Both in the Nvidia Benchmarks (photo above) and according to benchmarks conducted by PC Gamer – when testing the comparable price of the GeForce RTX 3080 with the Radeon RX 6800 XT – Nvidia’s Ampere architecture showed almost twice the ray tracing performance than its competitor.
What is ray tracing and what hardware and games support it?
(Pocket-lint) – If you’re a gamer, you’ve probably heard of ray tracing, but you may not know exactly what that means or why it’s a big deal. We’re here to help.
Nvidia has been promoting ray tracing since it first announced its RTX 20 series graphics cards in 2018, but ray tracing is much more than just a marketing ploy to help sell graphics cards for high-end PCs and gaming hardware.
It is an emerging game visual enhancement technology that provides a much more immersive, eye-catching and visually pleasing gaming experience.
What is ray tracing?
Ray tracing is actually nothing new. It’s been around for years, but it’s only recently that PC hardware and technology have come to the point where you can implement ray tracing in a way that can really change your games. In real time.
In its simplest form, ray tracing is a system that is used to enhance lighting in games. This happens in many different ways. It is used in everything from reflections to shadows, both in the game environment and on the items it contains. This includes atmospheric effects, reflections from surfaces (water, metal, glass), and even diffused lighting.
Of particular interest is diffused lighting, which includes light that reflects off surfaces and reflects off others. In effect, it is an indirect light source which then helps to create a more realistic experience. Imagine the sunlight streaming into the room, then reflecting off the walls and floors and naturally brightening the entire room. This is one part of how ray tracing works.
When ray tracing is fully implemented, often you won’t even notice what’s happening unless you pay close attention as it’s part of the whole picture of a graphically stunning environment. It’s only when you see a comparison of games with and with ray tracing turned on and off that you see how this can make a difference.
Thanks to the latest and greatest Nvidia GPUs, it all happens in real time. This helps to generate “high definition reflections in real time that reflect the details in front of, behind, above and below the player or camera; details that the player could not see using previous techniques.”
In addition to reflecting light, shadows and ambient highlights, the ray tracing system can also add impressive visuals to in-game characters and even to the items they carry.
Think of the reflections of the player’s sword blade or metal armor showing the surrounding world with a mirror effect, but realistically mirrored and in real time – changing as the characters move and pass through the game world.
Reflections, shadow lighting and immersive visuals
This demo, built in the Unreal engine, shows off many of the next-generation rendering features that this technology makes possible. Effects in this demo include:
- Textured area lights
- Area of light shadows with ray tracing