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posted by martyb on Friday April 12 2019, @01:11PM   Printer-friendly
from the who-is-Ray-and-who-wants-to-trace-him? dept.

NVIDIA Releases DirectX Raytracing Driver for GTX Cards; Posts Trio of DXR Demos

Last month at GDC 2019, NVIDIA revealed that they would finally be enabling public support for DirectX Raytracing on non-RTX cards. Long baked into the DXR specification itself – which is designed [to] encourage ray tracing hardware development while also allowing it to be implemented via traditional compute shaders – the addition of DXR support in cards without hardware support for it is a small but important step in the deployment of the API and its underlying technology. 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.

As we covered in last month's initial announcement of the driver, this has been something of a long time coming for NVIDIA. The initial development of DXR and the first DXR demos (including the Star Wars Reflections demo) were all handled on cards without hardware RT acceleration; in particular NVIDIA Volta-based video cards. Microsoft used their own fallback layer for a time, but for the public release it was going to be up to GPU manufacturers to provide support, including their own fallback layer. So we have been expecting the release of this driver in some form for quite some time.

Of course, the elephant in the room in enabling DXR on cards without RT hardware is what it will do for performance – or perhaps the lack thereof.

Also at Wccftech.

See also: NVIDIA shows how much ray-tracing sucks on older GPUs

[For] stuff that really adds realism, like advanced shadows, global illumination and ambient occlusion, the RTX 2080 Ti outperforms the 1080 Ti by up to a factor of six.

To cite some specific examples, Port Royal will run on the RTX 2080 Ti at 53.3 fps at 2,560 x 1,440 with advanced reflections and shadows, along with DLSS anti-aliasing, turned on. The GTX 1080, on the other hand, will run at just 9.2 fps with those features enabled and won't give you any DLSS at all. That effectively makes the feature useless on those cards for that game. With basic reflections on Battlefield V, on the other hand, you'll see 30 fps on the 1080 Ti compared to 68.3 on the 2080 Ti.

Previously:


Original Submission

Related Stories

Microsoft Announces Directx 12 Raytracing API 7 comments

https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2018/03/microsoft-announces-the-next-step-in-gaming-graphics-directx-raytracing/

At GDC, Microsoft announced a new feature for DirectX 12: DirectX Raytracing (DXR). The new API offers hardware-accelerated raytracing to DirectX applications, ushering in a new era of games with more realistic lighting, shadows, and materials. One day, this technology could enable the kinds of photorealistic imagery that we've become accustomed to in Hollywood blockbusters.

[...] Because of the performance demands, Microsoft expects that DXR will be used, at least for the time being, to fill in some of the things that raytracing does very well and that rasterization doesn't: things like reflections and shadows. DXR should make these things look more realistic. We might also see simple, stylized games using raytracing exclusively.

The company says that it has been working on DXR for close to a year, and Nvidia in particular has plenty to say about the matter. Nvidia has its own raytracing engine designed for its Volta architecture (though currently, the only video card shipping with Volta is the Titan V, so the application of this is likely limited). When run on a Volta system, DXR applications will automatically use that engine.

https://www.anandtech.com/show/12546/nvidia-unveils-rtx-technology-real-time-ray-tracing-acceleration-for-volta-gpus-and-later

In conjunction with Microsoft’s new DirectX Raytracing (DXR) API announcement, today NVIDIA is unveiling their RTX technology, providing ray tracing acceleration for Volta and later GPUs. Intended to enable real-time ray tracing for games and other applications, RTX is essentially NVIDIA's DXR backend implementation. For this NVIDIA is utilizing a mix of software and hardware – including new microarchitectural features – though the company is not disclosing further details.


Original Submission

Nvidia Announces Turing Architecture With Focus on Ray-Tracing and Lower-Precision Operations 8 comments

NVIDIA Reveals Next-Gen Turing GPU Architecture: NVIDIA Doubles-Down on Ray Tracing, GDDR6, & More

The big change here is that NVIDIA is going to be including even more ray tracing hardware with Turing in order to offer faster and more efficient hardware ray tracing acceleration. New to the Turing architecture is what NVIDIA is calling an RT core, the underpinnings of which we aren't fully informed on at this time, but serve as dedicated ray tracing processors. These processor blocks accelerate both ray-triangle intersection checks and bounding volume hierarchy (BVH) manipulation, the latter being a very popular data structure for storing objects for ray tracing.

