GTX OUT. RTX IN
At Gamescom, CEO Jensen Huang announced Nvidia’s newest generation graphics card line-up. Ten years in the making, Turing, the successor to the Pascal microarchitecture is finally ready and it’s so good that Nvidia is rebranding the iconic GTX, to RTX. Why, you may ask? Because the R stands for ray-tracing, which is what Turing enables and accelerates for the first time in real-time.
The Turing architecture contains RT (ray tracing) cores to calculate lighting rays in a scene. These RT cores are so fast that they can output some 10 Giga Rays per second (GR/s) on the highest end RTX card. Compared to a GTX 1080 Ti’s mere 1.21 GR/s. Utilising this in game engines isn’t an all ray-traced affair though, it’ll require using Nvidia’s special ray-tracing framework to enable and will even then be a hybrid rasterizing and ray-tracing affair. Twenty-one upcoming game titles are already implementing this including Shadow of the Tomb Raider and Battlefield V, the demos of which were stunning.
Another feature shown off for the first time was with the Unreal Engine 4 Infiltrator demo. Running at 4K a GTX 1080 Ti ran it in the mid 30fps. A Turing powered card ran the demo at 4K with a new anti-aliasing technique enabled called DLSS (Deep Learning Super-Sampling). The Turing powered benchmark ran the demo at 78fps, a solid doubling over the current king of gaming GPUs! Impressive.
As the new anti-aliasing technique above implies, the RTX cards also have dedicated silicon for AI, called Tensor cores. Combined with Nvidia’s new NGX neural framework, on the fly AI work can be done on the output of frames to enhance or alter the image in various ways.
The final major improvement in Turing’s architecture is that the shaders are now variable rate capable, meaning shading resources can be better allocated to richly detailed areas and less so for lightly details areas, effectively giving a speed up just by being able to allocate resources better.
To the hardware itself, there were three cards announced:
While apples-to-apples gaming performance wasn’t shown, going off the TFLOPS ratings alone we can surmise the RTX 2080 Ti should be around 25% faster than a GTX 1080 Ti, the RTX 2080 should match a GTX 1080 Ti and the RTX 2070 should match a GTX 1070 Ti.
Founde’rs Edition (FE) cards are available for pre-order now via Nvidia’s website. While they all have a mark-up above RRP, they come factory overclocked by some 90MHz above stock. FE cards also come with a new dual fan design paired to a vapour chamber that’s twice as large as the 10 series version, improving both noise and temperature metrics.
Expect general availability from September 20th.