Nvidia demonstrated real-time raytracing at GDC and again at GTC using their DGX station super computer through the DirectX Raytracing (DXR) API. That system provides a theoretical compute capability of over 63 TFLOPS for the total system, of which about 62 TFLOPS were used for the ray tracing. So a threshold or benchmark of sorts has been established for what it will take to get hybrid real-time ray tracing (RT RT) on a consumer desktop machine.
Sixty-Two TeraFLOPS, is a lot of FLOPS, the average PC today with a GTX1080Ti has about 11 TFLOPS (SP32). So, assuming Moore’s law continues, and we get a doubling of performance every three years, when could we expect to have real time ray tracing running games and other things on a PC?
By 2024 or sooner.
|Real-time ray tracing scene from ILMxLAB and Epic demo|
However, as cool as it would be to have a game displaying real time ray traced images, it will be the designers and engineers who will be more excited about the prospect.
One of the great things about ray tracing is that you can use it many different ways. You can use a little or use a lot. The demos shown at GDC and GTC showcased a spectrum of examples, there will be more at Siggraph and the innovation is just getting started.
Peddie has done an analysis of what it takes, and some of the developments in ray tracing in this week’s issue of TechWatch.