Ray tracing support has arrived courtesy of DirectX Raytracing as well as Nvidia's RTX graphics cards. Where there's a new graphics tech there's a benchmark, and UL Benchmarks is nearly ready to release its ray tracing test, 3DMark Port Royal, to the masses.
UL Benchmarks announced in September that it was developing a ray tracing benchmark it planned to release in the fourth quarter of 2018. It released a tech demo, too, so curious RTX graphics cards buyers could get some idea of how their latest toy performed even though it wasn't quite ready to be used for serious testing. Now UL Benchmarks has announced that the full release will actually debut in January 2019.
UL Benchmarks said the test "uses DirectX Raytracing to enhance reflections, shadows, and other effects that are difficult to achieve with traditional rendering techniques" to offer "a realistic and practical example of what to expect from ray tracing in upcoming games— ray tracing effects running in real-time at reasonable frame rates at 2560 × 1440 resolution."
UL Benchmarks was careful to note that 3DMark Port Royal technically isn't restricted to Nvidia's RTX graphics cards--the test was developed with input from AMD, Intel, Nvidia, Microsoft, and "other leading technology companies" to make sure it works with "any graphics card with drivers that support DirectX Raytracing." Right now that's essentially restricted to RTX graphics cards, but that will change as other companies support the tech.
3DMark Port Royal will be added to UL Benchmarks' test suite in January 2019. The company hasn't revealed an official release date or price, but it plans to share more information at the Galax GOC overclocking competition in Ho Choi Minh City, Vietnam on December 8.
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Nathaniel Mott is a freelance news and features writer for Tom's Hardware US, covering breaking news, security, and the silliest aspects of the tech industry.