NVIDIA GeForce 418.91 WHQL Driver Enables DLSS in Battlefield V and Metro Exodus

Subject: Graphics Cards | February 13, 2019 - 12:17 PM |
Tagged: whql, rtx, raytracing, nvidia, Metro Exodus, graphics, gpu, geforce, gaming, driver, DLSS, battlefield V, 418.91

NVIDIA's GeForce 418.91 WHQL drivers have brought DLSS support to Battlefield V and both real-time ray tracing and DLSS to the upcoming Metro Exodus, which will be the first game to support the technologies from day one when it is released (now exclusively on Epic's game store) on February 15.

NV_BFV_Screen.PNG

From NVIDIA:

Battlefield V - This stunning World War II combat game, created by EA and DICE, was the first to support real-time ray-traced reflections and has now added support for DLSS — giving a performance boost of up to 40 percent with ray-tracing reflections enabled.

Metro Exodus - The third installment in the haunting Metro franchise, developed by 4A Games and Deep Silver, will support RTX-enabled real-time ray tracing — the first time it has been used in a game for global illumination. At launch, the game will also support DLSS, boosting performance up to 30 percent, as well as a host of other NVIDIA gaming technologies, including HairWorks, PhysX, Ansel and Highlights.

NVIDIA has posted a video showcasing the performance improvement with DLSS vs. real-time ray tracing in BFV, where gains of up to 40% are advertised:

As to Metro Exodus, with the additional ray traced components it would seem the upcoming game will end up being a popular benchmark for the technologies, after we have seem most of the ray tracing and DLSS discussion surround BFV to this point (Port Royal notwithstanding). At some future date Shadow of the Tomb Raider will enter the mix as well, but this is still awaiting ray tracing and DLSS support via a planned update.

For its part Metro is only gaining 30% with DLSS (vs. real-time ray tracing + TAA) according to NVIDIA, which is obviously lower than the boost to BFV. We have seen a preview of real-time ray tracing and DLSS performance in the latest Metro game over at Tom's Hardware, where they look at the performance differences and perceived quality between the two. It's also worth noting that both BFV and Metro Exodus are not fully ray traced games, as Tom's explains:

"Battlefield applies ray tracing to reflections. Metro Exodus uses it for global illumination from the sun/sky, modeling how light interacts with various surfaces. Local light sources are not ray traced, though."

The Battlefield V DLSS update is now rolling out, with some early performance numbers already available. Metro Exodus will be released on February 15, and is the latest title to eschew Steam in favor of Epic's new platform.

Source: NVIDIA

Tutorial for RTX on Vulkan (VK_NVX_raytracing extension)

Subject: Graphics Cards | February 11, 2019 - 03:30 PM |
Tagged: nvidia, rtx, vulkan

Microsoft got quite a bit of mindshare with the announcement of DirectX Raytracing (DXR) at last year’s GDC 2018. NVIDIA’s RTX technology was somewhat synonymous with DirectX 12 for a while, although NVIDIA was not exactly hiding their equivalent extension for Vulkan. It’s not that you must use DirectX 12 – it’s that you cannot use DirectX 11.

nvidia-2019-rtx-triangle.png

Image Credit: iOrange (via GitHub)

And now there’s a tutorial on GitHub by the user Sergii Kudlai (iOrange), complete with source code licensed under MIT. iOrange is a programmer for Digital Extremes, which is best known for their 2013 hit, Warframe, although they also collaborated with Epic Games on the earlier Unreal Tournament editions (UT2004 and earlier). They also worked on Epic Pinball.

The article is very casually worded and covers up to a single triangle.

If you’re interested in a little more depth, NVIDIA is also releasing Ray Tracing Gems for free on their website, although you need to be registered with their developer portal.

Ray Tracing Gems is available here. Currently only the first two chapters are up, but the rest will arrive every few days until approximately February 25th.

3DMark "Port Royal" DLSS Update Released

Subject: Graphics Cards | February 5, 2019 - 11:42 PM |
Tagged: rtx, nvidia, Futuremark, DLSS, 3dmark

If you have an RTX-based graphics card, then you can now enable Deep Learning Super Sampling (DLSS) on 3DMark’s Port Royal benchmark. NVIDIA has also published a video of the benchmark running at 1440p alongside Temporal Anti-Aliasing (TAA).

Two things stand out about the video: Quality and Performance.

On the quality side: holy crap it looks good. One of the major issues with TAA is that it makes everything that’s moving somewhat blurry and/or otherwise messed up. For DLSS? It’s very clear and sharp, even in motion. It is very impressive. It also seems to behave well when there are big gaps in rendered light intensity, which, in my experience, can be a problem for antialiasing.

