AMD graphics cards give Nvidia a run for its money in new ray tracing benchmark

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While Nvidia would like you to think that advanced ray tracing graphical effects are only supported by its graphics cards, a new benchmark proves that AMD’s rival GPUs can also handle ray tracing – in some cases doing a better job than Nvidia’s cards.

The new Crytech Neon Noir benchmark has been released, and Wccftech has tested a load of graphics cards to see how each GPU handles ray tracing. What’s interesting about the ray tracing tech used in the Neon Noir test is that its hardware agnostic.

The hardware-agnostic ray tracing effects in Neon Noir can be displayed with certain AMD cards – and even older non-RTX Nvidia cards, like the GTX 1080.

Getting results

As Wccftech’s tests revealed, the AMD RX 5700 XT did a great job at running the benchmark at 1080p at Ultra settings, averaging 81 frames per second (FPS). Not only is this a very respectable score, it beat Nvidia’s older (but still very capable) GTX 1080 graphics card. The AMD RX 5700 wasn’t too far behind either, with 68 frames per second, compared to the GTX 1080’s 70FPS.

When upping the resolution to 1440p, the RX 5700 XT hit 59FPS on average – beating the GTX 1080’s 41FPS and even scoring higher than the Nvidia RTX 2060 – which managed 48FPS.

This is notable as the RTX 2060 is one of Nvidia’s newer cards that can support ray tracing, thanks to its RT cores, which Nvidia has claimed is essential for displaying ray tracing effects.

As this new benchmark proves, that’s not the case, and if upcoming games using the Cryengine game engine support the platform-agnostic ray tracing tech, that will be a big blow to Nvidia, which is pitching ray tracing support as a key differentiator for its RTX GPUs compared to AMD’s devices (and even its older GPUs – got to get people to upgrade, after all).

Still, as the benchmark results show, if you want the best ray tracing performance, Nvidia’s cards are still the ones to get, with the RTX 2080Ti, RTX 2080 Super and RTX 2070 Super achieving the best frame rates.

While Nvidia still has the edge when it comes to ray tracing performance, it looks like you’re not confined to its latest cards if you want to experience the advanced lighting effects of ray tracing – despite what Nvidia wants you to believe. This is good news for all gamers, in our view.

Matt Hanson
Managing Editor, Core Tech

Matt is TechRadar's Managing Editor for Core Tech, looking after computing and mobile technology. Having written for a number of publications such as PC Plus, PC Format, T3 and Linux Format, there's no aspect of technology that Matt isn't passionate about, especially computing and PC gaming. He’s personally reviewed and used most of the laptops in our best laptops guide - and since joining TechRadar in 2014, he's reviewed over 250 laptops and computing accessories personally.