10 May 2019
Intel has announced that its forthcoming Xe graphics architecture will support hardware-based ray- tracing. Intel announced this new at FMX graphics trade show in Germany. Note the Xe is primarily designed for data centers but a report claims, there will be a second architecture for discrete graphics card aimed at the consumer market, just like Nvidia’s.
The Xe graphics architecture is going to be Intel’s low-to-high power graphics solutions and will scale from integrated graphics chips on CPUs, up to discrete mid-range and data center/AI cards.
Intel envisions that hardware-based ray tracing on its Xe architecture will be utilized for visual effects and animated films.
The support for the ray-tracing in Intel’s graphics cards will heat up the competition with Nvidia’s new Turing graphics architecture. Note that while Nvidia’s GeForce RTX graphics are targeted at consumer desktops, Intel’s XE graphics architecture is used primarily for data centers.
However, according to Tom’s Hardware, Intel will split the Xe graphics solutions into two distinct architectures, with both integrated and discrete graphics cards for the consumer market and discrete cards for the data center. The cards will come wielding the 10nm process and should arrive in 2020.
Intel, however, hasn’t given any indications if it will support ray tracing on consumer graphics but it did state in some previous interviews that it would bring unspecified new experiences to its graphics card.
Nvidia’s Turing graphics solutions also come both with and without ray tracing support, so it’s possible that Intel could adopt a similar model that could encourage customers to buy higher-priced models. Like Nvidia’s strategy, Intel might only offer ray tracing in the more expensive models.
In simple language, ray tracing is a rendering technique with a complex algorithm. It is said to be one of the most elegant and versatile algorithms that calculates the color of pixels by tracing the path that light would take if it were to travel from the eye through the virtual 3D scene. Now the fancier and the newest versions of ray tracing can create soft shadows, variations, or realistic scenes in animation films and in high-end games as well. It helps game developers to produce realistic reflections, refractions, and scattering effects, now in real-time as well.