Nvidia’s real-time raytracing, powered by DXR (DirectX Raytracing), will be coming to many of its GeForce GTX 10 series GPUs in April. All GeForce GTX 1060 6GB GPUs and higher will be capable of ray-tracing, including the GeForce GTX 1660, 1660 Ti, and of course the RTX series.
Team Green has previously made quite a big deal about real-time ray-tracing only being possible with its latest RTX GPUs and their RT Cores, although the allure of a large install base to boast about evidently proved difficult to resist. Having optimised RTX hardware ray tracing performance in games, Nvidia turned its attention to GeForce GTX GPUs.
A simple driver update will be all that is required for the Pascal GPUs to begin supporting DXR. The GeForce GTX 1060 6GB and its ilk do lack the firepower and dedicated RT Cores of the RTX models though, so ray-traced performance will be significantly slower on GTX graphics cards.
For Nvidia, the benefit is pretty simple - with a single driver update, the total addressable market for ray-traced games is in the tens of millions. This should encourage a greater number of developers to embrace what is comparatively niche technology at this stage, driving up adoption.
In terms of what to expect performance-wise, Nvidia suggests GeForce RTX owners will benefit from 2-3x faster performance due to its RT Cores. It’ll, therefore, be easier to play at higher graphics settings and resolutions on RTX GPUs. Throw DLSS into the mix and the GeForce RTX 2080 (non-Ti) is capable of running Metro Exodus with ray-tracing three times faster than a GeForce GTX 1080 Ti.
That is perhaps an extreme example though, with Metro Exodus’ real-time ray-traced global illumination proving particularly demanding. In other titles, such as Shadow of the Tomb Raider and Battlefield V, the performance difference isn’t quite so pronounced. The more advanced and numerous the ray tracing effects, the greater the performance difference.
Driver support for DXR on GTX 10 GPUs will be coming in April. Games which support DXR won’t need any additional functionality patched in to support these older graphics cards.