Nvidia brought a massive bag of tricks to their CES keynote this year, including enabling G-Sync on any adaptive-sync monitors, confirming DLSS and ray tracing in a bunch of new games, and even adding a whole bunch of professional-oriented features to their RTX lineup via a software update. Of course, don’t forget the two biggest announcements: the RTX 2060 and RTX in laptops.
Bringing G-Sync to the masses
Gamers have had a love-hate relationship with G-Sync since its launch five years ago. Just like AMD’s FreeSync, it smooths out gameplay by removing screen tearing and stuttering, but unlike FreeSync, it adds an additional couple hundred dollars to the monitors’ cost. With Nvidia dominating the high-end GPU market, however, gamers have been forced to pay the price. Until now, that is.
Today, Nvidia has announced that they’ve secretly tested over 400 monitors with Adaptive-Sync and Variable Refresh Rate technologies, and they’ve found 12 that qualify to be G-Sync certified. Amusingly, quite a few of these are actually cheaper FreeSync variants of G-Sync panels released by the same manufacturer. They say they’ve still got 150 monitors to go, and they’ll check any new ones released.
Even better, however, is the option for gamers to enable G-Sync without certification. “For gamers who have monitors that we have not yet tested, or that have failed validation, we’ll give you an option to manually enable Variable Refresh Rate, too.” This means that any FreeSync monitor should now be G-Sync certified too. The option will become available after a driver update on January 15th.
DLSS confirmed in five new titles
Deep Learning Super Sampling (DLSS) is an alternative to the commonly used Temporal Anti-Aliasing (TAA) that games employ to prevent rendered images from having jagged edges and rougher texture maps. It relies on the AI-optimized Tensor Cores that are exclusive to RTX to upscale images with deep learning, in order to save the GPU from having to render at a higher resolution and lose performance.
Up until now, Nvidia has marketed DLSS as a way to improve general performance, and before today, they hadn’t announced any ray-traced titles capable of DLSS. That changes now, with Battlefield V, Justice, and Atomic Heart all getting DLSS support to undo the damage ray tracing does to performance.
According to Nvidia, at 4K Chinese MMO Justice should be able to run at 50 fps standardly with a 2070, 60 fps with a 2080, and 70+ fps with a 2080 Ti. Activating ray tracing drops all those numbers by about 10 fps but adding in DLSS raises them back to slightly higher than they were before. The same should reportedly occur in Battlefield V.
Last but not least, Bioware’s Anthem and Chinese title JX3 Online will get DLSS but not raytracing. According to an Nvidia blog post, having DLSS but not raytracing can boost performance by as much as 40%.
Expanding RTX capabilities
Nvidia’s statistics have revealed that of the 200 million gamers that use their graphics cards, 8 million of them broadcast, 8 million of them are video enthusiasts, 4 million use a VR headset and 1.5 million are hobbyist animators. As part of a new strategy to create “PCs for gamers, not gaming PCs” Nvidia will be adding software updates designed to help these applications in an imminent update.
Nvidia has partnered with OBS, the largest streaming software platform, to optimize it to use RTX to its fullest extent and to introduce Pro-Quality Broadcast streaming on a single PC. Previously, Pro-Quality streams required two PCs to handle the performance requirement. For videographers, Nvidia has worked with RED to introduce official support for 8K video editing, decoding and color correcting.
VR also gets a slight boost, with better software to support single-cable headsets and eye-tracking in headsets of the future. Animators get one of the most meaningful boosts, with RTX now supporting enhanced acceleration for the Autodesk Arnold interactive rendering engine.