In the run up to today’s event at Gamescom, nVidia has teased us with the name of their new card with their recent #BeForTheGame campaign. A few days ago a video gave hints that the card would not be named the GTX 1180 as expected but pointed towards the name RTX and the numbers 20 and 80 and today nVidia confirmed the new series with the launch of the RTX 2080Ti, the RTX 2080 and the RTX 2070 graphics cards. New cards are always met with some fanfare, particularly when there is a significant step in architecture but I’ve not seen anything quite like the hype, anticipation and presentation of the RTX cards. nVidia’s event at Gamescom today felt more like the launch of a new console generation rather than a new piece of hardware that for most sits hidden away inside their PC case even if for gamers its a significant and often most costly part of their gaming rig.
The new cards will be based on the same ‘Turing’ architecture as their recently announced Quadro RTX Workstation cards used for such things as creating effects in the film industry and will bring real time ray tracing for the first time to a GPU. The presentation started off with a video showing significant dates in computer graphic history, from the birth of CGI in 1963 to the first animated hand in 1972 before moving on to films that made use of computer graphics such as Star Wars, Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan, Tron, Jurassic Park, Terminator 2, The Abyss with James Cameron talking about huge render times before moving on to show footage from 3D games such as Virtua Fighter from 1993 and 1996’s Tomb Raider and Quake from the following year. The presentation went on to chart nVidia’s history in the GPU market with the launch of the RIVA TNT cards in 1998 and the GeForce 256 a year later before speeding on through a series of game clips and charting the rest of the GeForce series of cards bringing us up to the present day.
nVidia founder and CEO Jensen Huang took to the stage looking like some sort of rock star in his large leather jacket. He kicked off with a joke by welcoming the crowd to the launch of the GeForce GTX 1180 before getting down to explaining the issues in the past rendering realistic lighting effects and going into detail of how this new card would improve lighting effects with the help of a rendered scene behind him with various light sources and a mix of materials from reflective to matt. nVidia’s technology has taken Moore’s law and multiplied it by a factor of 10 such is the pace of development in the GPU industry and this new series of cards is six times more powerful than the current top of the line GeForce 1080Ti. The Turing architecture is 10 years worth of development and their biggest leap in performance since 2006.
Now thats all well and good and very in-depth as he discussed ray tracing and ambient occlusion and showed off a very impressive scene showing the difference of ray tracing over three globes in a room but – can it run Crysis? (readers of a certain age will remember this question). Well..yes, yes it can! What gamers really want to know though is how will this affect the games I play? nVidia showed a lot of tech demo’s but also showed how their new technology will improve games such as Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Battlefield V and Metro Exodus. You can pre-order the 2080Ti and 2080 cards at nVidia’s web-site although be quick as they are sure to be in limited supply and after nVidia’s presentation their web-site had so much traffic it often timed out and at one point the 2080Ti was listed as being out of stock but if you were lucky enough to pre-order the cards will be shipping September 20th.