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Nvidia launches the GeForce RTX 20 Series: Ray-tracing to the mainstream of gaming

By LemmingOverlrd · 70 replies
Aug 20, 2018
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  1. Nvidia has finally introduced the much-hyped next-gen GeForce RTX 20 Series family of GPUs. Taking to the stage at Gamescom 2018, in Germany, Jen-Hsun Huang, the founder and CEO of Nvidia took his sweet time walking the audience through the history and evolution of graphics, building up to this one moment where everything converges on ray tracing, a rendering technique which enables photo-realistic CGI to be rendered in real-time.

    To the CEO of Nvidia, this is a landmark moment which will change the face of gaming and visual effects.

    10 years of R&D have gone into the development of this graphics chip which, above all things, will introduce a never-before-seen level of realism to games. The ray tracing capabilities of these cards render objects and environments with physically accurate shadows, reflections, refractions and global illumination in ways we've only previously seen in pre-recorded demos or even in Hollywood AAA titles.

    At this moment, ray tracing is far too powerful an affair to be the sole engine behind graphics, Nvidia has chosen to optimize its CUDA cores, and using a hybrid approach taking the best of both worlds to render scenes. The optimized raster engine works hand in hand with the ray tracing engine to maximize visual quality.

    The new cards also introduce a tensor core cluster which adds machine learning and AI capabilities to the overall image processing, intelligently predicting decision making and steps to improve the image as it is processed in the internal pipeline. The combination of these improvements, says Nvidia, is so complex that a new metric had to be invented, something that they defined as RT Operations.

    The new GPUs are based on the Turing microarchitecture, the same which powers its professional line of Quadro GPUs. These are the GeForce RTX 2080 Ti, GeForce RTX 2080 and GeForce RTX 2070. While we shouldn't expect an exponential growth in framerate, there is exponential growth in eye candy, and for a first-generation ray tracing product, it actually shows a lot of promise. Running through a number of game demos, the audience was treated to a spectacle of amazing lighting effects which gave another level of depth to the games.

    While not a lot of performance comparison was thrown around, Jen-Hsun did mention that the shaders in the raster engine were 1.5x more efficient than their immediate predecessors in the 10 Series, and if we were to compare ray tracing capabilities, a GTX 1080 Ti would provide 1/8th of the ray tracing power of a Turing GPU.

    Jen-Hsun also gushed praise of the in-house designed Founders' Edition cards. According to Nvidia, these cards are factory-overclocked, with advanced power management features. The dual-fan setup also produces 1/5th the noise of a GeForce GTX 1080 Ti, but it also helps that the cards are the first stock vapor-chamber design by the company.

    However, the novelty comes at a price. Nvidia is simultaneously launching the "Ti" and standard versions of its flagship graphics card. Something it would usually dole out over the course of a few months, but given the price tag on these devices, you can see why. The GeForce RTX 2080 Ti starts at $999, the GeForce RTX 2080 will start at $699 and the GeForce RTX 2070 at $499.

    Nvidia is taking orders now for their Founders' Edition overclocked versions which ship on September 20th, as you can see in the spec sheet below (Founders' Edition values are in brackets):

      GeForce RTX 2080 Ti (FE) GeForce RTX 2080 (FE) GeForce RTX 2070 (FE)
    Price $999 ($1,199) $699 ($799) $499 ($599)
    Launch September 20th, 2018 September 20th, 2018 TBD
    Architecture Turing Turing Turing
    Process 12nm NFF 12nm NFF 12nm NFF
    CUDA Cores 4352 2944 2304
    RT Engine 10 Giga Rays 8 Giga Rays 6 Giga Rays
    RTX OPS 78 Trillion RT OPS 60 Trillion RT OPS 45 Trillion RT OPS
    Base Clock (MHz) 1350 1515 1410
    Boost Clock (MHz) 1545 (1635) 1710 (1800) 1620 (1710)
    Memory 11 GB GDDR6 8 GB GDDR6 8 GB GDDR6
    Memory Speed 14 Gbps 14 Gbps 14 Gbps
    Memory Interface 352-bit 256-bit 256-bit
    Memory Bandwidth 616 GB/s 448 GB/s 448 GB/s
    SLI NVLink Bridge NVLink Bridge -
    TDP 250W (260W) 215W (225W) 175W (185W)
    PEG Connectors 1x8pin+1x8pin 1x6pin+1x8pin 1x8pin

