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AMD rumored to bring ray tracing support for current Navi GPUs in December

AMD could enable ray tracing via a Radeon Software update in December. (Source: PCGamesN)
AMD could enable ray tracing via a Radeon Software update in December. (Source: PCGamesN)
References to DirectX ray tracing were found in the latest AMD drivers indicating that AMD could be enabling ray tracing support for the RX 5000-series Navi GPUs with the release of the December update for Radeon Adrenalin Software. Although just a software fix for now, this could pave the way for hardware-accelerated ray tracing in the upcoming Navi GPUs based on RDNA 2.0.
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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.

'DXR Active' reference found in latest Radeon drivers. (Source: Komachi on Twitter)
'DXR Active' reference found in latest Radeon drivers. (Source: Komachi on Twitter)
AMD briefing partners at the GC Summit in China about upcoming features in Radeon Software. (Source: Weibo)
AMD briefing partners at the GC Summit in China about upcoming features in Radeon Software. (Source: Weibo)
AMD ray tracing roadmap. (Source: AMD)
AMD ray tracing roadmap. (Source: AMD)
 
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Vaidyanathan Subramaniam
Vaidyanathan Subramaniam - Managing Editor - 1358 articles published on Notebookcheck since 2012
Though a cell and molecular biologist by training, I have been drawn towards computers from a very young age ever since I got my first PC in 1998. My passion for technology grew quite exponentially with the times, and it has been an incredible experience from being a much solicited source for tech advice and troubleshooting among family and friends to joining Notebookcheck in 2017 as a professional tech journalist. Now, I am a Lead Editor at Notebookcheck covering news and reviews encompassing a wide gamut of the technology landscape for Indian and global audiences. When I am not hunting for the next big story or taking complex measurements for reviews, you can find me unwinding to a nice read, listening to some soulful music, or trying out a new game.
contact me via: @Geeky_Vaidy
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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2019 10 > AMD rumored to bring ray tracing support for current Navi GPUs in December
Vaidyanathan Subramaniam, 2019-10-13 (Update: 2019-10-13)