On the performance side, DLSS was shown to be significantly faster than TAA – seemingly larger than the gap between TAA and no anti-aliasing at all. The gap is because DLSS renders at a lower resolution automatically, and this behavior is published on NVIDIA’s website. (Ctrl+F for “to reduce the game’s internal rendering resolution”.)

Update on Feb 6th @ 12:36pm EST:

Apparently there's another mode, called DLSS 2X, that renders at native resolution. It won't have the performance boost over TAA, but it should have slightly higher rendering quality. I'm guessing it will be especially noticeable in the following situation.

End of Update.

While NVIDIA claims that it shouldn’t cause a noticeable image degradation, I believe I can see an example (in the video and their official screenshots) where the reduced resolution causes artifacts. If you look at the smoothly curving surfaces on the ring under the ship (as the camera zooms in just after 59s) you might be able to see a little horizontal jagged or almost Moiré effect. While I’m not 100% sure that it’s caused by the forced dip in resolution, it doesn’t seem to appear on the TAA version. If this is an artifact with the lowered resolution, I’m curious whether NVIDIA will allow us to run at the native resolution and still perform DLSS, or if the algorithm simply doesn’t operate that way.

nvidia-2019-dlss-01.png

NVIDIA's Side-by-Side Sample with TAA

nvidia-2019-dlss-02.png

NVIDIA's Side-by-Side Sample with DLSS

nvidia-2019-dlss-03.png

DLSS with artifacts pointed out

Image Credit: NVIDIA and FutureMark. Source.

That said, the image quality of DLSS is significantly above TAA. It’s painful watching an object move smoothly on a deferred rendering setup and seeing TAA freak out just a little to where it’s noticeable… but not enough to justify going back to a forward-rendering system with MSAA.

Source: NVIDIA
Manufacturer: NVIDIA

Exploring 2560x1440 Results

In part one of our review of the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 graphics card we looked at gaming performance using only 1920x1080 and 3840x2160 results, and while UHD is the current standard for consumer televisions (and an easy way to ensure GPU-bound performance) more than twice as many gamers play on a 2560x1440 display (3.89% vs. 1.42% for 3840x2160) according to Steam hardware survey results.

RTX_2060_Bench.jpg

Adding these 1440p results was planned from the beginning, but time constraints made testing at three resolutions before getting on a plane for CES impossible (though in retrospect UHD should have been the one excluded from part one, and in future I'll approach it that way). Regardless, we now have those 1440p results to share, having concluded testing using the same list of games and synthetic benchmarks we saw in the previous installment.

On to the benchmarks!

PC Perspective GPU Test Platform
Processor Intel Core i7-8700K
Motherboard ASUS ROG STRIX Z370-H Gaming
Memory Corsair Vengeance LED 16GB (8GBx2) DDR4-3000
Storage Samsung 850 EVO 1TB
Power Supply CORSAIR RM1000x 1000W
Operating System Windows 10 64-bit (Version 1803)
Drivers AMD: 18.50
NVIDIA: 417.54, 417.71 (OC Results)

We will begin with Unigine Superposition, which was run with the high preset settings.

Superposition_1440.png

Here we see the RTX 2060 with slightly higher performance than the GTX 1070 Ti, right in the middle of GTX 1070 and GTX 1080 performance levels. As expected so far.

Continue reading part two of our NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 review.

Q2VKPT Makes Quake 2 the First Entirely Raytraced Game

Subject: General Tech | January 18, 2019 - 06:09 PM |
Tagged: vulkan, rtx, raytracing, Quake II, quake, Q2VKPT, Q2PRO, path tracing, open source, nvidia, john carmack, github, fps

Wait - the first fully raytraced game was released in 1997? Not exactly, but Q2VKPT is. That name is not a typo (it stands for Quake 2 Vulkan Path Tracing) it's actually a game - or, more correctly, a proof-of-concept. But not just any game; we're talking about Quake 2. Technically this is a combination of Q2PRO, "an enhanced Quake 2 client and server for Windows and Linux", and VKPT, or Vulkan Path Tracing.

q2vkpt_screenshot_1.jpg

The end result is a fully raytraced experience that, if nothing else, gives the computer hardware media more to run on NVIDIA's GeForce RTX graphics cards right now than the endless BFV demos. Who would have guessed we'd be benchmarking Quake 2 again in 2019?