NVIDIA is stating that the fastest Turing parts can cast 10 Billion (Giga) rays per second, which compared to the unaccelerated Pascal is a 25x improvement in ray tracing performance.

The Turing architecture also carries over the tensor cores from Volta, and indeed these have even been enhanced over Volta. The tensor cores are an important aspect of multiple NVIDIA initiatives. Along with speeding up ray tracing itself, NVIDIA's other tool in their bag of tricks is to reduce the amount of rays required in a scene by using AI denoising to clean up an image, which is something the tensor cores excel at. Of course that's not the only feature tensor cores are for – NVIDIA's entire AI/neural networking empire is all but built on them – so while not a primary focus for the SIGGRAPH crowd, this also confirms that NVIDIA's most powerful neural networking hardware will be coming to a wider range of GPUs.

New to Turing is support for a wider range of precisions, and as such the potential for significant speedups in workloads that don't require high precisions. On top of Volta's FP16 precision mode, Turing's tensor cores also support INT8 and even INT4 precisions. These are 2x and 4x faster than FP16 respectively, and while NVIDIA's presentation doesn't dive too deep here, I would imagine they're doing something similar to the data packing they use for low-precision operations on the CUDA cores. And without going too deep ourselves here, while reducing the precision of a neural network has diminishing returns – by INT4 we're down to a total of just 16(!) values – there are certain models that really can get away with this very low level of precision. And as a result the lower precision modes, while not always useful, will undoubtedly make some users quite happy at the throughput, especially in inferencing tasks.

Also of note is the introduction of GDDR6 into some GPUs. The NVIDIA Quadro RTX 8000 will come with 24 GB of GDDR6 memory and a total memory bandwidth of 672 GB/s, which compares favorably to previous-generation GPUs featuring High Bandwidth Memory. Turing supports the recently announced VirtualLink. The video encoder block has been updated to include support for 8K H.265/HEVC encoding.

Ray-tracing combined with various (4m27s video) shortcuts (4m16s video) could be used for good-looking results in real time.

Also at Engadget, Notebookcheck, and The Verge.

See also: What is Ray Tracing and Why Do You Want it in Your GPU?


Original Submission

Nvidia Announces RTX 2080 Ti, 2080, and 2070 GPUs, Claims 25x Increase in Ray-Tracing Performance 23 comments

NVIDIA Announces the GeForce RTX 20 Series: RTX 2080 Ti & 2080 on Sept. 20th, RTX 2070 in October

NVIDIA's Gamescom 2018 keynote just wrapped up, and as many have been expecting since it was announced last month, NVIDIA is getting ready to launch their next generation of GeForce hardware. Announced at the event and going on sale starting September 20th is NVIDIA's GeForce RTX 20 series, which is succeeding the current Pascal-powered GeForce GTX 10 series. Based on NVIDIA's new Turing GPU architecture and built on TSMC's 12nm "FFN" process, NVIDIA has lofty goals, looking to drive an entire paradigm shift in how games are rendered and how PC video cards are evaluated. CEO Jensen Huang has called Turing NVIDIA's most important GPU architecture since 2006's Tesla GPU architecture (G80 GPU), and from a features standpoint it's clear that he's not overstating matters.

[...] So what does Turing bring to the table? The marquee feature across the board is hybrid rendering, which combines ray tracing with traditional rasterization to exploit the strengths of both technologies. This announcement is essentially a continuation of NVIDIA's RTX announcement from earlier this year, so if you thought that announcement was a little sparse, well then here is the rest of the story.

The big change here is that NVIDIA is going to be including even more ray tracing hardware with Turing in order to offer faster and more efficient hardware ray tracing acceleration. New to the Turing architecture is what NVIDIA is calling an RT core, the underpinnings of which we aren't fully informed on at this time, but serve as dedicated ray tracing processors. These processor blocks accelerate both ray-triangle intersection checks and bounding volume hierarchy (BVH) manipulation, the latter being a very popular data structure for storing objects for ray tracing.

NVIDIA is stating that the fastest GeForce RTX part can cast 10 Billion (Giga) rays per second, which compared to the unaccelerated Pascal is a 25x improvement in ray tracing performance.