    Performance remains to be seen on these cards, but many gamers prioritize framerate over eye-candy, and therefore will expect high-rises in performance. The elephant in the room, however, is AMD. No word, no planned release schedule, and no talk of future architectures since the departure of Raja Koduri for Intel.

    Permalink to story.

  2. No mention of whether NVLink will work the same as in Quadro cards. Was hoping to see that mentioned at the conference but I guess we'll have to wait.

    May wait for the 21 series if we still have to rely on SLI implementation from the developers.
    LemmingOverlrd likes this.
  3. TomSEA

    TomSEA TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 3,124   +1,617

    The ray tracing aspect is a pretty big deal and a giant leap in GPU technology.

    BUT...how many games/software packages are in the works to take advantage of this? I'm thinking this could be a similar situation to when VR headsets first came out and except for a handful of demo clips, there was nothing available. I'm not sure you could even say there's a viable VR software catalog out there even today.

    Nevertheless, I'll be in line for one of these 2080ti's as soon as I see what 3rd party manufacturers come out with.
  4. According to the slide they put up after the game demos (Tomb Raider, Battlefield V, and Metro), there's a respectable number coming out post-launch. Given the night and day difference between RTX and non-RTX visuals, I'd be surprised if anyone selling their game on graphics doesn't implement it.
  5. Vulcanproject

    Vulcanproject TS Evangelist Posts: 740   +1,068

    The problem as I see it is that these cards may only be minimally faster at conventional games lacking the RTX features than the GTX10 series, because they don't boost the CUDA cores significantly. Barring the very niche $1000 2080ti of course. Is there just a big dead chunk of silicon doing nothing if you do not enable RT features? It seems likely.

    If so a $699 RTX2080 may struggle in regular games against a $699 (no doubt soon to be discounted) GTX1080ti judging by those specs.

    The RT features will prove to be an interesting addition but if they are anything like several Nvidia Gameworks features they don't exactly run fantastic and seriously reduce the framerate.......In order for this to work Nvidia's proprietary technology in the supported software has to be brilliant. Because if it isn't people will buy it for the marketing then disable it to improve their framerates. Then label it as a gimmick.

    What we really need here is AMD to pull their finger out because this is Nvidia pricing as they please. AMD need to deliver cards that may not be as capable of these fancy RT effects, but otherwise run the same game faster.

    Then it'll be very interesting to see how people are swayed. Faster 'base' graphics on AMD, or prettier but potentially slower on Nvidia.
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2018
  6. EEatGDL

    EEatGDL TS Evangelist Posts: 693   +376

    If I understood correctly, and I'm no industrial designer or expert in 3D graphics: ray-tracing is easier to implement for the video game artists and the heavy lifting is done by the cards having the capability implemented in hardware. In contrast with rasterization, where the artists have to design the behavior to each object in scene as if they're reacting to a light source, when they actually aren't. They have to do tricks for it to look good and is very time consuming; whereas ray-tracing is based on just physically modelling and putting light sources in the scene, and objects with physically modeled materials to react with the light sources.

    By now, cinema VFX will be the new market opportunity for NVIDIA; games will have it as a nice to have, with apparently little additional work required to be implemented. The game developers still have to design based on rasterization, with ray-tracing as a second, quick-to-implement, layer if the hardware (RT core) is present.

