores and Tensor Cores built into RTX. And they’re enjoying ray-tracing enhanced experiences many thought would be years, even decades, away.