NVIDIA Reveals GPUs With Ray Tracing Hardware

Nvidia RTX 2080 graphics card messages

NVIDIA Reveals GPUs With Ray Tracing Hardware

"Simulating light for photorealism has been pursued as the holy grail of computer graphics since Turner Whitted first wrote about it in 1979". But thanks to its new architecture and chips, Nvidia is making the technology much more widely available.

"Turing is Nvidia's most important innovation since we launched modern computer graphics almost two decades ago", said Jensen Huang, founder and CEO of Nvidia, speaking at the start of the annual SIGGRAPH conference. The main selling point of the chips is an improvement in purported "ray tracing", or the ability for the chip to recreate how light rays will bounce around in a visual scene.

"It has to be fantastic at today's applications, but utterly awesome at tomorrows", Huang said.

Huang noted that retailers such as IKEA render all images in its giant product catalog and it requires a server farm to handle all the processing.

And what they're expected to bring stems from the RTX namesake. It's scheduled for "early access" availability in the fourth quarter, with broader shipments to begin early next year.

Technically this is only half of the announcement so many have been waiting for, but it is still an important half.

Nvidia first showed off its new GPU's ray-tracing capabilities during the company's GPU Technology Conference in March through a computer generated imagery Star Wars clip created especially for the demonstration.

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"This is a historic moment", Huang said. "Demand is still there, so it's just building up", Tibbils said.

NVIDIA's eighth-generation GPU architecture, Turing enables the world's first ray-tracing GPU and is the result of more than 10,000 engineering-years of effort.

On top of the GPUs, NVIDIA is also debuting its Quadro RTX server that combines the GPUs with the new Quadro Infinity software.

Manager of Virtual Design at Porsche, Christian Braun, said: "Porsche's collaboration with Epic and NVIDIA has exceeded all expectations from both a creative and technological perspective". The architecture is used in three new GPUS within the Quadro range of cards. If you're not familiar with CUDA, graphics cards and discrete GPUs once merely accelerated games for better visual fidelity. The RTX 5000 consists of 3,072 cores, 384 Tensor cores and 16GB of onboard memory (32GB via NVLink).

Enderle noted Nvidia's GPUs are priced aggressively to seed the market as quickly as possible.

Nvidia shares are up 1.3% premarket to $259.50. "The initial price is usually high, but clearly they feel they can justify a lower price because they expect to sell a lot of them", said Enderle.

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