Skip to main content

RTX Cards Strut Their Stuff With the 3DMark Ray Tracing Tech Demo

Nvidia has consistently highlighted ray tracing as the big advancement to its Turing architecture that comes in the RTX graphics cards. (At least where gamers are concerned; the company's also wooing developers working on artificial intelligence and the like.) Now UL Benchmarks has released a new 3DMark Ray Tracing Tech Demo to clearly demonstrate what ray tracing is capable of on Nvidia's latest-and-greatest products. The benchmark will eventually come as an update to the 3DMark benchmark.

Note that UL Benchmarks is positioning this as a tech demo, for now: it's not supposed to be used to benchmark the ray tracing capabilities of RTX graphics cards. The demo is based on an actual benchmark the company's working on, however, that's expected to ship in the fourth quarter of 2018. UL Benchmarks will presumably use feedback on the demo and its own testing as it figures out how to quantify ray tracing performance.

UL Benchmarks said the benchmark has been in the works since it demonstrated the DirectX Ray Tracing API with Microsoft. The company said it's "being developed with input from our Benchmark Development Program partners including AMD, Intel, NVIDIA, and other leading technology companies" and that it's "working especially closely with Microsoft to create a first-class implementation of the DirectX Ray Tracing API."

Having a ray tracing benchmark within 3DMark should make it easier to explain the effect the feature has on performance. We'll also get a taste of that via games that support ray tracing, such as Shadow of the Tomb Raider and Battlefield V, but having a specific benchmark will also prove useful. (The effect on performance is likely to vary between games; better to have a look at ray tracing specifically via tools like this.)

UL benchmarks said the 3DMark Ray Tracing Tech Demo is currently available to select members of the press--including Tom's Hardware--and we've been asked not to publicly share a link to download the demo. We'll see what we can do to show you more about what exactly the demo contains, and when it will be added to the 3DMark benchmark, ahead of the official benchmark's release sometime later this year.

  • bit_user
    "UL Benchmarks" ... Futuremark was such a better name.

    But I get that UL is hoping the coolness of their benchmarks rub off onto it.
    Reply
  • t.s.wiacek
    I see where they are coming from with ray tracing. It's nice, but ... I dunno, doesn't make me feel all excited. Just another tech to improve graphics. Nothing to see... move along.
    Reply
  • rantoc
    T.S: Raytracing is more than just realistic graphics, the dev's will be able to make new engines/titles faster. Why? Because they don't have to fake things to make it appear nice with shader's, rather they do physics based objects and then the ray-tracing do the rest.

    So easier for the devs and better gfx for us - Whats not to like?
    Reply
  • enewmen
    21329024 said:
    I see where they are coming from with ray tracing. It's nice, but ... I dunno, doesn't make me feel all excited. Just another tech to improve graphics. Nothing to see... move along.

    Ray Tracing has been the "holy grail" of 3D since before MS-DOS and real-time RT rendering has been considered impossible until recently.
    The UL Benchmarks demo of ray tracing and Battlefield V are probably not the best example of what this tech is capable of. Atomic Heart and Star Wars ray-traced are better photo-realistic examples.
    If you really can't tell the difference or can't get excited, save your money, keep your old card, or get a cheap current-gen GTX card.
    my 2-cents worth.

    Reply
  • t.s.wiacek
    ENEWMEN:

    Okay, this is impressive.
    Reply
  • t.s.wiacek
    Silly can't edit comments thing.

    RE: Rantoc, Enewmen.

    I stand corrected. I saw both demos and I am impressed. The UL benchmark demo doesn't come near those.
    Reply
  • bit_user
    21329414 said:
    Ray Tracing has been the "holy grail" of 3D since before MS-DOS and real-time RT rendering has been considered impossible until recently.
    The UL Benchmarks demo of ray tracing and Battlefield V are probably not the best example of what this tech is capable of. Atomic Heart and the Real-Time Siren are better photo-realistic examples.
    I agree with your enthusiasm... but, uh, is it ray traced? I don't see any mention of ray tracing, RTX, or DXR:

    https://www.unrealengine.com/en-US/blog/siren-at-fmx-2018-crossing-the-uncanny-valley-in-real-time

    You don't need ray tracing to get realistic skin.

    However, Atomic Heart was indeed one of the RTX demo clips.
    Atomic Heart: Official GeForce RTX Video
    Reply
  • bit_user
    21329447 said:
    Silly can't edit comments thing.
    Click the "comment on the forums" link. If you don't see that, here's the News Comments forum (bookmark it):
    http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/forum-55.html

    And here's the direct link:
    http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/id-3786701/rtx-cards-strut-stuff-3dmark-ray-tracing-tech-demo.html
    Reply
  • alextheblue
    21329414 said:
    Ray Tracing has been the "holy grail" of 3D since before MS-DOS and real-time RT rendering has been considered impossible until recently.
    Considered impossible by whom? Real-time RT, if you ever followed the demo scene, isn't new. The issue for some time has been that for a given amount of horsepower, rasterization produced *vastly better results* than RT. So it wasn't seen as impossible, just unwise to do so until dedicated hardware was available widely.

    Even the games touting the RTX's ray tracing prowess are still using hybrid engines. Both the RT acceleration block and the GPU are utilized, and the result in an actual game is extra eyecandy. Basically this is still just a stepping stone.
    Reply
  • enewmen
    @Bit_user:
    I found a link that shows the Siren was using ray-tracing.
    https://www.polygon.com/2018/3/21/17147502/unreal-engine-graphics-future-gdc-2018
    I think that demo used 4 x Titan V's, the RTX is expected to do the same with 1 card. Haven't seen Star Wars or Siren on 1 card yet, but I don't see why not on a 2080 ti.

    @alextheblue
    I agree early real-time RT was possible, but the demos where like a few chrome bouncing balls - not practical and nothing complex like Cyberpunk 2077. OK "impractical" is a better word than "impossible". For the RTX using hybrid engines, I really can't see the visuals difference between that and "true" ray-tracing.
    Reply