AMD hints at ray tracing in the future

AMD Navi
Image credit: TechRadar

AMD has hinted that it's going to start working on ray tracing in the future, during the Bank of America Merrill Lynch 2019 Global Technology Conference. But, of course, these discussions will happen after AMD Navi hits the streets. 

Senior VP of Marketing, HR and Investor Relations Ruth Cotter spoke during the conference, saying that she's "not going to steal Lisa's thunder on the live cast on Monday", referring to the E3 2019 keynote where more Navi information will be shared by AMD CEO Lisa Su.

At E3, AMD is going to go into more detail about AMD Navi, and the RDNA architecture powering it, rather than diving into ray tracing as Nvidia has with its Turing architecture. This all but confirms that ray tracing won't be an active feature of AMD Navi, but we've heard speculation that it will be included in the Navi 20 GPUs rumored for 2020. 

So what?

At the time of writing, despite all of the hype around Nvidia's RTX technology, only three titles actually use it: Metro Exodus, Shadow of the Tomb Raider and Battlefield V, with Quake II RTX serving as sort of a tech demo. Nvidia clearly has the upper hand when it comes to ray tracing tech, but is it really necessary for AMD to jump on the train right now?

Well, RTX adoption is slowing down, with Nvidia's non-RTX GTX 1660 Ti making the fastest gains in its Turing portfolio. With Navi, it looks like AMD is trying to compete with the likes of the RTX 2070 when it comes to compute power, but without the ray tracing.

And, now that we've seen rumors that AMD is getting ready to introduce five AMD Navi graphics cards, we could see AMD put out an entire lineup of graphics cards, appealing to folks that see ray tracing as a gimmick.

We don't know exactly what AMD Navi is going to be capable of, or what it will cost. But, if AMD is able to offer better or equivalent performance in games at a lower cost, we could start seeing Team Red take the GPU market by storm like it did with desktop CPUs earlier this year. 

Then again, Nvidia has teased something "Super" for its GeForce graphics cards, rumored for an E3 2019 reveal, so we'll just have to wait until the giant gaming event next week to see what will happen in the graphics card scene.

Via PCGamesN

Bill Thomas

Bill Thomas (Twitter) is TechRadar's computing editor. They are fat, queer and extremely online. Computers are the devil, but they just happen to be a satanist. If you need to know anything about computing components, PC gaming or the best laptop on the market, don't be afraid to drop them a line on Twitter or through email.