In recent years, NVIDIA GPUs have taken a leap forward in terms of the technology embedded in their graphics. We are talking about technologies like hybrid rendering which combines ray tracing and rasterization to improve graphics. The complete renovación de la parte geométrica del pipeline 3D gracias a los Mesh Shaders y los Amplification Shaders, todo ello sin olvidarnos de la capacidad de las nuevas tarjetas gráficas de poder ir más allá de su VRAM y acceder de manera directa al SSD NVMe instalado en the system.
All of these technologies necessitated the development of DirectX 12 Ultimate by Microsoft, both for games, most of them currently in development, and graphics engines can implement them for greater graphics fidelity and better performance in games. games.
Not all NVIDIA graphics fully support DirectX 12 Ultimate
Since DirectX 12 Ultimate is not a new version of DirectX 12 and therefore a superset of it, all GPUs compatible with DirectX 12 are in principle compatible with their Ultimate version. It should be taken into account that compatibility does not mean full support for all functions, as these must be integrated via the hardware.
Traditionally Microsoft has faced significant changes in the hardware world, when designing a new version of DirectX what it did was a clean slate. So the basis of it has been rewritten, but for them DirectX 12 is good enough not to want to bet on an improved version of it, but on an extended version and therefore in a superset of DirectX 12.
But support for the new API requires hardware capable of using it, and in the case of NVIDIA graphics, the RTX lines are the ones that have all the features needed to use all the features of DirectX 12 Ultimate. So we decided to list them all, one by one. Will your graphic be part of it? Let’s see.
Support for ray tracing in graphics in DirectX 12 Ultimate
The first of the technologies implemented in DirectX 12 is Ray Tracing and Ray Tracing and NVIDIA GPUs support it starting with the RTX 20 range. All this thanks to the inclusion of units that perform the intersection calculation. spokes called RT Cores. Each of them is a small microcontroller that performs this function in parallel with the rest of the traditional GPU computing units, using part of the total area and minimal consumption compared to traditional units that run the GPU. .
The benefit for games is that it improves graphical fidelity in all things indirect lighting, which is the type of lighting that occurs when light is reflected off an object. This encompasses such things as shadows, ambient occlusion, reflections on metal surfaces, and even the “transport” of light in a scene. Although its best novelty is that it allows to represent the nature of materials in a more realistic way, being able to represent how light affects them.
Beyond VRAM, using SSDs with DirectStorage
DirectStorage is one of the most important additions of DirectX 12 Ultimate, and it is a huge step forward, as it allows to have practically more VRAM on the GPU by being able to access the memory included in the NVMe SSD. This does not mean that the graphics will be rendered on top of the NAND Flash memory, which would be counterproductive for this type of memory and for the performance of the GPU. Rather, the key is to leave a section of the VRAM reserved as the cache of the NVMe SSD, which through the PCI Express interface copies the information to that part of the RAM to then be copied back to the part of the VRAM that uses the GPU for rendering.
This is something that could already be done, but we needed the involvement of the CPU which added excessive load on the system central processor and also huge latency in the process. Which is bad when it comes to rendering graphics. With DirectX 12 Ultimate, NVIDIA graphics with full API support can go beyond the VRAM installed on the motherboard and can access the NVMe SSD connected to the same PCI Express hub to which they are both connected.
NVIDIA graphics cards with full support for DirectX 12 Ultimate
NVIDIA’s RTX 20 line of graphics cards were one of the greatest advancements in NVIDIA history. The inclusion of RT Cores gave access to the implementation of graphical algorithms based on Ray Tracing, Tensor Cores to the use of algorithms based on neural networks and therefore for artificial intelligence. All this without forgetting Mesh Shaders and Variable Rate Shading, technologies that were first released on NVIDIA GPUs.
These characteristics have been reinforced with the appearance of the RTX 30 range based on the GeForce Ampere architecture, which extends these capacities, in particular in the face of Ray Tracing where the computing power of RT Cores has doubled compared to the previous generation.
The same can be said of the RTX 20 Mobile and the RTX 30 Mobile, as they are based on the same architecture as their desktop counterparts with no cuts of any kind, they are also NVIDIA graphics with support for DirectX 12 Ultimate. and without limitations in the support of said API of any kind.
That said and finally, we leave you a list of all NVIDIA cards with full support for DirectX 12 Ultimate:
- NVIDIA RTX 20: GeForce RTX 2060 (SUPER), GeForce RTX 2070 (SUPER), GeForce RTX 2080 (SUPER), GeForce RTX 2080 Ti.
- NVIDIA RTX 30: GeForce RTX 3050 (Ti), GeForce RTX 3060 (Ti), GeForce RTX 3070 (Ti), GeForce RTX 3080 (Ti), GeForce RTX 3090.
If you own any of the NVIDIA graphics cards we just listed, don’t worry, they’re future-proof and fully compatible with the most advanced gaming API available for PC today.
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