"Q2VKPT is the first playable game that is entirely raytraced and efficiently simulates fully dynamic lighting in real-time, with the same modern techniques as used in the movie industry (see Disney's practical guide to path tracing). The recent release of GPUs with raytracing capabilities has opened up entirely new possibilities for the future of game graphics, yet making good use of raytracing is non-trivial. While some games have started to explore improvements in shadow and reflection rendering, Q2VKPT is the first project to implement an efficient unified solution for all types of light transport: direct, scattered, and reflected light (see media). This kind of unification has led to a dramatic increase in both flexibility and productivity in the movie industry. The chance to have the same development in games promises a similar increase in visual fidelity and realism for game graphics in the coming years.

This project is meant to serve as a proof-of-concept for computer graphics research and the game industry alike, and to give enthusiasts a glimpse into the potential future of game graphics. Besides the use of hardware-accelerated raytracing, Q2VKPT mainly gains its efficiency from an adaptive image filtering technique that intelligently tracks changes in the scene illumination to re-use as much information as possible from previous computations."

The project can be downloaded from Github, and the developers neatly listed the needed files for download (the .pak files from either the Quake 2 demo or the full version can be used):

  • Github Repository
  • Windows Binary on Github
  • Quake II Starter ("Quake II Starter is a free, standalone Quake II installer for Windows that uses the freely available 3.14 demo, 3.20 point release and the multiplayer-focused Q2PRO client to create a functional setup that's capable of playing online.")

There were also a full Q&A from the developers, and some obvious questions were answered including the observation that Quake 2 is "ancient" at this point, and shouldn't it "run at 6000 FPS by now":

While it is true that Quake II is a relatively old game with rather low geometric complexity, the limiting factor of path tracing is not primarily raytracing or geometric complexity. In fact, the current prototype could trace many more rays without a notable change in frame rate. The computational cost of the techniques used in the Q2VKPT prototype mainly depend on the number of (indirect) light scattering computations and the number of light sources. Quake II was already designed with many light sources when it was first released, in that sense it is still quite a modern game. Also, the number of light scattering events does not depend on scene complexity. It is therefore thinkable that the techniques we use could well scale up to more recent games."

And on the subject of path tracing vs. ray tracing:

"Path tracing is an elegant algorithm that can simulate many of the complex ways that light travels and scatters in virtual scenes. Its physically-based simulation of light allows highly realistic rendering. Path tracing uses Raytracing in order to determine the visibility in-between scattering events. However, Raytracing is merely a primitive operation that can be used for many things. Therefore, Raytracing alone does not automatically produce realistic images. Light transport algorithms like Path tracing can be used for that. However, while elegant and very powerful, naive path tracing is very costly and takes a long time to produce stable images. This project uses a smart adaptive filter that re-uses as much information as possible across many frames and pixels in order to produce robust and stable images."

This project is the result of work by one Christoph Schied, and was "a spare-time project to validate the results of computer graphics research in an actual game". Whatever your opinion of Q2VKPT, as we look back at Quake 2 and its impressive original lighting effects it's pretty clear that John Carmack was far ahead of his time (and it could be said that it's taken this long for hardware to catch up).

Source: Q2VKPT

Is it midrange or not? Meet the RTX 2060

Subject: Graphics Cards | January 7, 2019 - 04:34 PM |
Tagged: video card, turing, tu106, RTX 2060, rtx, nvidia, graphics card, gpu, gddr6, gaming

After months of rumours and guesses as to what the RTX 2060 will actually offer, we finally know.  It is built on the same TU106 the RTX 2070 uses and sports somewhat similar core clocks though the drop in TC, ROPs and TUs reduces it to producing a mere 5 GigaRays.  The memory is rather different, with the 6GB of GDDR6 connected via 192-bit bus offering 336.1 GB/s of bandwidth.  As you saw in Sebastian's testing the overall performance is better than you would expect from a mid-range card but at the cost of a higher price.

If we missed out on your favourite game, check the Guru of 3D's suite of benchmarks or one of the others below. 

RTX2060_Box.jpg

"NVIDIA today announced the GeForce RTX 2060, the graphics card will be unleashed next week the 15th at a sales price of 349 USD / 359 EUR. Today, however, we can already bring you a full review of what is a pretty feisty little graphics card really."

