Nvidia RTX is a development platform for rendering graphics that was created by Nvidia, primarily for real-time ray tracing. Ray tracing is typically utilized in instances where image creation is not display time sensitive (like films), meaning that applications such as video games have had to rely on rasterization for their rendering. RTX facilitates a new development in computer graphics of generating images that react to lighting, shadows, reflections and such in real time. RTX runs on Nvidia 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.
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 and OpenGL.
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
- Titan RTX
- RTX 2080Ti
- RTX 2080
- RTX 2070
- RTX 2060
- Quadro RTX 8000
- Quadro RTX 6000
- Quadro RTX 5000
- Quadro RTX 4000
In computer graphics, ray tracing generates an image by tracing the path of light as pixels in an image plane and simulating the effects of its encounters with virtual objects.
RTX works by using acceleration structures and algorithms to build and update spatial search data structures. The acceleration structures function on two levels.
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.
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