What is RTX: Getting to Know the Next Phase of 3D Rendering

Austin
| Last Updated: November 29, 2021

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We always see the letters “RTX” in various brand names for graphics cards added to our computers’ techy stickers and box labels. Have you ever wondered what RTX stands for? 

In this blog, we’ll cover the NVIDIA GeForce RTX’s background, function, and significance in today’s market. We’ll talk about ray tracing for computer graphic design applications in movies, creative software, and medical research. 

Also, we’ll detail why ray tracing cards give their users a unique edge in navigating the halls of the competitive gaming arena.

So sit back and relax as we share with you the pieces of information we have gathered to know more about this excellent platform. Ready to play? Let’s begin!

What is RTX?

The GeForce RTX is a groundbreaking program for lighting and enhancing high-resolution graphics launched by NVIDIA in 2018. It generates impressive rendering of incredibly detailed dynamic images in gaming and creative software. RTX stands for Ray Tracing Texel eXtreme, and it is engineered to perform real-time ray tracing.

History and Background

NVIDIA’s GeForce RTX was initially invented to create digital models and visualizations in various fields such as product prototypes, architectural designs, video productions, scientific studies, and medical research.

The RTX or Ray Tracing Texel eXtreme was designed to facilitate simultaneous ray tracing as the scene unfolds. RTX started as a functional utility for non-real-time applications such as photorealistic renders, visual effects, and CGIs for the film industry.

RTX in Video Games

The RTX’s direct lighting calculation and visual computing level were then adapted to video games, which is a good decision because modern games’ images, scenes, and animation processing demands keep getting higher and finer every year. 

Since then, video games and the latest gaming software have been regarded as the best medium among other applications for testing and utilizing ray-tracing capabilities. Nowadays, test runs for synthetic gaming benchmarks have become crucial for evaluating a GPU’s performance.

NVIDIA Launches Ray Tracing

Ray tracing is a state-of-the-art innovation for real-time reflections, lighting, and shadows for dynamic imaging and computer graphics. RTX uses the latest generation of Tensor and RT Cores, which enables accelerated simulations and computations at any given time. 

Moreover, this cutting-edge and revolutionary graphics card is made to be compatible with the newest NVIDIA GPUs engineered based on Turing and Ampere microarchitecture, which served as the reference for the design of GTX and RTX video cards.

GTX Driver Updates

For GTX users, NVIDIA has developed driver updates for selected GTX 10 and GTX 16 series cards to support the RTX tool. These helpful drivers bridge the technological gap between the earlier and the most recent NVIDIA GPU releases. 

However, users of GTX graphics processing units may not fully experience RTX’s advanced performance and improved functionalities because of the lack of the new hardware cores, which are only present in RTX series GPUs.

RTX A6000: The First of its Kind 

The RTX made its way to the market in 2020. The first graphics card programmed based on Ampere architecture RTX A6000 was launched. Also, its manufacturers specifically designed this GPU product line for professional workstation use. 

Furthermore, to make ray tracing accessible and convenient to more users, NVIDIA has partnered with Microsoft’s operating systems to allow its users to access the RTX-compatible DirectX Ray Tracing API.

NVIDIA GeForce RTX Today

The GeForce RTX is a state-of-the-art program that consolidates rasterization, AI deep learning, and ray tracing. The RTX is a powerful tool that produces real-time photorealistic graphics and globally illuminated scenes. 

The incredible partnership with modern application programming interface or APIs, industry leader utilities, and NVIDIA’s Turing and Ampere-based architecture make this advanced platform possible. 

RTX for 3D Models and Cinema

The new RTX technology assists millions of artists, developers, and creators in generating their best digital models, exceptional rendering works, enhanced visualizations, and breathtaking video productions today.

RT and Tensor Cores

The NVIDIA GeForce RTX is equipped with the newly engineered hardware acceleration cores called RT and Tensor cores. These revolutionary cores are the unique components of ray tracing cards that run the most recent APIs and SDKs.

The software utilities that enables the rendering of high-definition images, dynamic graphics, and cinematic video in real-time includes the following:

  • Ray Tracing
  • AI-Accelerated Features
  • Rasterization
  • Simulation
  • Asset Interchange Formats

Ray Tracing

Real-time ray tracing runs complex pixel color computations and mathematical calculations to simulate how light is seen by a viewer in the physical world and apply it to 3D virtual reality. This application is the reason why video games are more lifelike now than ever before.