    Too much talk: I'll be in line for a 2080 Ti too :)
    Reehahs and TempleOrion like this.
  7. Evernessince

    Evernessince TS Evangelist Posts: 3,999   +3,483


    No thanks. I'll stick with 75% of the performance at half the cost with my 1080 Ti.
    DanUK, Eugenia, Reehahs and 2 others like this.
  8. noel24

    noel24 TS Evangelist Posts: 519   +455

    Congratulations to Americans and other high income countries on the debut of new GPUs.
    With my $300-something set aside I'm waiting for something at least 2-3 times faster than my current GTX970 - probably GPU from AMD in a Ryzen-style-comeback. Or maybe, after all those years, I'll break and try playing pad, buy PS4 Pro to play their exclusives.
    If they keep raising prices of each iteration, nVidia will soon run out of numbers to fill names of under-$200 cards. Like literally We should see next year GT2010, GT2015Ti? Seriously, You can buy 6 core i5 for around $200 thanks to AMD Zen revival. nVidia is just milking Us as a monopolist. Go to hell Jenny!
    DanUK, Eugenia, Reehahs and 4 others like this.
  9. ImmenseBrick

    ImmenseBrick TS Rookie

    I was really excited until I saw the price. In Canada we get the old shaft express in pricing even though I live like 20 minutes from the USA border. Anyway, to give context a founders gtx 1080 at launch was 900 cad, today the 3rd party 1080s are around 650 cad. Saw some pre-orders for the 2080 at around $1100 cad for OEM non founders cards. Long story short, nvidias pricing+retailer gouging makes all these gpus sort of dumb. Tomb raider and metro etc all looked fantastic but a $600 xbox one X can play them looking 80-90% as good (lower frame rate yes). its a pretty tough value proposition. I was going to build a new rig but at these prices its pretty rough. RTX 2070 for $500 usd (non founders)....the OG gtx 970 launched at $300 usd. Good job NVidia, managed to charge $200 usd for same class of product. All to say I'm kinda upset now. Lastly, while ray tracing stuff looks neat (like on BF 5 footage) how much of it can you actually see while running around shooting and actually playing games vs stopping to look at the tech? its cool tech but is it like $1600 Canadian rupees cool to look at some reflected fire?
    Eugenia, senketsu, Reehahs and 3 others like this.
  10. Raytrace3D

    Raytrace3D TS Addict Posts: 110   +109

    Looks like the only way I can upgrade to an RTX is to refinance my house... sheesh those retail prices are crazy high.
    Eugenia, senketsu, Reehahs and 4 others like this.
  11. phillai

    phillai TS Enthusiast Posts: 54   +15

    I'm eager to find out how the Geforce RTX 2070's compare to the last gen's GPU's.
  12. Boilerhog146

    Boilerhog146 TS Evangelist Posts: 620   +217

    No sli or nvlink on the 2070's and lower. so running a pair will require the 2080 or the Ti's.and yeah .no mention if like the Quadro. the consumer versions will actually compound the memory or use just the memory of 1 card, but both cores?????
    LemmingOverlrd likes this.
  13. Faelan

    Faelan TS Member Posts: 19   +9

    It looks cool, but... eh... not really for me. Not at those prices, although I could easily afford multiple 2080ti cards. It’s not the price per se. It’s the value I’m getting out of it. I’m not really into the latest and greatest AAA games. I don’t see titles such as My Summer Car, Euro Truck Simulator 2, DCS World, Factorio, Elite Dangerous, IL2 Sturmovik Battle of Stalingrad, Europa Universalis 4, Final Fantasy 14 or Space Engineers supporting RTX features anytime soon. Heck, my 1080ti is already overkill for 90-95% of my Steam library. I’ll pass.
  14. sasat

    sasat TS Enthusiast Posts: 40   +21

    Prices are ridiculous that's for sure. Looking at specs 2080Ti is just +20% more beefy than 1080Ti, everything else is left to very speculative RTX-OPS number. Remember all RTX games have to be pre-calculated on AI super farms, only large studios will be able to have this pleasure. If it will run 3x more FPS on non-RTX titles, then its worth 3x the price of 1080Ti. There was never Nvidia flagship costing 1600$ even at launch, this price is ridiculous.
    Evernessince likes this.
  15. Squid Surprise

    Squid Surprise TS Evangelist Posts: 2,546   +1,537

    So they do the Ti first this time round.... look out for the Titan version in a few months...
    ForgottenLegion and Evernessince like this.
  16. Evernessince

