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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.

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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'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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> 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)
Vaidyanathan Subramaniam
Vaidyanathan Subramaniam - News Editor
I am a cell and molecular biologist and computers have been an integral part of my life ever since I laid my hands on my first PC which was based on an Intel Celeron 266 MHz processor, 16 MB RAM and a modest 2 GB hard disk. Since then, I’ve seen my passion for technology evolve with the times. From traditional floppy based storage and running DOS commands for every other task, to the connected cloud and shared social experiences we take for granted today, I consider myself fortunate to have witnessed a sea change in the technology landscape. I honestly feel that the best is yet to come, when things like AI and cloud computing mature further. When I am not out finding the next big cure for cancer, I read and write about a lot of technology related stuff or go about ripping and re-assembling PCs and laptops.