The various aspects of light characteristics and behavior in nature are consolidated to produce each final pixel shown on-screen. Due to the recent developments in computer technology, many amazing processes occur in just a blink of an eye.

NVIDIA’s ray-tracing technique is made available through OptiX, Vulkan API, and Microsoft DXR.

NVIDIA RTX Platform

AI-Accelerated Features

An advanced technology that utilizes deep machine learning to perform enhanced graphics rendering and realistic global illumination has arrived, and it is called NVIDIA NGX SDK. It trains the system’s artificial intelligence (AI) to absorb the correct data for the user’s personalized needs.

The NGX is capable of training the software AI. It facilitates a more manageable process of infusing all the collected machine learnings as an essential addition to the new application features for programmers and developers alike.

Rasterization

RTX’s newly installed streaming multiprocessor runs advanced shading systems that are particularly incorporated to speed up graphics rendering. The shading components that form the method includes the following:

  • Mesh Shading
  • Variable Rate Shading (VRS)
  • Texture-Space Shading
  • Multi-View Rendering (MVR)

Mesh Shading

Mesh shading organizes its activities effectively, starting from those tasks affecting more objects per scene. This model ensures faster renders because it prioritizes the critical jobs to prevent bottlenecks. 

This action is helpful for the CPU because it offloads the unit from several essential system processes. With this method, the GPU can focus more on streamlining and categorizing its programs by importance.  

Variable Rate Shading (VRS)

Triangles are the basic building blocks of three-dimensional models, and the Variable Rate Shading or VRS enables the dynamic shading of such model components. This rasterization aspect decides which triangle should be rendered first or left out.

These triangles that are left out by the efficient rendering system are called discontinued triangles, which are the unnecessary portions of a scene that do not contribute much to better imaging quality.

The rasterization technique executes three Variable Rate Shading-based algorithms, namely:

  • Motion Adaptive Shading
  • Content Adaptive Shading
  • Foveated Rendering

Motion Adaptive Shading

The condition of whether to shade or not is related to the rate of dynamic image movement. Just like how our eyes perceive the physical world, the shading depends on the viewer’s action and angle as it explores the virtual environment.

Content Adaptive Shading

As described above, the image processing prioritization for this algorithm depends on the graphics’ level of definition. Those that contribute largely to the entire image quality are shaded first, and all others are left out or discontinued.

Foveated Rendering

This rendering algorithm simulates realistically how a viewer’s eye focuses on an object or an entire scenery. It is applicable primarily for virtual reality environments or VR, eye position, and lens resolution.

Texture-Space Shading

The texture-space shading optimizes the use of the cache, which saves all the formerly accomplished rendering activities in a dedicated memory space for future retrieval. This method facilitates faster shading for the user’s succeeding visits.

This system reduces the re-dos or start-overs in the overall rasterization of images or scenes, allowing the software utility to just focus its capability on further refining the application software’s shading performance.

Multi-View Rendering (MVR)

Muti-view rendering or MVR is an extended version of Pascal’s Single Pass Stereo or SPS, a utility already present in the earlier versions of NVIDIA graphics processing units. NVIDIA has proudly integrated this past innovation for the betterment of its current technology. 

The multi-view rendering lets the software tool shade models having different origins or view directions in one pass. In this program, the MVR prioritizes the graphics that are view-dependent over the independent ones.

Simulation

Simulation, which is also known in the world of computers as computation, enables objects and scenes to move and look realistically as if these virtual elements exist in our physical world. Complex programming and a massive amount of numbers are crunched to execute this activity and translate it on-screen as a pixel.

For more than ten years, NVIDIA has been refining computation tools such as PhysX, FleX, and CUDA 10. These RTX APIs are responsible for making photorealistic graphics, special effects, and virtual environments.

Asset Interchange Formats

As applications that use the RTX platform increase, the digital materials such as geometry and shaders inevitably run and undergo interchanges by viewing, editing, and rendering among various programs and applications.

These aforementioned digital assets must be amenable for such exchanges while keeping their so-called fidelity. When applied in 3D modeling and rendering systems, the term fidelity is the already rendered photorealistic attributes of an image or scene that must be kept intact as viewed or edited in multiple types of software.

