Four years later and this technology still does not arouse interest

With the release of AMD’s RX 7900, the word Ray Tracing is on the lips of its detractors, since it is in this aspect that AMD’s graphics architectures continue to lose to NVIDIA’s. Although an improvement over the previous generation, the RX 6000, cannot be denied. However, this is not the only thing that concerns us, but also the two types of Ray Tracing in gameswhich is one of the reasons why ray tracing has not been standardized.

The fact that both the Xbox Series and PS5 use AMD’s RDNA 2 architecture as a graphics processor or GPU is a problem, especially due to its limitations and poor performance in Ray Tracing. A topic that we talked about in its day and that AMD itself has confirmed when talking about the news in the RX 7900 and, therefore, in the RDNA 3 architecture. However, the consoles are helping AMD to block adoption of ray tracing in games as much as possible.

Why are both types of Ray Tracing a problem?

When AMD released their RX 6000, Microsoft updated their DXR API to version 1.1 to add so-called Inline Ray Tracing. This does not mean a different type of ray tracing or a new and unknown technology. That is, the process remains the same, the big difference is that instead of doing it in the different stages that you can see defined in the following diagram:

What it does is unify the different shader stages into one large super-shader. The goal is none other than to simplify the creation of low-resolution, low-performance effects by eliminating instructions like jumps and loops in the process. At first it seems like a great idea, however, it changes the way Ray Tracing is coded and was done to cover the RX 6000’s shortcomings in Ray Tracing.

The problem is that market share rules, and on PC NVIDIA’s dominance is 3/4, so we find that on PC a large number of games are optimized for NVIDIA Ray Tracing, which leads to AMD have to rely on agreements with certain studios to optimize their games. In the end we have two types of Ray Tracing and we find specific cases such as Callisto Protocol or the already veteran Far Cry 6, games sponsored by AMD, which use Inline Ray Tracing and where the difference in performance is not that great, but which have had to be developed specifically with the architectures of AMD in mind.

The real underlying problem: patents.

The first to implement Ray Tracing on a conventional GPU and create a mixed system was not the people from NVIDIA with their RTX, but many years before by Caustic Graphics. Company that was bought by Imagination Technologies, which is the one that has a large number of patents in its hands.


The problem with the two types of Ray Tracing is that the so-called Patent Trolling is what has made AMD, NVIDIA and Intel have not reached the same conclusion to solve a common problem, since Imagination continues to have an important part of the advances under his power. From there those divergences that what they do is make the most difficult job difficult for developers. We are like at the beginning of the era of 3D graphics, where there were a thousand and one different APIs and where programming for one brand meant doing it carefully for others.

All for a matter of patents between brands, done in order to gain advantages over the adversary and that has not benefited the implementation of ray tracing in games at all. It will be 5 years soon and it seems that we will continue in the starting box.

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