Which graphics cards support ray tracing?

El Ray tracing has come to stay, There is no doubt. The next generation graphics cards released by both AMD and NVIDIA confirm this reality, although it is true that each does it in its own way.

In the case of AMD, Sunnyvale first implemented hardware to accelerate ray tracing in its Radeon RX 6000, and has done so after a curious approach ever since implemented in texture unitsAs we saw when analyzing the Xbox Series X SoC, it can only work with four beam operations or with four texture operations per clock cycle.

By cons, NVIDIA He already had the experience he had gained with Turing, a generation of graphics that was the first in the industry to offer hardware to accelerate ray tracing. With Ampere, the architecture used in the RTX 30 series, the company has kept the same approach that we saw in the RTX 20, which means that For every SM unit we have an RT core. which independently performs the workload related to the calculation of intersections and collisions. Tensor cores, on the other hand, accelerate the noise suppression process.

Don’t know what ray tracing is and how it works? Don’t worry, a week ago we published a special topic that we explain What is ray tracing and we have all seen its keys, including from its various practical uses to its optimization possibilities at the expense of reducing graphics quality. If you haven’t had a chance to read it, now is a good time to take a look.

Graphics cards

Metro Exodus looks a lot more realistic with ray tracing for lighting

Graphics Cards And Ray Tracing: Differences Between Compatibility And Hardware Acceleration

Before you see which graphics cards support ray tracing, you need to be clear about something very important and talk about support is not the same as hardware ray tracing accelerationIn other words, a graphics card can support this technology, but in practice it may not work optimally due to the lack of dedicated hardware.

For example, a GTX 1660 Super supports ray tracing, is compatible with this technology and also applies to the Radeon RX 5700. Both are graphics cards that can work with ray tracing, but do not have dedicated hardware to accelerate the load that this technology represents , the result is very bad, So much so that in Quake 2 RTX, for example, the GTX 1660 Super doesn’t maintain a stable 30 FPS at 720p and reduced quality unless we enable resolution scaling, which means it can drop below 1,280 x 720 pixels.

Graphics cards with dedicated hardware to accelerate the ray tracing function do not have this problem can give much better results than those who lack such hardware. I have said it on other occasions, but I repeat. It’s a situation very similar to when the first graphics cards with T&L (transformation and lighting) support arrived. Those who did not have dedicated hardware could do it in software, but the loss of performance was enormous.

However, it is important to note that ray tracing It’s a very sophisticated technologyand that even with high-performance graphics cards and the latest generation, the effects are very strong, so that the frame rate per second can be reduced by half in many cases. Dedicated hardware speeds up some of the extra work associated with ray tracing, but still adds an extra burden that decreases the time available to render each frame and ultimately makes itself felt when working with technologies like DLSS 2.0.

Ray tracing can be done in many ways, so it is a technology that is compatible with a wide variety of graphics cards. Yet, if we limit ourselves to current standardsand the application of this technology to the world of video games, what finally interests us is the list of officially compatible models is significantly reduced, as we shall see below.

Graphics cards

Compatible NVIDIA Ray Tracing graphics cards

No hardware acceleration

  • GeForce GTX 1060 de 6 GB.
  • GeForce GTX 1070 de 8 GB.
  • GeForce GTX 1070 Ti de 8 GB.
  • GeForce GTX 1080 de 8 GB.
  • GeForce GTX 1080 Ti de 11 GB.
  • GeForce GTX 1660.
  • GeForce GTX 1660 Super.
  • GeForce GTX 1660 Ti.

With hardware acceleration

Graphics cards

  • GeForce RTX 2060.
  • GeForce RTX 2060 Super.
  • GeForce RTX 2070.
  • GeForce RTX 2070 Super.
  • GeForce RTX 2080.
  • GeForce RTX 2080 Super.
  • GeForce RTX 2080 Ti.
  • NVIDIA RTX Titan.
  • GeForce RTX 3060.
  • GeForce RTX 3060 Ti.
  • GeForce RTX 3070.
  • GeForce RTX 3080.
  • GeForce RTX 3090.

Ray tracing compatible AMD graphics cards

Graphics cards

No hardware acceleration

AMD does not have graphics cards that support ray tracing without dedicated hardware. There is one exception, however, and that is that in Crysis Remastered it is possible due to this technology to enable ray tracing in models prior to the RX 6000 works at the software level.

With hardware acceleration

  • AMD Radeon RX 6800.
  • AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT.
  • AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT.

The next graphics cards to be released by AMD are known as Radeon RX 6700-6700 XT and RX 6600-600 XT, You will also have special hardware to speed up the ray tracing function.

Is it worth buying a ray traced acceleration graphics card?

Graphics cards

Cyberpunk 2077 is a ray tracing activated pleasure.

The truth is that It is difficult to give a straightforward, simple, and general answer. The truth is that it depends a lot on your preferences and also on your budget. Currently, both NVIDIA and AMD have completely eliminated graphics cards without dedicated ray tracing hardware. However, it is still possible to purchase used GTX 10 and GTX 16 series and RX 5000 and 5000 series models earlier from AMD.

Ray tracing markings, When used correctly, a big leap on the graphical level. I’ve tested it in many games with an RTX 2080 Super and later an RTX 3080, and yes the difference is huge. In games like Control, Cyberpunk 2077, and Metro Exodus for example, this technology really changes the gaming experience and adds a layer of fantastic realism.

Yet, There are other titles where the change is more subtle. and it costs a little more to appreciate the improvement. This improvement is still very noticeable when we focus on it, but it lingers in the background when we start playing. A good example would be Shadow of the Tomb Raider, which applies ray tracing to shadows and ambient occlusion.

Personally, I think ray tracing is worth it if it is used correctly and if we can move it without making great sacrifices in terms of fluidity. With that in mind, if you ask me if you should buy a graphics card that is compatible with this technology I would say yes as long as you can afford a model that will give you the performance you need to play optimally with this activated technology and keep the native resolution of your monitor.

For example, imagine a user who has a budget of $ 350 and wants to play in 4K. With that money I could buy one RTX 2060, a graphics card that is not powerful enough to move high-end games with active ray tracing. In your case, it is better to look for a Radeon RX 5700 XT second hand.

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