NVIDIA Releases Ray Tracing Driver for GeForce GTX Cards, New Ray-Tracing Demos

Subject: Graphics Cards | April 11, 2019 - 09:02 AM |
Tagged: turing, rtx, ray tracing, pascal, nvidia, gtx, graphics, gpu, geforce, dxr, demo

NVIDIA has released the Game Ready Driver 425.31 WHQL which enables ray tracing for GeForce GTX graphics cards - a capability previously reserved for the company's RTX series of graphics cards. This change "enables millions more gamers with GeForce GTX GPUs to experience ray tracing for the first time ever", as the list of DXR-capable graphics cards from NVIDIA has grown considerably as of today.

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The list of NVIDIA GPUs that are DXR-capable now includes (in addition to the RTX series):

  • GeForce GTX 1660 Ti
  • GeForce GTX 1660
  • NVIDIA TITAN Xp (2017)
  • NVIDIA TITAN X (2016)
  • GeForce GTX 1080 Ti
  • GeForce GTX 1080
  • GeForce GTX 1070 Ti
  • GeForce GTX 1070
  • GeForce GTX 1060 6GB
  • Laptops with equivalent Pascal and Turing-architecture GPUs

NVIDIA previously warned of a performance deficit when comparing even high-end Pascal GPUs such as the GTX 1080 Ti to the Turing-based RTX 20-series GPUs when this driver update was discussed during GTC, and their position is that for the best experience dedicated ray tracing cores will be required, and will make a measurable impact - with or without DLSS (a feature that requires the RT cores of the RTX series of GPUs).

"With dedicated RT cores, GeForce RTX GPUs provide up to 2-3x faster performance in ray-traced games, enabling more effects, higher ray counts, and higher resolutions for the best experience. With this new driver however, GeForce GTX 1060 6GB and higher GPUs can execute ray-tracing instructions on traditional shader cores, giving gamers a taste, albeit at lower RT quality settings and resolutions, of how ray tracing will dramatically change the way games are experienced."

In addition to the driver release which enables the visual goodies associated with real-time ray tracing, NVIDIA has also released a trio of tech demos on GeForce.com which you can freely download to check out ray tracing first hand on GTX and RTX graphics cards. Not only will these demos give you a taste of what you might expect from games that incorporate DXR features, but like any good demo they will help users get a sense of how their system might handle these effects.

The demos released include, via NVIDIA:

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Atomic Heart RTX tech demo - Atomic Heart tech demo is a beautifully detailed tech demo from Mundfish that features ray traced reflections and shadows, as well as NVIDIA DLSS technology.

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Justice tech demo - Justice tech demo hails from China, and features ray traced reflections, shadows, and NVIDIA DLSS technology.  It is the first time that real time ray tracing has been used for caustics.

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Reflections tech demo - The Reflections tech demo was created by Epic Games in collaboration with ILMxLAB and NVIDIA. Reflections offers a sneak peek at gaming’s cinematic future with a stunning, witty demo that showcases ray-traced reflections, ray-traced area light shadows, ray-traced ambient occlusion for characters and NVIDIA DLSS technology.

The download page for the tech demos can be found here.

And now to editorialize briefly, I'll point out that one of the aspects of the RTX launch that did not exactly work to NVIDIA's advantage was (obviously) the lack of software to take advantage of their hardware ray tracing capabilities and DLSS, with just a few high-profile titles to date offering support. By adding the previous generation of GPUs to the mix users now have a choice, and the new demos are a big a part of the story, too. Looking back to the early days of dedicated 3D accelerators the tech demo has been an integral part of the GPU experience, showcasing new features and providing enthusiasts with a taste of what a hardware upgrade can provide. The more demos showcasing the effects possible with NVIDIA's ray tracing hardware available, the more Pascal GPU owners will have the ability to check out these features on their own systems without making a purchase of any kind, and if they find the effects compelling it just might drive sales of the RTX 20-series in the endless quest for better performance. It really should have been this way from the start, but at least it has been corrected now - to the benefit of the consumer.

Source: NVIDIA

Crytek's Neon Noir is a Platform Agnostic Real-Time Ray Tracing Demo

Subject: General Tech | March 18, 2019 - 09:03 AM |
Tagged: vulkan, RX Vega 56, rtx, ray tracing, radeon, nvidia, Neon Noir, dx12, demo, crytek, CRYENGINE, amd

Crytek has released video of a new demo called Neon Noir, showcasing real-time ray tracing with a new version of CRYENGINE Total Illumination, slated for release in 2019. The big story here is that this is platform agnostic, meaning both AMD and NVIDIA (including non-RTX) graphics cards can produce the real-time lighting effects. The video was rendered in real time using an AMD Radeon RX Vega 56 (!) at 4K30, with Crytek's choice in GPU seeming to assuage fears of any meaningful performance penalty with this feature enabled (video embedded below):

“Neon Noir follows the journey of a police drone investigating a crime scene. As the drone descends into the streets of a futuristic city, illuminated by neon lights, we see its reflection accurately displayed in the windows it passes by, or scattered across the shards of a broken mirror while it emits a red and blue lighting routine that will bounce off the different surfaces utilizing CRYENGINE's advanced Total Illumination feature. Demonstrating further how ray tracing can deliver a lifelike environment, neon lights are reflected in the puddles below them, street lights flicker on wet surfaces, and windows reflect the scene opposite them accurately.”

Crytek is calling the new ray tracing features “experimental” at this time, but the implications of ray tracing tech beyond proprietary hardware and even graphics API (it works with both DirectX 12 and Vulcan) are obviously a very big deal.

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“Neon Noir was developed on a bespoke version of CRYENGINE 5.5., and 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.”

You can read the full announcement from Crytek here.

Source: Crytek

If the reset doesn't work the first time ... do it harder! Hard Reset Demo available

Subject: General Tech | September 7, 2011 - 03:50 PM |
Tagged: pc gaming, gaming, hard reset, demo

Hard Reset has been described as an Old School Shooter, which you can read as similar to the original Doom.  Rock, Paper, SHOTGUN would like you to know that the demo has arrived on Steam as well as several other locations and that you should try to find time in between Space Marine and Deus Ex to play it.  The only real difference between this game and the predecessors it honours is your weapon.  Instead of starting out against the legions of Hell with a pop gun and hoping to find better weapons before you die, you start with a standard bullet-firing machine gun, and an electricity-firing plasma gun.  Through exploration and bloody killing sprees you gain XP which can be spent to upgrade your two weapons and eventually evolve them into completely different weapons. 

Enough reading, get out there and start blazing away.

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"The first mirror I’ve found for the demo of this “old school” PC-only shooter is here. The second is here. And it’s also on Steam. If you want something to read about what is in store for you while it downloads, you can go here. John says: “That’s mostly what Hard Reset is about. Having some weapons, and shooting at the enemies. Also, shooting at the scenery to make stuff blow up to destroy the enemies. And it’s no more sophisticated than that."

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