Nvidia has confirmed that the machine learning capabilities (tensor cores) of the GPU will used to smooth out problems with ray-tracing. Real-time AI denoising (4m17s) will be used to reduce the amount of samples per pixel needed to achieve photorealism.

Previously: Microsoft Announces Directx 12 Raytracing API
Nvidia Announces Turing Architecture With Focus on Ray-Tracing and Lower-Precision Operations

Related: Real-time Ray-tracing at GDC 2014


Original Submission

Q2VKPT: An Open Source Game Demo with Real-Time Path Tracing 11 comments

Q2VKPT Is the First Entirely Raytraced Game with Fully Dynamic Real-Time Lighting, Runs 1440P@60FPS with RTX 2080Ti via Vulkan API

Q2VKPT [is] an interesting graphics research project whose goal is to create the first entirely raytraced game with fully dynamic real-time lighting, based on the Quake II engine Q2PRO. Rasterization is used only for the 2D user interface (UI).

Q2VKPT is powered by the Vulkan API and now, with the release of the GeForce RTX graphics cards capable of accelerating ray tracing via hardware, it can get close to 60 frames per second at 1440p (2560×1440) resolution with the RTX 2080 Ti GPU according to project creator Christoph Schied.

The project consists of about 12K lines of code which completely replace the graphics code of Quake II. It's open source and can be freely downloaded via GitHub.

This is how path tracing + denoising (4m16s video) works.

Also at Phoronix.

Related: Nvidia Announces Turing Architecture With Focus on Ray-Tracing and Lower-Precision Operations
Nvidia Announces RTX 2080 Ti, 2080, and 2070 GPUs, Claims 25x Increase in Ray-Tracing Performance


Original Submission

AMD and Nvidia's Latest GPUs Are Expensive and Unappealing 25 comments

AMD, Nvidia Have Launched the Least-Appealing GPU Upgrades in History

Yesterday, AMD launched the Radeon VII, the first 7nm GPU. The card is intended to compete with Nvidia's RTX family of Turing-class GPUs, and it does, broadly matching the RTX 2080. It also matches the RTX 2080 on price, at $700. Because this card began life as a professional GPU intended for scientific computing and AI/ML workloads, it's unlikely that we'll see lower-end variants. That section of AMD's product stack will be filled by 7nm Navi, which arrives later this year.

Navi will be AMD's first new 7nm GPU architecture and will offer a chance to hit 'reset' on what has been, to date, the least compelling suite of GPU launches AMD and Nvidia have ever collectively kicked out the door. Nvidia has relentlessly moved its stack pricing higher while holding performance per dollar mostly constant. With the RTX 2060 and GTX 1070 Ti fairly evenly matched across a wide suite of games, the question of whether the RTX 2060 is better priced largely hinges on whether you stick to formal launch pricing for both cards or check historical data for actual price shifts.

Such comparisons are increasingly incidental, given that Pascal GPU prices are rising and cards are getting harder to find, but they aren't meaningless for people who either bought a Pascal GPU already or are willing to consider a used card. If you're an Nvidia fan already sitting on top of a high-end Pascal card, Turing doesn't offer you a great deal of performance improvement.

AMD has not covered itself in glory, either. The Radeon VII is, at least, unreservedly faster than the Vega 64. There's no equivalent last-generation GPU in AMD's stack to match it. But it also duplicates the Vega 64's overall power and noise profile, limiting the overall appeal, and it matches the RTX 2080's bad price. A 1.75x increase in price for a 1.32x increase in 4K performance isn't a great ratio even by the standards of ultra-high-end GPUs, where performance typically comes with a price penalty.

Rumors and leaks have suggested that Nvidia will release a Turing-based GPU called the GTX 1660 Ti (which has also been referred to as "1160"), with a lower price but missing the dedicated ray-tracing cores of the RTX 2000-series. AMD is expected to release "7nm" Navi GPUs sometime during 2019.

Radeon VII launch coverage also at AnandTech, Tom's Hardware.

