Remember about a month back when we told you that ray tracing was coming to those with non-RTX Nvidia cards? That day has finally arrived. With today's release of the 425.31 drivers, those on 1060 and higher cards can now give real-time ray tracing a spin.

Since all of these older cards lack the special hardware that helps to speed up DirectX Raytracing (DXR) in games, don't expect to have fantastic framerates. However, if you understand what you're getting yourself into, go nuts with it. Just make sure you have one of the following cards, have updated to the 425.31 Nvidia drivers, and enabled DX12 and DXR in the games you want to try.

Pascal
  • GTX 1060 6GB
  • GTX 1070
  • GTX 1070 Ti
  • GTX 1080
  • GTX 1080 Ti
  • TITAN X Pascal
  • TITAN Xp

Turing
  • GTX 1660
  • GTX 1660 Ti

Volta
  • TITAN V
There are some benchmarks you can download and test out if you don't happen to own any DXR enabled games just yet. These include the Star Wars RTX Reflections demo, the Atomic Heart RTX demo, and the Justice RTX demo.

Some tech sites already have some benchmarks available so that you can see what you can expect from your card of choice. You can check out ComputerBase (German) for some handy benchmarks. The graphs are still in English if you're worried about the language barrier. Nvidia also has some benchmarks to share on their article talking about today's expanded DXR release. I will share a couple of their benchmark graphs below for 1080p at Medium DXR and 1440p at Ultra DXR in Battlefield V.

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As you can see, there's a real disadvantage to not running an RTX card with the specialized hardware in DXR enabled titles. I honestly feel as though this is the exact result Nvidia wanted to show people. Give those on older hardware a little taste of DXR in order to entice them to make the jump to buying a new card to get better framerates with that technology.

I gave DXR a test before writing this news post today. I have an i7-6700K, GTX 1080 Ti, and 32GB of RAM. I had to enable DirectX 12 in the game before I could then also enable DXR. From there, I needed to restart my game for those changes to be applied. I dove back into the settings menu to change the DXR quality from the Low it defaulted to up to High. I did not touch any other setting from what I normally play at. All settings can be seen in the images below.

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One of the first things I noticed is the fact that the framerate in the main menu dropped from at or near 120fps (I cap my monitor at 120Hz) to anywhere between 30fps to 70fps with DX12 and DXR enabled. I was worried that the gameplay would perform similar but I hopped into a random Conquest server. It connected me to a near full, and half over already, round on Narvik. To my surprise, the framerates were north of 60 for pretty much the entire rest of the round. I say "pretty much" because there was one weird hitch that lasted about a second. Either that was a fluke, something to do with DXR, or something to do with DX12. I know for a lot of people, myself included, simply running in DX12 results in poorer or less ideal performance.

The next map was Arras and I saw similar results. Framerates were north of 60 at 1080p on my system on this map. I saw my character's reflection on a couple of cars and on building windows that were not yet destroyed. It was neat for all of ten seconds, but the impact on framerate just really isn't worth it for a few extra reflections. I'm probably either going to try out Low or Medium DXR later on or just disable it entirely and reclaim those 40-50 frames per second that DXR took away from me.

Now, there are also games that go beyond the simple reflections found in Battlefield V. Shadow of the Tomb Raider includes ray traced shadows. Meanwhile, games like Metro Exodus make use of ray traced global illumination and ambient occlusion. A full lighting system using DXR is going to have a very heavy impact on your system.

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So yeah, while these games are playable at these settings with High DXR, they will run well below 60fps most of the time. There is even an Ultra DXR setting that crushes framerates even harder. Keep in mind that this is just for 1080p. If you're fine with setting a 30fps cap and turning on DXR, go for it. If you're running at resolutions higher than 1080p, well... good luck. You can download the latest Nvidia drivers through the GeForce Experience or the Nvidia download page.

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