Nvidia’s RTX GPUs Can’t Do Ray Tracing Without The October Windows Update

Nvidia’s RTX GPUs Can’t Do Ray Tracing Without The October Windows Update

Thinking of grabbing a flashy new Nvidia RTX-series card for the benefits of real-time ray tracing? Well, you can absolutely do that. But before you do, there’s something you should know first.

Nvidia’s RTX 2080 Ti and RTX 2080 cards should start landing in users’ hands over the next couple of weeks, bringing the promise of 4K 60 fps gaming if you’re prepared to pay $1200 or $1900 for the power.

Nvidia's RTX 2080 Ti, RTX 2080, RTX 2070: Australian Price And Release Date

Earlier this year, Nvidia unveiled a showcase of real-time ray-tracing using Phasma and some Stormtroopers from the Star Wars franchise. At their conference in Gamescom this year, they showcased the same ray-tracing demo - but instead of running off four Volta-powered GPUs, it was powered by a single Turing-powered GPU.

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But there’s a small problem: namely with real-time ray tracing.

The few games that will support real-time ray tracing out of the box, as opposed to the other features like DLSS, won’t be able to do so immediately. Ray tracing requires support on the OS side as well, namely through Windows ML and DirectX Ray Tracing — and both of those are due to be patched into Windows 10 next month.

The October update has been available to members of the Windows Insider program for a while, although I’d recommend not going through that process unless you’re conscious about backing up everything frequently (and messing around with the registry and software when things go wrong).

So if you are looking at the RTX cards, or you’ve already got one pre-ordered, just keep that in mind. There’s nothing wrong with your card. Or the games. Real-time ray tracing is there — you just have to wait for Windows 10 to enable it.


  • Hope performance for Ray Tracing has jumped up considerably. Leaks ages ago said that even the 2080ti couldn’t do 1080p @ 60fps on some games with RT on.

    • DICE and 4A had both only had access to the hardware for two weeks before Gamescom, so neither had really had a chance to do much in the way of optimisation or anything. Neither of those demos even takes advantage of the Tensor cores at all.

      While I wouldn’t be surprised if a perfect 4K60p is impossible with the 20×0 series while RTX is active, I would expect that they’ll do fine at 1080p once developers can fully optimise their software for the cards.

      • That Star Wars demo on a 2080ti at this moment is running around these figures:
        1080p +60fps
        1440p ~48fps
        2160p (4K) ~30FPS
        It will probably run better with time, but this is just a tech demo, each game will be different with their optimization. Specially this first wave of ray-tracing in games will have lower quality than lets say games that come out in 1 year while still using these same GPUs.

  • With he 2080 being $1400 and only performing as well as a $900 1080Ti I won’t be racing to the store.
    I think I’ll stick with the 1080 until whatever replaces the 2080 cones along.

    • Meanwhile, Umart has dropped prices again and now has a (basic) 1080 for <$600.

      Likelihood of me skipping this generation is very high indeed.

  • I honestly was holding out for a 2070 (preferribly in a G1 gaming model).

    But like others I think I might wait for a (say) 3070 to come out.

    nVidia has really dropped the ball here and is becoming more hype than substance.

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