Related: AMD Returns to the Datacenter, Set to Launch "7nm" Radeon Instinct GPUs for Machine Learning in 2018
Nvidia Announces RTX 2080 Ti, 2080, and 2070 GPUs, Claims 25x Increase in Ray-Tracing Performance
AMD Announces "7nm" Vega GPUs for the Enterprise Market
Nvidia Announces RTX 2060 GPU
AMD Announces Radeon VII GPU, Teases Third-Generation Ryzen CPU
AMD Responds to Radeon VII Short Supply Rumors


Original Submission

Nvidia Ditches the Ray-Tracing Cores with Lower-Priced GTX 1660 Ti 6 comments

The NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti Review, Feat. EVGA XC GAMING: Turing Sheds RTX for the Mainstream Market

When NVIDIA put their plans for their consumer Turing video cards into motion, the company bet big, and in more ways than one. In the first sense, NVIDIA dedicated whole logical blocks to brand-new graphics and compute features – ray tracing and tensor core compute – and they would need to sell developers and consumers alike on the value of these features, something that is no easy task. In the second sense however, NVIDIA also bet big on GPU die size: these new features would take up a lot of space on the 12nm FinFET process they'd be using.

The end result is that all of the Turing chips we've seen thus far, from TU102 to TU106, are monsters in size; even TU106 is 445mm2, never mind the flagship TU102. And while the full economic consequences that go with that decision are NVIDIA's to bear, for the first year or so of Turing's life, all of that die space that is driving up NVIDIA's costs isn't going to contribute to improving NVIDIA's performance in traditional games; it's a value-added feature. Which is all workable for NVIDIA in the high-end market where they are unchallenged and can essentially dictate video card prices, but it's another matter entirely once you start approaching the mid-range, where the AMD competition is alive and well.

Consequently, in preparing for their cheaper, sub-$300 Turing cards, NVIDIA had to make a decision: do they keep the RT and tensor cores in order to offer these features across the line – at a literal cost to both consumers and NVIDIA – or do they drop these features in order to make a leaner, more competitive chip? As it turns out, NVIDIA has opted for the latter, producing a new Turing GPU that is leaner and meaner than anything that's come before it, but also very different from its predecessors for this reason.

That GPU is TU116, and it's part of what will undoubtedly become a new sub-family of Turing GPUs for NVIDIA as the company starts rolling out Turing into the lower half of the video card market. Kicking things off in turn for this new GPU is NVIDIA's latest video card, the GeForce GTX 1660 Ti. Launching today at $279, it's destined to replace NVIDIA's GTX 1060 6GB in the market and is NVIDIA's new challenger for the mainstream video card market.

Compared to the RTX 2060 Founders Edition, GTX 1660 Ti has fewer CUDA[*] cores, lower memory clock, and the same amount of VRAM (6 GB), but it has higher core/boost clocks and lower TDP (120 W vs. 160 W). GTX 1660 Ti has roughly 85% the performance of the RTX 2060, at 80% the MSRP ($279 vs. $349).

Crytek Demos Real-Time Raytracing for AMD and Non-RTX Nvidia GPUs 5 comments

Crytek Demos Noir, a CRYENGINE Based Real-Time Raytracing Demo on AMD Radeon RX Vega 56 – Can Run on Most Mainstream, Contemporary AMD and NVIDIA GPUs

Crytek has showcased a new real-time raytracing demo which is said to run on most mainstream, contemporary GPUs from NVIDIA and AMD. The minds behind one of the most visually impressive FPS franchise, Crysis, have their new "Noir" demo out which was run on an AMD Radeon RX Vega graphics card which shows that raytracing is possible even without an NVIDIA RTX graphics card.

[...] Crytek states that the experimental ray tracing feature based on CRYENGINE's Total Illumination used to create the demo is both API and hardware agnostic, enabling ray tracing to run on most mainstream, contemporary AMD and NVIDIA GPUs. However, the future integration of this new CRYENGINE technology will be optimized to benefit from performance enhancements delivered by the latest generation of graphics cards and supported APIs like Vulkan and DX12.