Here are some more Graphics Card articles from around the web:

Graphics Cards

Source: Guru of 3D
Manufacturer: NVIDIA

Formidable Mid-Range

We have to go all the way back to 2015 for NVIDIA's previous graphics card announcement at CES, with the GeForce GTX 960 revealed during the show four years ago. And coming on the heels of this announcement today we have the latest “mid-range” offering in the tradition of the GeForce x60 (or x060) cards, the RTX 2060. This launch comes as no surprise to those of us following the PC industry, as various rumors and leaks preceded the announcement by weeks and even months, but such is the reality of the modern supply chain process (sadly, few things are ever really a surprise anymore).

RTX2060_Box.jpg

But there is still plenty of new information available with the official launch of this new GPU, not the least of which is the opportunity to look at independent benchmark results to find out what to expect with this new GPU relative to the market. To this end we had the opportunity to get our hands on the card before the official launch, testing the RTX 2060 in several games as well as a couple of synthetic benchmarks. The story is just beginning, and as time permits a "part two" of the RTX 2060 review will be offered to supplement this initial look, addressing omissions and adding further analysis of the data collected thus far.

Before getting into the design and our initial performance impressions of the card, let's look into the specifications of this new RTX 2060, and see how it relates to the rest of the RTX family from NVIDIA. We are  taking a high level look at specs here, so for a deep dive into the RTX series you can check out our previous exploration of the Turing Architecture here.

"Based on a modified version of the Turing TU106 GPU used in the GeForce RTX 2070, the GeForce RTX 2060 brings the GeForce RTX architecture, including DLSS and ray-tracing, to the midrange GPU segment. It delivers excellent gaming performance on all modern games with the graphics settings cranked up. Priced at $349, the GeForce RTX 2060 is designed for 1080p gamers, and delivers an excellent gaming experience at 1440p."

RTX2060_Thumbnail.jpg

  RTX 2080 Ti RTX 2080 RTX 2070 RTX 2060 GTX 1080 GTX 1070
GPU TU102 TU104 TU106 TU106 GP104 GP104
GPU Cores 4352 2944 2304 1920 2560 1920
Base Clock 1350 MHz 1515 MHz 1410  MHz 1365 MHz 1607 MHz 1506 MHz
Boost Clock 1545 MHz/
1635 MHz (FE)
1710 MHz/
1800 MHz (FE)
1620 MHz
1710 MHz (FE)
1680 MHz 1733 MHz 1683 MHz
Texture Units 272 184 144 120 160 120
ROP Units 88 64 64 48 64 64
Tensor Cores 544 368 288 240 -- --
Ray Tracing Speed 10 Giga Rays 8 Giga Rays 6 Giga Rays 5 Giga Rays -- --
Memory 11GB 8GB 8GB 6GB 8GB 8GB
Memory Clock 14000 MHz  14000 MHz  14000 MHz 14000 MHz 10000 MHz 8000 MHz
Memory Interface 352-bit GDDR6 256-bit GDDR6 256-bit GDDR6 192-bit GDDR6 256-bit GDDR5X 256-bit GDDR5
Memory Bandwidth 616 GB/s 448 GB/s 448 GB/s 336.1 GB/s 320 GB/s 256 GB/s
TDP 250 W /
260 W (FE)
215W /
225W (FE)
175 W / 185W (FE) 160 W 180 W 150 W
MSRP (current) $1200 (FE)/
$1000
$800 (FE)/
$700
$599 (FE)/ $499 $349 $549 $379

Continue reading our initial review of the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060!

NVIDIA Announces GeForce RTX Mobile, Available January 29th on 40+ Gaming Laptops

Subject: Graphics Cards | January 7, 2019 - 02:46 AM |
Tagged: rtx mobile, RTX 2080, RTX 2070, RTX 2060, rtx, nvidia, max-q, gaming laptop, ces2019

NVIDIA just wrapped up its CES keynote, and in addition to the expected unveiling of the RTX 2060, the company announced new mobile GeForce RTX options. More than 40 upcoming laptops, including 17 sporting NVIDIA’s Max-Q design, will offer RTX 2080, RTX 2070, and RTX 2060 graphics options.

geforce-rtx-mobile-2.jpg

NVIDIA CEO Jensen Huang likened GeForce RTX-powered laptops to a gaming console platform, pointing out multiple times performance comparisons to traditional game consoles like the PlayStation 4.

Laptops are the fastest growing gaming platform — and just getting started. The world’s top OEMs are using Turing to bring next-generation console performance to thin, sleek laptops that gamers can take anywhere. Hundreds of millions of people worldwide — an entire generation — are growing up gaming. I can’t wait for them to experience this new wave of laptops.

