Nvidia has taken wraps of a series of new top-end graphics cards –
The company went into tremendous detail on its Gamescom 2018 launch event on what these cards can do, but we've broken down key info just for you.
What is Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 and why should I care?
The RTX 2080 (and 2080Ti and 2070) are the latest series of Nvidia graphics card cards. Why should you care? Well, like any new game hardware game flagship game, they promise a whole lot of improvements to your PC game graphics and increase overall efficiency. It's also the first major revision of Nvidia's consumer GPUs since the launch of GTX 1080 and the other 10 Series Cards
How is my game graph?
The biggest way is to use something called ray tracing. While I do not want to go into that nitty gritty of what this is (mainly because I do not understand it) all you need to know is that ray tracing simulates exactly how easily experienced in the real world. Real-time ray tracing has been something of a holy grail for 3D graphics.
Using beam tracking, bounces shine around a room more realistically, and reflections on surfaces are spot on. It may not sound like a big deal, but when you see examples of technology turned on and without it, the difference is very noticeable.
This is a very processor-intense technique; Previously you would only see it in game under prerendered cutscenes. However, with the RTX 2080, it's the first time we see it in real-time from a consumer-level GPU.
So, is it about better reflections?
Ray tracing does not just mean that mirrors look more real; Light in all forms seems more realistic and gives a much more true-to-life gaming experience. In an example from the game Metro: Exodus appeared at Nvidia's launching event on Gamescom, and stood in an old house, lit by an open window with the sun outside. With the beam strike turned off, the room was black, stored from the square with window light on the ground and the table in the room.
Turn it on and one light jumped around the room in a way that looked like you would expect to see it in reality. Nvidia showed how this effect could have been achieved before by artificial paint of light into different areas of the room, but the effect was not as close as credible when viewed side by side.
Shadows are different as well. The hard edges of today's shadows are gone, replaced with natural softness and ability to interact with other shadows more naturally. As it's done in real time, you can see how the effect changes as you walk around and explore a scene. It is possible developers can even use reflections as part of the gameplay – think about spying a hidden enemy, not by a shady shadow, but by using nearby reflections.
It may not sound like much, but when all of these effects come together, the overall result is a scene that is really lively and as a result more subdued. It's only when I saw a new vs old comparison as I realized that what I thought was "excellent graphics" actually had a long way to go.
What about frame prices? Does this new technology mean slower performance?
Not necessarily, no. I saw some demos that run 4K content, with real-time beam tracking of up to 60 fps (the synchronization rate of the screen it was on). It's a pretty average feat.
Nvidia said, however, that there would be a slight effect on the performance with the maxed out settings. game developers are likely to build in the ability to turn off the effects if a user considers it necessary to eject each available frame per second.
Which games are supported on the RTX 2080?
Nvidia mentioned over 20 games at the launch event that plans to support the new real-time radiation. These include big titles like:
- The Shadow of Tomb Raider
- Battlefield 5
- Assetto Corsa Competizione
- Mechwarrior V: Mercenaries
- Metro Exodus
Will existing games play even better on the RTX 2080?
Nvidia has been quite handsome about giving out performance performance upgrades for non-ray tracing games. Although it is safe to assume it, it may be a bump in performance, but to what extent remains to be seen when we can test them next to it.
Nvidia bothered a few numbers though. Far Cry 5, for example, will apparently play 71 frames per second at 4K HDR with Destiny 2, Final Fantasy 15 and Star Wars: Battlefront 2, which all achieve over 60 fps at 4K HDR using RTX 2080. Not bad.
How much will it cost and when can I get it?
The RTX 2080 and 2080 Ti launch both shipments on September 20, while the RTX 2070 will be available later in October.
The RTX 2070 starts at $ 499. The RTX 2080 in between starts at $ 699 while the top-end RTX 2080Ti clocks at $ 999. Specific British and Australian prices are not known at the time of writing. Most of the big name PC makers will offer the card in pre-built or built-to-order desktops at launch.
Everything else to know?
Nvidia talked about the importance of "neural networks" and deep learning in the card, especially in the field of image processing. Upscale images on the screen were a great deal at the event, with Nvidia showing examples of how both still images and motion of video in games sharpen, with videos that have fewer objects under fast motion.
In addition to showing how a low resolution image can be done with high resolution using deep learning, it also showed a demonstration with Loreal hair where a girl's hair was seamlessly changed in real time using software.
The company has not mentioned much about partnerships with image companies like Adobe, but I am very interested in finding out if the new processing power can be used for applications such as Photoshop for image processing. Photoshop already has a software-based image scanning tool – how much better can this be with deep learning hardware acceleration?