Related: Real-time Ray-tracing at GDC 2014
Microsoft Announces Directx 12 Raytracing API
Nvidia Announces Turing Architecture With Focus on Ray-Tracing and Lower-Precision Operations
Nvidia Announces RTX 2080 Ti, 2080, and 2070 GPUs, Claims 25x Increase in Ray-Tracing Performance
Q2VKPT: An Open Source Game Demo with Real-Time Path Tracing
AMD and Nvidia's Latest GPUs Are Expensive and Unappealing
Nvidia Ditches the Ray-Tracing Cores with Lower-Priced GTX 1660 Ti


Original Submission

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  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by opinionated_science on Friday April 12 2019, @02:28PM (5 children)

    by opinionated_science (4031) on Friday April 12 2019, @02:28PM (#828607)

    IMHO they are doing this so potentially cool stuff will work - and if it is slow, make a demand to upgrade....

    Otherwise, it is *kinda* nice for those of us that ray-trace , but not for games...

    • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 12 2019, @03:09PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 12 2019, @03:09PM (#828626)

      It sounds to me that it's more like "our nvidia hairworkx and whatever slow games down enough as it is, enable this too and then join our telemetry club to potentially get valuable discounts on forced upgrades!"

    • (Score: 4, Informative) by takyon on Friday April 12 2019, @03:24PM (2 children)

      by takyon (881) <reversethis-{gro ... s} {ta} {noykat}> on Friday April 12 2019, @03:24PM (#828633) Journal

      The good news is that AMD will probably be able to respond to Nvidia, and realtime raytracing (using machine learning to reduce complexity) will not be an Nvidia exclusive thing for long.

      https://wccftech.com/amd-navi-20-radeon-rx-graphics-card-ray-tracing-gcn-architecture-rumor/ [wccftech.com]

      Khronos Vulkan can also be used for raytracing, so no need to be tied to DirectX.

      https://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=news_item&px=Vulkan-Ray-Tracing-NVIDIA [phoronix.com]

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      [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 12 2019, @08:48PM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 12 2019, @08:48PM (#828736)

        Spoilers in summary have previous SN article Crytek Demos Real-Time Raytracing for AMD and Non-RTX Nvidia GPUs [soylentnews.org], so raytracing is already viable. And that was with AMD Vega 56, not the 64 or some pro model with everything enabled.

        Based in the NVidia RTX demo I saw weeks ago (something Russian looking), I wonder if the GTX are artificially crippled, because the RTX "with raytracing vs without" clearly was, non raytraced games don't have such sucky look today.

    • (Score: 2) by RamiK on Saturday April 13 2019, @02:00AM

      by RamiK (1813) on Saturday April 13 2019, @02:00AM (#828836)

      Or, maybe a different algorithm is possible that would trade off memory or quality so them developing a uselessly shitty backwards compatibility layer would prevent developers from exploring their options.

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      compiling...
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 12 2019, @06:01PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 12 2019, @06:01PM (#828691)

    >[For] stuff that really adds realism, like advanced shadows, global illumination and ambient occlusion, the RTX 2080 Ti outperforms the 1080 Ti by up to a factor of six.

    I have a 2080ti OC coming today to replace my 1080ti, which will replace a 1070 in another machine, but my expectation is just a 30% increase at best in the software I use.

  • (Score: 1) by Coward, Anonymous on Friday April 12 2019, @07:17PM (1 child)

    by Coward, Anonymous (7017) on Friday April 12 2019, @07:17PM (#828717) Journal

    Can we use GPU ray tracing to make POV-Ray faster?

  • (Score: 2) by bob_super on Friday April 12 2019, @10:32PM (1 child)

    by bob_super (1357) on Friday April 12 2019, @10:32PM (#828769)

    The point is obviously no to play games with ray-tracing. We all knew it would be slide-show speeds.

    The point is to accelerate rendering of ray-traced images for the many systems who don't need real-time (stills, architecture...) and to allow developers to check the improvements and their work even if they don't have an RTX yet.

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by loonycyborg on Saturday April 13 2019, @08:49AM

      by loonycyborg (6905) on Saturday April 13 2019, @08:49AM (#828911)

      Did you know that Wolfenstein 3D, the first ever FPS which was made in 1992, used a variant of raytracing technique? And ran at realtime speed on ancient cpus without any gpu? There is so many ways in which raytracing can be used so we can't make a blanket statement that it will result in low frame rates. It just happens that rasterization ended up easier to use and more practical. I wouldn't be surprised if this balance changes with advent of new hardware and more technical experience. But I wouldn't be surprised that this nvidia technology ends up yet another dead end either.

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