Nvidia brings a little RTX DirectX ray tracing to GTX graphics

But just a taste to get you hooked.

Joshua Goldman Managing Editor / Advice
Managing Editor Josh Goldman is a laptop expert and has been writing about and reviewing them since built-in Wi-Fi was an optional feature. He also covers almost anything connected to a PC, including keyboards, mice, USB-C docks and PC gaming accessories. In addition, he writes about cameras, including action cams and drones. And while he doesn't consider himself a gamer, he spends entirely too much time playing them.
Expertise Laptops, desktops and computer and PC gaming accessories including keyboards, mice and controllers, cameras, action cameras and drones Credentials
  • More than two decades experience writing about PCs and accessories, and 15 years writing about cameras of all kinds.
Joshua Goldman
2 min read
Andrew Hoyle/CNET

If you've got GeForce GTX graphics in your desktop or laptop, Nvidia's got an update you're going to like. 

The graphics chipmaker announced Monday at GDC 2019 it will enable DirectX ray tracing (DXR) on some of its older graphics cards with its Pascal architecture via a driver expected in April. DXR is one of the major features of its newest RTX GPUs using its Turing architecture announced last year. Ray tracing reproduces how light behaves in the real world improving shadows and reflections to give games a more photorealistic look and immersive feel.   

The GTX cards supported include: 

  • Titan XP
  • Titan X
  • GTX 1080 TI
  • GTX 1080
  • GTX 1070 TI
  • GTX 1070
  • GTX 1060 6GB

The Volta-based Titan V and Turing-based GTX 1660 and 1660 TI are also supported. But, before you get too excited, know that the cards will only support basic ray-tracing effects and low ray counts. The level of support will be dependent on the game, the graphics card model and game resolution, said Justin Walker, product manager for GeForce desktop GPUs. 

Watch this: See the first Nvidia RTX gaming laptops in action

GTX cards will be able to handle basic single effects such as shadows or reflections. More complex lighting or multiple, simultaneous effects like the global lighting used in Metro Exodus will require an RTX card, Walker said. DLSS (Deep Learning Super-Sampling), another RTX technology, isn't supported either, which uses cloud-based AI to simulate games at higher resolutions and teaches your GPU how to mimic that level of detail.

Although the chipmaker has expanded into data centers and automotive, GPUs for gaming and other intensive graphics tasks are still its primary source of sales. Bringing DXR to its older GTX cards will introduce more gamers to what's possible, even at a low level, with Nividia's RTX graphics cards for desktops and laptops.   

Get ready for the first wave of Nvidia RTX gaming laptops

See all photos

Nvidia also announced Integration of real-time ray tracing into Unreal Engine and Unity game engines as well as Nvidia GameWorks RTX, which are tools and rendering techniques to help developers add ray tracing to games.