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AMD SVP Talks Radeon's Ray Tracing Response

David Wang, Senior Vice President of Engineering at AMD's Radeon Technologies Group (RTG), recently expressed in an interview with Japanese media 4Gamer that AMD has its own solution to Microsoft's DirectX Raytracing (DXR).

Contrary to popular misconception, ray tracing is far from being a novelty. The rendering technique has existed for several decades, with industries like film, animation, architecture, and engineering all exploiting it for some time now. However, one of ray tracing's greatest obstacles is the steep computational firepower required to pull it off. With its new Turing architecture, Nvidia brought real-time ray tracing to consumer GeForce graphics cards for the first time.  

AMD's David Wang said that, in his personal opinion, AMD definitely has a response for DirectX Raytracing (DXR). But the meantime, AMD is focusing on improving and promoting offline CG production environments centered around the graphics card maker's Radeon ProRender rendering engine. From a personal perspective, Wang believes that ray tracing won't become a mainstream feature unless the technology is supported from the lowest tier to the highest tier of graphics cards.

It's unknown how and when AMD plans to implement hardware-based real-time ray tracing support into its Radeon gaming graphics cards. David Wang didn't delve into the specifics. The bigger question for AMD aficionados is whether the company's next-generation Navi graphics cards will come with ray tracing features. Unfortunately, there is no answer for that either. 

Although some (including Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang) consider real-time ray tracing the "holy grail" of rendering techniques, the feature will probably take years to become common, just like any other breakthrough technology. Therefore, it's understandable why AMD isn't in a hurry to push ray tracing to consumer cards just yet. It wouldn't be far-fetched to assume that the chip maker is concentrating its time and resources on tuning Navi's traditional gaming performance for now, and perhaps leaving ray tracing for its next round of graphics cards. But of course, only time will tell.