Nvidia RTX is a high-end professional visual computing platform created by Nvidia, primarily used for designing complex large scale models in architecture and product design, scientific visualization, energy exploration, and film and video production. Nvidia RTX enables real time ray tracing. Historically, ray tracing had been reserved to non-real time applications (like CGI in visual effects for movies and in photorealistic renderings), with video games having to rely on direct lighting and precalculated indirect contribution for their rendering. RTX facilitates a new development in computer graphics of generating interactive images that react to lighting, shadows, reflections. RTX runs on Nvidia Ampere- Volta- and Turing-based GPUs, specifically utilizing the Tensor cores (and new RT cores on Turing) on the architectures for ray tracing acceleration.
In March 2019, Nvidia announced that selected GTX 10 series (Pascal) and GTX 16 series (Turing) cards would receive support for subsets of RTX technology in upcoming drivers, although functions and performance will be affected by their lack of dedicated hardware cores for ray tracing.
In October 2020, Nvidia announced Nvidia RTX A6000 as the first Ampere architecture based graphics card for use in professional workstations in the Nvidia RTX product line.
Nvidia worked with Microsoft to integrate RTX support with Microsoft's DirectX Raytracing API (DXR). RTX is currently available through Nvidia OptiX and for DirectX. For the Turing architecture, it is also available for Vulkan.
In addition to ray tracing, RTX includes artificial intelligence integration, common asset formats, rasterization (CUDA) support, and simulation APIs. The components of RTX are:
- AI-accelerated features (NGX)
- Asset formats (USD and MDL)
- Rasterization including advanced shaders
- Raytracing via OptiX, Microsoft DXR and Vulkan
- Simulation tools:
- CUDA 10
RTX works by using acceleration structures and algorithms to build and update spatial search data structures.
APIs using RTX
Nvidia OptiX is part of Nvidia DesignWorks. OptiX is a high-level, or "to-the-algorithm" API, meaning that it is designed to encapsulate the entire algorithm of which ray tracing is a part, not just the ray tracing itself. This is meant to allow the OptiX engine to execute the larger algorithm without application-side changes.
- Alwani, Rishi. "Microsoft and Nvidia Tech to Bring Photorealistic Games With Ray Tracing". Gadgets 360. Retrieved March 21, 2018.
- Atlavilla, Dave. "Nvidia And Microsoft Lay Foundation For Photorealistic Gaming With Real-Time Ray Tracing". Forbes. Retrieved March 19, 2018.
- "Nvidia announces RTX 2000 GPU series with '6 times more performance' and ray-tracing". The Verge. Retrieved 2018-08-20.
- "Nvidia reveals $800 GeForce RTX 2080 at Gamescom 2018". CNET.
- Sarkar, Samit (2019-03-18). "Nvidia bringing new movie-quality graphics tech to GTX cards". Polygon. Retrieved 2019-03-19.
- Smith, Ryan. "Quadro No More? NVIDIA Announces Ampere-based RTX A6000 & A40 Video Cards For Pro Visualization". www.anandtech.com. Retrieved 2021-03-10.
- "Turing Extensions for Vulkan and OpenGL". NVIDIA Developer.
- "NVIDIA RTX™ platform". Nvidia.