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Nvidia will launch ray tracing on GTX GPUs

Nvidia will launch ray tracing on GTX GPUs

Why it matters: When Nvidia first unveiled its RTX 20-series line past year, one of the main features it pushed was the real-time ray tracing abilities.

Nvidia has also announced that Unity and Unreal Engine now support ray tracing, allowing developers to implement the tech into their games. The company will be releasing a driver for the recently launched GeForce GTX 1660 and 1660 Ti, along with multiple previous-generation Pascal-based 10-series cards. This also includes the mobile and Max-Q versions of these cards. Nvidia says RTX GPUs will be two to three times faster than GTX ones thanks to their RT cores. In other words, it rips out all traditional effects and replaces them with ray-traced lighting, reflections, shadows and VFX. The image rendering technique, considered by Nvidia to be the "holy grail" for computer graphics, will soon be available on Pascal and Turing GTX cards. In turn, that could make going to the extra effort of enabling ray-tracing in games more appealing to developers because, in theory, more people should be able to witness their efforts.

The company has created a demo of Quake II that uses NVIDIA's RTX technology as well as HDR, something else NVIDIA inserted into id Software's iconic shooter. DXR support is integrated into Windows and comes with DirectX 12, it has nothing to do with the RT cores that are exclusive to NVIDIA's RTX GPUs.

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During the GTC keynote on Monday, Nvidia and Unity showed off a quite convincing, but not flawless, real-time ray tracing rendering of a BMW 8 series.

Another RTX-exclusive feature includes DLSS (Deep Learning Super Sampling), which is known to improve performance with ray tracing.

For games like Battlefield V that use a lot of reflections, NVIDIA says you should be able to bring down the ray count by reducing the number of surfaces that are reflecting - which means you should get playable framerates with a GTX card.