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NVIDIA shows off first interactive GPU ray tracer

updated 05:30 pm EDT, Thu August 14, 2008

NVIDIA's GPU ray tracer

Graphics processor maker NVIDIA on Thursday announced it will be demonstrating the first fully interactive GPU-based ray tracer at the SIGGRAPH 2008 exposition in Las Vegas that is currently being held. The entirely NVIDIA-developed tracer is running on four of the company's next-generation Quadro GPUs set in Quadro Plex 2100 D4 Visual Computing System. It is capable of three bounce linear scaling rendering at up to 30fps at resolutions of 1920x1080.

The demonstration features linear scaling rendering of a complex, two-million polygon image of a car, the Bugatti Veyron, pictured, that is anti-aliased.

Ray tracing allows generating images by tracing the path of light through pixels in an image plane, resulting in high levels of realism, as it's capable of creating shadows, reflections and refractions in real time.

NVIDIA did not reveal how much the Visual Computing System cost, or when or if it would be available to customers. The Qudro Plex, however, will cost at least $10,750 when it launches this fall.

By Electronista Staff


  1. BelugaShark

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Aug 2007



    What's with the hard shadows?

  1. scottnichol

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Oct 1999


    re: Feathered

    direct sunlight always produces hard shadows. might have softer shadows if they'd designed an overcast day into the scene!

  1. blingerman

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: May 2004


    hard shadows

    It's not the direct sunlight that produced hard shadows - it's the fact that they've limited the ray bounces to only 3 to get the 30 fps performance. Real ray tracing requires many ray bounces to achieve realism. Hollywood films have 400 ray bounces per pixel. This is a heavily constrained demo to achieve decent performance on a $10K system. Nice try Nvidia.

  1. Guest

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Nov 1999



    Look at it like this. The car has a shiny rear view mirror housing. A 1 bounce ray trace would show the mirror in the cars door as a reflection. a 2 bounce will show the mirror in the car doors reflection, and the car doors reflection would show its reflection that exists in the mirror housing. a 3 bounce shows the mirrors reflection of itself in the car door. see how crazy it starts to get? After that the reflected reflections start getting so small it doesn't add to the overall look of the scene and the expense is a slower more memory hogging render.

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