What is ray tracing and what video cards is it available on?

What is ray tracing and what video cards is it available on?


When we read the reviews of new video games, we often come across the term Ray tracing when it comes to graphics, even if there are actually few users who know exactly what it is for and why it has become so important to evaluate the graphical goodness of a game. . Although late the deadline Ray tracing is a complex and difficult technology to explain However, in simple terms, we can summarize its operation in simple and easy-to-understand words, so that any user can understand why its use in next generation games has become so important.

In this guide we will show you what is ray tracing and we will also show you the video cards that support it, so that we can immediately activate this feature as soon as we launch the game that involves the use of technology (usually well highlighted in the reviews or in the preview tab of the chosen product.


    Ray tracing guide

    Ray tracing is difficult to explain, but its operation must be absolutely investigated to understand what advantages it brings and why it is advisable to always leave it active in the games that support it (net of the graphics card we have). If we don't have a compatible graphics card we will also show you which models we can buy to get ray tracing in PC games.

    What is ray tracing?

    Ray tracing is a technology that works on optical geometry to reconstruct the path that light makes, following its rays through interaction with surfaces. Real light is reflected off all surfaces and reaches our eye, which interprets it as light and colors; In a video game, this path must be precisely calculated using an algorithm, to recreate the effects of light and shadow in the most realistic way possible; currently the best algorithm to recreate lights and shadows close to photorealism uses ray tracing when rendering the 3D image.

    With active ray tracing, the shadows are highly detailed and the illuminated objects (in any light) are truly spectacular, which makes the most accurate and beautiful graphics in the game especially with high resolutions (4K UHD).

    The downside of ray tracing is its impact on the performance of any graphics card- Working with ultra-realistic light and shadow requires a very powerful GPU (perhaps equipped with a chip dedicated only to ray tracing), a lot of video memory space and high power consumption. If we decide to activate ray tracing, we will often run into a drop in overall performance, which will inevitably require a minimum setting before you can find the right compromise.

    Schede video with ray tracing

    Were we intrigued by the quality of the graphics with active ray tracing? If our video card is recent enough (2019 at least), it should support ray tracing without a problem, just check your chosen game settings (usually available as a dedicated item (RTX or similar) or is activated with a high graphics setting or High-end). Does our video card not support ray tracing? We can fix it right away by choosing one of the tabs below.

    If we want to focus on an NVIDIA card to take advantage of ray tracing, we recommend the Gigabyte GeForce RTX 3070, available on Amazon for less than € 1000.

    On this video card we find the second generation Core RT, a chip dedicated to ray tracing that guarantees simultaneous shading and photorealistic lights, for a new level of performance for this type of technology. In addition to specific optimizations for ray tracing, we also find an improved cooling system and an automatic overclocking system, which automatically increases the frequency of the GPU when more computational calculations are required (such as when we activate ray tracing).

    If we want to take advantage of ray tracing with an AMD video card, we recommend that you focus on SAPPHIRE NITRO + AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT OC, available on Amazon for less than € 2000.

    With this card we will be able to take advantage of AMD's advanced ray tracing, managed through the integrated high-speed CU cores (there is no dedicated chip like in NVIDIA but there is a large number of miniprocessors capable of generating all the graphic components). If we want cheaper solutions, we invite you to read our guide. The best video cards for PC.

    Do game consoles support ray tracing?

    So far we've talked about PC video cards, but if we shift the focus to living room consoles, which ones are compatible with ray tracing? How are things now PS4 and Xbox One (previous generation consoles) ray tracing is not supportedWhile PS5 and Xbox Series X support ray tracing through the implementations provided by AMD cards (since both use a modified version of the graphics chip present in the latest AMD video cards).

    If we want to benefit from ray tracing without having to buy a garish PC gaming station (even above € 1200) just get hold of one of the two next-gen living room consoles and it pushes the graphics settings to the maximum (in games where there is a graphics quality selector available). For more information on the topic of PS5, we suggest you read our guide How is the PS5? analysis and guide of the new Playstation.


    Ray tracing can truly revolutionize modern gaming graphics, much more than just upscaling or enduring HDR adoption: being a complex and advanced algorithm, it will take time to integrate into all games, but with it we will get closer. to true photorealism.

    Doesn't our PC support ray tracing? In this case we will have to carry out important updates in addition to the video card; to know more we advise you to read our guides Hardware requirements and specifications for playing video games on your computer mi The Most Powerful PC Ever - Today's Best Hardware Parts. If, on the contrary, we want to play PC games on television (instead of the console), we suggest you read our study in depth. How to play PC games on TV.


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