Nvidia Delivers Ray Tracing Driver for Previous-Gen Pascal Cards, New Demos

Nvidia Delivers Ray Tracing Driver for Previous-Gen Pascal Cards, New Demos

The Geforce 425.31 Game Ready driver is available for 64-bit Windows 7 and Windows 10 OS and supports all Geforce graphics cards since Geforce 600 series. But the move also raised many questions regarding performance, or lack thereof.

The benchmarks from Nvidia illustrate the performance gap.

Second, NVIDIA is limiting ray-tracing support to its last generation Pascal-powered GeForce GTX cards, as well as its more recent Turing-powered GTX 1660 series cards. The drivers, which have always been baked into the DirectX Ray-tracing (DXR) API, will now enable GeForce GTX graphics cards to utilise the feature, albeit on a software level.

While speaking with journalists, Nvidia product manager Justin Walker said he recommends playing the games at a 1920 by 1080 resolution, and perhaps downgrading other settings. In these games you will not be aiming to run "Ultra DXR" settings if you are sporting a GTX 10 or GTX 16 card so that will of course help you to enjoy some DXR at acceptable performance levels dependent upon your PC config. "With this new driver however, GeForce GTX 1060 6GB and higher GPUs can execute ray-tracing instructions on traditional shader cores, giving gamers a taste, albeit at lower RT quality settings and resolutions, of how ray tracing will dramatically change the way games are experienced". This remains true for AMD; there is no indication thus far that it is planning to enable DXR in any of its card, despite the Neon Noir demo running on AMD hardware. According to NVIDIA, there are several techniques of doing ray tracing and the performance impact of each technique depends on a few aspects. And while NVIDIA hasn't confirmed the driver build number or given the press an advanced look at the driver, this driver should be the first public driver in NVIDIA's new Release 430 (?) driver branch. That's pretty impressive considering how much cheaper the GTX 16-series cards are, and just goes to show how much work their Turing GPU's putting in despite the absence of proper RT cores. New driver branches are some of the most interesting driver releases from NVIDIA since these are normally the break points where they introduce new features under the hood, so I'm eager to see what they have been up to since R415/R418 was first released back in October.

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Some other tidbits to get to before we look at the Nvidia-provided benchmarks: The company says most of the heavy lifting with ray tracing is handled by the GPU, not the processor.

Atomic Heart, Justice RTX, and Reflections are now all available as tech demos.

Along with today's driver release, NVIDIA and its partners are also releasing a trio of previously announced/demonstrated DXR tech demos.

Finally, NVIDIA is also calling attention to a reflections tech demo that we have seen before. And while there are now only three games featuring ray tracing effects, NVIDIA has released three tech demos for you to try. What I'm being told is that Reflections and Justice will be hosted directly by NVIDIA, whereas Atomic Heart will be hosted off-site, for anyone keeping the score.

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