New GeForce RTX laptops will continue to support features like WhisperMode, which paces frame rates for AC-connected laptops to reduce heat and therefore fan noise, NVIDIA Battery Boost, which uses GeForce Experience to optimize performance for longer battery life, and of course G-SYNC.

geforce-rtx-mobile-1.jpg

Beyond gaming, NVIDIA is touting the benefits of the RTX platform for content creators, such as real-time video encoding for live streamers, faster rendering for video editors, and accurate interactive lighting, reflections, and shadows for animators.

Laptops sporting GeForce RTX cards will be available starting January 29th from NVIDIA partners including Acer, Alienware, ASUS, Dell, Gigabyte, HP, Lenovo, MSI, Razer, and Samsung. Pricing, detailed configuration options, and exact availability will vary and is not yet available for all manufacturers.

Source: NVIDIA

NVIDIA Announces the GeForce RTX 2060 for Next Gen Gaming

Subject: Graphics Cards | January 7, 2019 - 01:59 AM |
Tagged: video card, RTX 2060, rtx, ray tracing, nvidia, graphics, gpu, geforce, ces 2019, CES

On stage at an event tonight at CES 2019, NVIDIA CEO Jensen Huang made it offical: the RTX 2060 exists and will be available this month. The card is priced at $349, and is based on the same Turing architecture as the rest of the RTX family.

geforce-rtx-2060-2.jpg

The RTX 2060 was announced with 6GB of GDDR6 memory, and like its bigger siblings the RTX 2060 offers ray tracing support (with 240 Tensor Cores onboard), and NVIDIA targets 60 FPS performance with ray tracing enabled in Battlefield V:

"The RTX 2060 is 60 percent faster on current titles than the prior-generation GTX 1060, NVIDIA’s most popular GPU, and beats the gameplay of the GeForce GTX 1070 Ti. With Turing’s RT Cores and Tensor Cores, it can run Battlefield V with ray tracing at 60 frames per second."

geforce-rtx-2060-1.jpg

That 60% increase comes from benchmarks the company ran using 2560x1440 resolution, and the RTX 2060 is targeting resolutions from the mainstream 1920x1080 up to 2560x1440, though with performance between a GTX 1070 and 1080 the RTX 2060 could very well support 3840x2160 gaming at medium-to-high settings as well.

geforce-rtx-2060-3.jpg

The official launch of the RTX 2060 is January 15 from add-in partners, as well as a Founders Edition card from NVIDIA beginning on that date. NVIDIA is also launching a new bundle deal. Qualifying RTX 2060 purchasers, either as a standalone card or as part of a desktop including the RTX 2060, can choose to receive either Battlefield V or the upcoming Anthem for free.

Stay tuned for more details on the GeForce RTX 2060 soon.

Source: NVIDIA

3DMark Port Royal Ray Tracing Benchmark Launches January 8th

Subject: Graphics Cards | December 10, 2018 - 10:36 AM |
Tagged: 3dmark, ray tracing, directx raytracing, raytracing, rtx, benchmarking, benchmarks

After first announcing it last month, UL this weekend provided new information on its upcoming ray tracing-focused addition to the 3DMark benchmarking suite. Port Royal, what UL calls the "world's first dedicated real-time ray tracing benchmark for gamers," will launch Tuesday, January 8, 2019.

For those eager for a glimpse of the new ray-traced visual spectacle, or for the majority of gamers without a ray tracing-capable GPU, the company has released a video preview of the complete Port Royal demo scene.

Access to the new Port Royal benchmark will be limited to the Advanced and Professional editions of 3DMark. Existing 3DMark users can upgrade to the benchmark for $2.99, and it will become part of the base $29.99 Advanced Edition package for new purchasers starting January 8th.

Real-time ray tracing promises to bring new levels of realism to in-game graphics. Port Royal uses DirectX Raytracing to enhance reflections, shadows, and other effects that are difficult to achieve with traditional rendering techniques.

As well as benchmarking performance, 3DMark Port Royal is a realistic and practical example of what to expect from ray tracing in upcoming games— ray tracing effects running in real-time at reasonable frame rates at 2560 × 1440 resolution.

3DMark Port Royal was developed with input from AMD, Intel, NVIDIA, and other leading technology companies. We worked especially closely with Microsoft to create a first-class implementation of the DirectX Raytracing API.

Port Royal will run on any graphics card with drivers that support DirectX Raytracing. As with any new technology, there are limited options for early adopters, but more cards are expected to get DirectX Raytracing support in 2019.

3DMark can be acquired via Steam or directly from UL's online store. The Advanced Edition, which includes access to all benchmarks, is priced at $29.99.