There is no doubt that Ray Tracing is one of the technologies that have been integrated into the most important next-generation gaming GPUs. The reality is that its implementation in PC games did not begin to be possible until Microsoft added the extensions for it in its DirectX 12 API in its Ultimate update. Of course, we cannot forget that we do not only live on DirectX, since another API has ended up adopting similar extensions: Vulkan, the successor to OpenGL.
Well, AMD has added extensions for Ray Tracing in Vulkan that allow the pre-RDNA 2 architectures to be used for this. It has done so through the so-called Radeon Vulkan Drivers or RADV. Has Ray Tracing Made It To Old AMD Gaming GPUs? Let’s see what is behind all this.
AMD adds RT support in Vulkan for graphics cards prior to RX 6000
In the last update of the AMD drivers for Vulkan, RADV, the ability to use graphics cards with architectures older than RDNA 2 for ray tracing has been added. Among the beneficiaries are the series RX 5000, Radeon VII, the Serie RX Vega and the RX 400 to RX 600.
Let’s not forget that one of the novelties in the organization of the RX 6000 is the Ray Accelerator Unit, unit homologated to NVIDIA’s RT Core and that, like this, is used to calculate the intersections between rays and objects to generate the scene through Ray Tracing algorithms, managing to free the shader units of said load.
When NVIDIA introduced its RTX 2000, its novelty (apart from the Tensor Cores) was the RT Core, a unit that AMD’s RX 5000 lacked, so the response of Lisa Su’s company was to promise its implementation by “software” and therefore making use of shader programs for the intersection. However, the workload for calculating the intersection is so heavy that it requires specialized units, hence the implementation of the RAU in each of the Compute Units in RDNA 2.
It is true that the new driver for Vulkan allows the use of Ray Tracing in old Radeon ranges and not only the RX 5000. We must not forget that the computational load of ray tracing is such that it is impossible for us to see certain rates of frames and performance in games that are minimally acceptable. So the utility of the update in the RADV would not be in the games and therefore we are in the same situation as when NVIDIA allowed the use of ray tracing in their GeForce GTX, where the performance plummeted.
What then is the AMD RADV update for?
Keep in mind that ray tracing is not only used in video games, but also in 3D scene modeling facing different applications, so we do not need a high process speed as the action does not occur in real time.
There are many 3D modeling programs that use Vulkan to render their scenes and the fact that users of an AMD Radeon graphics card had until now only the option to use the RX 6000 to render a scene with Ray Tracing caused a performance problem. on older AMD graphics cards as they had to through the central processor.
The new AMD driver will allow you to use your graphics cards for rendering, shortening the time to get results and increasing your productivity.