Nvidia's Ray Tracing For GTX 10-Series Cards Will Drag Down FPS

Nvidia Delivers Ray Tracing Driver for Previous-Gen Pascal Cards, New Demos

Today, you can download the latest Game Ready drivers for your GTX graphics card and enable real-time ray tracing to enjoy the best of global illumination, reflections, and shadows, but there's a catch.

All AAA games with ray tracing use different methods.

You can download the Nvidia 425.31 Game Ready driver here.

As of this writing, the games that support ray tracing are Battlefield 5, Shadow of the Tomb Raider, and Metro Exodus. That managed 8.5fps in Metro Exodus and 24fps in Tomb Raider - the latter nearly matching the GTX 1080's 25fps - but overall, these figures will hardly bowl you over. However, one must remember that with their dedicated RT cores, the GeForce RTX 20 range provide up to 2-3x faster performance in raytraced games, facilitating more effects, higher ray counts, and higher resolutions. All of the tuning for DXR support has presumably been done exclusively on Nvidia GPUs, so how AMD cards would perform in these workloads or with these features enabled is still unknown. Cards like the 1080 and the 1660 Ti couldn't even break 25FPS. It depends on the game and resolution. 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.

NVIDIA DXR support on GTX cards. First announced three weeks ago, Nvidia's latest Game Ready driver, out today, will allow everyone with a 6GB GTX 1060 upwards to take advantage of all the shiny shadow and reflection enhancements in games such as Metro Exodus, Battlefield V and Shadow of the Tomb Raider now only enjoyed by their Nvidia RTX cousins.

The primary reason behind NVIDIA's decision to limit the number of cards is a practical one; without the presence of physical RT cores, running real-time ray-tracing on non-RTX cards results in them taking a significant hit to its overall performance.

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This post originally appeared on Tom's Guide. If you want ray tracing with playable frame rates though, only an RTX branded graphics card will be able to pull that off.

As for those aforementioned tech demos, there are three in all: there's the Mundfish-made Atomic Heart RTX tech demo, the Justice tech demo, and the previously-referenced Reflections, which was created by Epic Games in partnership with NVIDIA and ILMxLAB.

Owners of GTX 10-series cards can start running the ray tracing effects by downloading Nvidia's latest drivers, which will be available on the GeForce website and over Nvidia's GPU optimization tool, GeForce Experience.

While this is indeed big news, it's probably best not to get too excited about the prospect of ray tracing on GTX GPUs.

What this means is that despite NVIDIA's promise to offer ray-tracing on Pascal, the features are largely unworkable for real-life gaming. I believe that 1080p would be a sweet spot but only for those who want to try the feature to see the difference and to assess whether getting an RTX card is worth it or not.

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