    Evernessince TS Evangelist Posts: 3,999   +3,483

    That's the thing, Nvidia could easily use it's GameWorks program to "help" devs implement Nvidia's shortcut ray tracing, all the while forcing all previous gen Nvidia cards and AMD cards to run on an un-optimized code path. That way the new cards appear to be getting 3X the performance all the while almost forcing users who want the best experience to buy their new cards. This wouldn't surprise me in the least, they have done it before multiple times and they've shown every intent this year they don't care about the consumer.
    Eugenia and Capaill like this.
  17. Adhmuz

    Adhmuz TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,924   +712

    It all looks very impressive, and I'm sure it'll bring a new level of realism to the games that support it and or get optimized for it. Fortunately it seems like this is an easy thing to implement given the list of games that will support it and some of which are already available. But holy crap these are going to some expensive GPUs, I certainly hope this is just tactics to help clear out the excessive stock of 10 series cards, but highly doubt once those are gone these will be priced that much better. I can't justify spending over $1000 (CAD) on a video card, that's just ludicrous. Where are these "Starting at" priced cards? The cheapest on newegg is the Giga Windforce at $789 (USD)...

    Before any real decisions can be made a real apples to apples benchmark needs to be performed, fine these new 20 series cards are TEN TIMES FASTER at ray tracing, well duh, this is a new technology built in to the architecture the 10 series cards lack... Pure marketing BS as usual. How do they ACTUALLY compare when rendering a game that doesn't utilize any ray tracing is the real question people want to know.
  18. Evernessince

    Evernessince TS Evangelist Posts: 3,999   +3,483

    The same way they run PhysX on older Nvidia cards and AMD cards, on a very slow code path.
    NightAntilli likes this.
  19. Sausagemeat

    Sausagemeat TS Maniac Posts: 409   +205

    £1099 in the U.K. for the 2080 ti. This will be the most I have ever spent on a graphics card by more than double. Well, provided it can run 4K gaming at 60+ fps on high/ultra settings. I will be awaiting reviews before ordering of course. My crossfire 280x solution is hopeless at 4K. Can’t wait for a fresh GPU and this ray tracing tech looks fantastic.
    Reehahs and ForgottenLegion like this.
  20. Bp968

    Bp968 TS Booster Posts: 101   +78

    People just dont get it. This is the way its going to be. The endless massive drops in price on computer components is coming to an end until they discover some new process to make them with. Those big NM drops in process node size massively reduced costs *and* die size *and* increased speed. Now a node size reduction is no longer a doubling of transistors, doubling of speed, and drop in cost. Now a node reduction *raises* the costs of production, and barely increases transistor count or reduces die size. And each node step is getting vastly more difficult to do and more expensive to accomplish.

    I'm sure nvidia has a healthy profit margin built into the cards, but their also not going to be cheap to manufacture. Their *huge* dies.
    Reehahs and TempleOrion like this.
  21. Lew Zealand

    Lew Zealand TS Guru Posts: 673   +573

    Prices get jacked up for new technology. People who can afford it will buy it. People who can't afford it complain and do a bit of name calling. Check, check, check. Pretty standard product intro cycle.

    I'll pick up a 2070 whenever prices dip, assuming that it offers a good FPS boost on my games.
    EEatGDL and davislane1 like this.
  22. Draconian

    Draconian TS Enthusiast Posts: 82   +16

    I don't know who can afford these prices.
  23. CaptainTom

    CaptainTom TS Maniac Posts: 404   +213

    Nvidia is really playing into their advantage here. If they are right, they will make so much miney. But if they are wrong...
  24. CaptainTom

    CaptainTom TS Maniac Posts: 404   +213

    There is nothing "standard" here except they are using a standard 2 year old manufacturing process.... and then charging double the standard price lol.

    Raytracing is a complete joke.
  25. TempleOrion

    TempleOrion TS Enthusiast Posts: 40   +26

    How so? Could you elaborate a bit please?

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