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Yes, it is possible to use ray tracing without an RTX graphics card. Ray tracing is a rendering technique that can be implemented using hardware with any GPU above the Nvidia 20-Series. Or with software in older GPUs, no matter what the hardware setup is.
However, the performance of ray tracing will depend on the hardware capabilities of the system. It may not be practical to use ray tracing on a system without a dedicated graphics card or other specialized hardware. That being said, NVIDIA’s RTX graphics cards are specifically designed to accelerate ray tracing calculations. Most consider it the best choice for real-time ray tracing.
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If you are wanting to use ray tracing for real-time rendering, an RTX graphics card would likely be the best choice. If you are only hoping to use ray tracing for offline renderings: For example for creating pre-rendered graphics or animations. Then you may be able to use ray tracing on a system without an RTX graphics card. Although the rendering times may be longer.
Can I use ray tracing with GTX?
Yes, it is possible to use ray tracing with a GeForce GTX graphics card. NVIDIA released a Game Ready Driver back in April 2019. This allows gamers with GeForce GTX 1060 6GB and higher GPUs to test drive basic DirectX Raytracing (DXR) effects.
These effects are not as fully featured as those available on GeForce RTX graphics cards, which are specifically designed to accelerate ray tracing calculations. They do, however, allow users with GeForce GTX graphics cards to experience some of the benefits of ray tracing.
Does Ray Tracing hurt FPS?
It can do yes. When a game demands ray tracing it adds quite a load on your graphics card, which is why Nvidia’s cards are specifically engineered (with RTX) to deal with it in an efficient way.
It’s also why AMD graphics cards aren’t as good as Nvidia cards in situations where Ray Tracing is in use. However, ray tracing isn’t a widespread requirement in games, and AMD is closing the gap in terms of capabilities for this particular technology.
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Keep in mind that the performance of ray tracing on a GeForce GTX graphics card will depend on the specific model and the hardware capabilities of the system. It may not be practical to use ray tracing on a system with a lower-end GTX graphics card or on a system with limited hardware resources.
In conclusion, you don’t need ray tracing to experience the beautiful design of ray tracing-optimized video games. However, to enjoy it at its best, you would need at least an RTX 20-series or above.