USD and MDL

Pixar’s Universal Scene Description or USD and NVIDIA’s Material Definition Language or MDL are the current industry standards for asset interchange supported by RTX. Both the USD and MDL allow the safe exchange of 3D model files while preserving the graphics’ fidelity.

The USD is a powerful utility that offers a wide range of tools and valuable capabilities that assist in 3D geometry editing, reading, writing, reviewing, and shading for the entertainment and film production industry. On the other hand, the MDL lets creators and developers set up their own materials library without compromising the fidelity of the 3D model files.

The Future of RTX

The demand for RTX-enabled applications and software increases as the broad range of benefits and potential advantages of ray-traced software is recognized as a functional and essential tool today.

In response, NVIDIA has established its newest cutting-edge application called Omniverse to serve as a real-time collaborative platform, which simulates reality with accurate detail and, more importantly, can be accessed even offline.

NVIDIA Omniverse

NVIDIA Omniverse offers a program that allows several users from different geographical locations to work on a single project in a customizable and shareable virtual space simultaneously.

This innovation results in higher productivity since it eliminates the extra steps and unnecessary activities from the priority list. Users can create, add, comment, and edit the project as it is modified.

Offline Access

An essential feature of Omniverse is that it can also be utilized even the user is offline. It is a valuable attribute, especially nowadays when more companies are opting for the work-from-home setup. 

This setup means that a work project can continue even if a stable internet connection is out of reach, just as long as the required downloadable software tools and applications are already saved in a computer workstation. 

Application in Various Industries

With the application of emerging and continuously evolving ray-tracing graphics processing, several industries have experienced a revolutionary improvement in their workflows and methods. Some of these fields are:

  • Game Development
  • Supercomputing
  • Manufacturing
  • Media and Entertainment
  • Architecture, Engineering, and Construction

RTX-Enabled Software

RTX-enabled applications incredibly boost the quality and performance of images and scenes used in various industries such as gaming, film, arts, and entertainment. It has thoroughly enhanced the way we view and interact with 3D models in the virtual world.

Designers, developers, and artists worldwide trust RTX in delivering the best rendering and swiftest graphics processing for their creative productions such as broadcasts, animations, 3D modeling, video editing, and other creative works.

Here are some of the leading design software that optimizes the RTX technology:

  • Adobe (Substance Painter, Substance Designer, Photoshop Lightroom, and Dimension)
  • Esri (ArcGIS Enterprise and ArcGIS Pro)
  • Blackmagic Design DaVinci Resolve
  • Autodesk (VRED, MAYA, FLAME, and Arnold)
  • Dassault Systèmes (SOLIDWORKS Visualize and CATIA/Stellar)
  • Pixar Renderman
  • Siemens NX RT Studio
  • Unity
  • PocketStudio 3D

RTX in Competitive Gaming 

RTX provides a considerable advantage for competitive gamers since it lets them see details clearer than ever before. Minute visual changes and rapid scene runs in-game are more noticeable and provide users a significant edge compared to the past gaming renders.

Gamers who use RTX can perform at their best because of the faster frame rate speed and high-definition dynamic graphics, allowing the players to provide immediate and accurate responses for games requiring split-second decisions.

Ray Traced Lights and Sounds

Ray tracing enhances both light and sound, making them seem more natural and lifelike as a player steps into the virtual gaming world. Global illumination and digitally traced surrounding sounds make a lot of difference in the way users enjoy videos and software nowadays. 

The RTX traces sound waves realistically. The players engage in immersive virtual environments, including sound effects such as echoes, vibrations, and reverberations. The digitally traced surrounding sounds make the virtual experience more crisp and real.  

Latest RTX Gaming Software

NVIDIA's leading graphics cards share the RTX technology with all game creators and developers, encouraging them to incorporate the unique advantage of ray tracing into their current and upcoming game releases.

Some of the recent gaming software that can be played with RTX On are as follows:

  • Call Of Duty: Black Ops Cold War
  • Fortnite
  • Metro Exodus
  • Minecraft
  • Shadow Of The Tomb Raider
  • Watch Dogs: Legion
  • World Of Warcraft

Is Ray Tracing Worth It?

Yes, the NVIDIA GeForce RTX’s ray-tracing graphics card is a good buy. Though it comes at a hefty price point, the advantages and rewards of having one are certainly worth it for gamers, professionals, and people who just want to enjoy NVIDIA’s latest modern innovation has to offer.

