AMD rumored to bring ray tracing support for current Navi GPUs in December
The December update for AMD Radeon Software could very well bring support for ray tracing on Navi GPUs. Popular leakster Komachi discovered references to 'DXR Active' in the latest Radeon Adrenalin drivers, indicating current gen Navi GPUs would be getting support for DirectX ray tracing (DXR).
Normally, AMD releases a big driver update just in time for the holidays and speculation is running rife that the December update to Radeon Software will finally enable DirectX ray tracing support. At the AMD GC Partner Summit that was recently held in China, attendees were told that Radeon Software would be getting some new features in December and DXR support is expected to be one of them.
We do not yet know how AMD plans to use DXR. Actually, AMD drivers have been shown to have latent DXR features since July — only that they have not been enabled them so far. Perhaps, the company was saving it for the big December update. Although DXR does not really require dedicated cores for ray tracing, we all know how the technique can bring even powerful cards such as the RTX 2080/2080 Ti to their knees. Moreover, only a handful of titles support any semblance of ray tracing and DLSS at the moment. That being said, enabling DXR support in Radeon Software could lay the foundation for native hardware ray tracing in future Navi GPUs based on RDNA 2.0 (think Navi 20 / Navi 23).
Microsoft and Sony have both confirmed that the semi-custom Navi silicon in the Xbox Project Scarlett and the PlayStation 5 will have hardware-accelerated ray tracing support so it is very well possible that the next gen Navi GPUs will finally let some rays shine through on the PC side as well. But whether AMD would allow for performance penalties in current gen Navi RX 5000-series cards that were not advertised as having ray tracing support in the first place remains to be seen.
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