Nvidia’s launch events draw a lot of coverage, as evident from their RTX lineup this year. Therefore tech enthusiasts make it a point to thoroughly test their products. But the RTX launch presented its own difficulty, especially in the context of benchmarks.
Inclusion Of RTX
Ray-Tracing has been the highlight of this year’s launch. Quoting Nvidia Ray-Tracing can be summarised as “Ray tracing, which has long been used for non-real-time rendering, provides realistic lighting by simulating the physical behavior of light. Ray tracing calculates the color of pixels by tracing the path that light would take if it were to travel from the eye of the viewer.”
This required a hardware shakeup on Nvidia’s side, therefore we saw the inclusion of Tensor (AI) cores in addition to existing CUDA cores. All of this wasn’t customary and RTX cards this year saw higher prices.
Given the obvious cost increase with RTX, reviewers need to take Ray-Tracing as a value factor when benchmarking. But at launch, there were no tools, neither games to benchmark RTX performance of any of the cards.
This made value assertion really hard for reviewers given the absence on concrete numbers. GamersNexus in their review of the RTX 2080 stated “And so we’re left with RTX OFF at present, which leaves us with a focus primarily upon “normal” games, thermals, noise, overclocking on the RTX 2080 Founders Edition, and rasterization. We don’t review products based on promises. It’s cool that nVidia wants to push for new features. It was also cool that AMD did with Vega, but we don’t cut slack for features that are unusable by the consumer.”
Now, there’s Battlefield 5 with RTX support, but it’s still a very small pool for testing. The RTX implementation in BF5 still has quite a few bugs and the performance hit seems unrealistic. This gives the need for a synthetic benchmark tool, giving users and reviewers a better endpoint performance analysis.
Enter 3DMark Port Royal
UL is bringing the first ray tracing benchmark to its 3DMARK suite in January. It will support any GFX card with DirectX RTX support, so its open for future AMD cards too.
UL state in their press release “As well as benchmarking performance, 3DMark Port Royal is a realistic and practical example of what to expect from ray tracing in upcoming games— ray tracing effects running in real-time at reasonable frame rates at 2560 × 1440 resolution.”
So no 4K support, but that’s a given how taxing RTX can be. UL state further “3DMark Port Royal was developed with input from AMD, Intel, NVIDIA, and other leading technology companies. We worked especially closely with Microsoft to create a first-class implementation of the DirectX Raytracing API.”
A lot of viewers would have really appreciated if this was available at launch but better late than never. You can see it first hand on December 8th, at the GALAX GOC Grand Final. It will come to 3DMark on January 8th.