Ray-tracing cards have more excellent frame rates and photorealistic graphics, making them a great investment if you want to play games at high settings on your computer or TV screen with little lag time between scenes and animation effects.

RTX in Medical Research

The fields of medical research and health care have drastically improved through NVIDIA RTX. Professionally rendered medical imaging has led to more accurate and speedy diagnosis results for patients.

Imaging applications in the medical field that benefit from ray tracing technology include endoscopy, ultrasound, X-ray, MRI, PET, and CT scans. Such medical imaging applications are crucial in the field of human health, medicine, and surgery.  

General Purpose GPU

NVIDIA Quadro and CUDA have teamed up to manufacture the General Purpose GPU (GPGPU). GPGPU is a graphics processing unit solely built for signal and image processing for medical applications. 

Its features and capabilities are adequately engineered to take on the demands of medical imaging and diagnoses.

Today, the NVIDIA GPGPUs are present in nearly all the leading brands used for medical imaging, such as GE Medical, Siemens, and NDS Surgical Imaging.

People Also Ask

Is GeForce RTX good for gaming?

Yes, the GeForce RTX is the best graphics card today, and gamers should consider getting one. 

It is primarily engineered for 1080p resolution, and it delivers cutting-edge global illumination, lifelike scenes, animation, and sound effects only the latest RTX can provide. 

NVIDIA’s GeForce RTX is a great choice for gamers, as it can withstand the demanding requirements of modern games. 

Is ray tracing only for RTX?

Yes, ray tracing is only applicable for NVIDIA GeForce RTX graphics cards, and RTX-enabled gaming and software. 

GeForce GTX 10 and 16 users need not worry because they can still enjoy this new technology with their video cards using the driver updates available online.

However, GTX users may not fully experience advanced ray tracing performance due to the lack of the new hardware cores that are only present in RTX series GPUs.

Which is better, RTX or GTX?

The NVIDIA GeForce RTX is definitely the better choice than the earlier GTX series. 

RTX delivers cutting-edge global illumination technology that renders lifelike scenes so you can feel like your gaming avatar has come alive on-screen. It is also worth noting that improvements in animation and sound effects are included in this upgrade.

Although GTX video card users can also enjoy the RTX experience through the driver updates provided by NVIDIA to its customers, there are limitations to what GTX graphics cards can offer. This drawback is due to the lack of RT and Tensor cores, which are only found in RTX GPUs. 

What is the difference between RTX and GTX?

The NVIDIA GTX is an earlier series of graphics cards designed based on Turing architecture, offering high-quality performance years ago. 

This former technology is still being utilized by some users, but they might be missing out on a lot of new features and capabilities of an RTX card -- if they don’t upgrade soon enough.

On the other hand, the RTX is the latest series based on the Ampere architecture and the only video card equipped with computing acceleration hardware RT and Tensor cores. 

These newly built cores offer better features and more power than their predecessors because of real-time rendering and accelerated Deep Learning applications.

Why are RTX cards so expensive?

The high prices of RTX cards are primarily due to the high demand, immense popularity, and multiple applications of this product to various gamers, professionals, researchers, and people in the scientific community. Moreover, its stock availability and production are very limited.

Another reason is the overwhelming gap between the old and the new video cards at present. RTX cards deliver photorealistic objects and globally illuminated images in an impeccably lifelike manner that has never been experienced before in the virtual 3D environment. 

Conclusion

NVIDIA’s GeForce RTX can be used in various applications, such as gaming, creative design, and film production software. Moreover, it facilitates better imaging and a more precise understanding in the field of scientific and medical research.

RTX is expensive for most people, but recent buyers say that it is a good investment because of its unmatched engineering, overall features, and incredible capabilities. There are so many reasons why you should be getting one!

We love hearing from our readers! We want you to get in touch with us and share your thoughts, so feel free to comment or ask a question below. Thank you for reading, and see you in our next blog.



Austin

When the tech company I worked for restructured and I ended up jobless, I decided to put the wealth of knowledge and management skills to use somewhere new. I’d checked out a few buyer’s guides on the site in the past and reached out to the previous owner. A few months later, here we are. Now, I get to be behind the scenes, helping people find the best tech.