While there has been more buzz lately with regards to AMD and their chips thanks to the company’s partnership with Valve on the Steam Deck and what that could mean for portable PC gaming. Meanwhile in the green camp, NVIDIA is not holding back on widening their field as well with their showing at GDC 2021. One of the first announcements and showcases made for the big developer event this year is what NVIDIA managed to achieve with RTX, and how they will utilize one of their big acquisitions last year.
Speaking at GDC 2021, NVIDIA confirmed that RTX and its companion technologies will be hitting the ARM platform, a confirmation that will have huge ramifications going forward for mobile computing. For one, this is one of the first big developments coming from NVIDIA’s $40 billion acquisition of ARM in September of last year. This confirmation also brings up when and where consumers will see the RTX logo pop up; Chromebooks, which are currently the most popular portable computers to include ARM chips, will most probably be the first to enjoy this leap in technology.
DLSS and co. running on a Mediatek chip
NVIDIA’s announcement at GDC came with two demos that showcase the power of RTX on an ARM-based device, as proven by two demos: Wolfenstein: Youngblood, a first-person shooter from developer MachineGames, and The Bistro, an open-source demo from the Open Research Content Archive. The demos were run real-time on a MediaTek Kompanio 1200 processor, accompanied and boosted by a GeForce RTX 3060.
In order to achieve this on ARM, NVIDIA revealed that they ported several SDKs to make it work. This includes Deep Learning Super Sampling or DLSS, the most popular and the one that utilizes AI tech to boost frame rate and sharpen overall resolution. RTX Direct Illumination or RTXDI was used for the dynamic lighting effects to give the demos a much more realistic look.
For faster rendering of high-fidelity images, NVIDIA used their Optix AI-Acceleration Denoiser or NRD. The RTX Memory Utility or RTXMU was also present to optimize graphics memory for better performance, while the RTX Global Illumination or RTXGI was included for realistic light bounces in real-world environments.
Although it’s still far off in the future, it would be interesting to see how RTX on ARM will develop, especially with regards to its applications for the rapidly rising popularity of Chromebooks. Hand-in-hand, this alone could bring affordable PC gaming to a lot more people with systems that do not need to be heavily dependent on expensive hardware.