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AMD & Ray tracing question

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Xtreme Barton

Jan 17, 2004
So im rusty and just rolling off the couch back into the game ..

my understanding of video cards today is if you are into Ray Tracing then go Nvidia otherwise go AmD . Nvidia outperforms amd by a decent margin when comparing benchmarks with Ray Tracing enabled

So my question for the AMD guys is AMD's Ray Tracing quality the same as Nvidia?
and the card just has a hard time performing or is it slower and also bad quality?
I have a Radeon RX 6800XT, which is basically AMD's gen 1 ray tracing. There is no point to even enable it on my card due to its lack of performance.

The AMD 7000 series is only gen 2 RT, which is supposed to be similar in performance to the nvidia 3000 series RT. Currently, the upper end 4000 series gen 3 ray tracing cards are the only ones that can use RT without a pretty large performance hit.
The way I see it is yes, Nvidia has the advantage in Ray Tracing if you want raw performance and FPS in RT Games (assuming that is what your playing). That said if you look at frames per dollar AMD and Nvidia are about the same.

Outside of Cyberpunk most games they tested showed AMD in the same value range in RT, so if you are a light RT gamer and only play maybe one or two games, and the rest are raster games, AMD offers more value over all because its raw raster performance is much better.

If ALL your games are RT, then Nvidia offers more value, if you also add on professional applications like CAD/Adobe/Cuda then again Nvidia adds more value.

Me... I game on my gaming PC, I work on my work PC. I have Quadro/x5000 cards in my work computers. In my gaming PC its AMD because that offered me the best value AND frame rates.
It's my personal point of view, but I think that RT is overrated in general. People talk about it on the web like it is something important, but in reality, still barely anyone uses it (looking at what cards are the most popular). I feel it's more like a marketing tool to help increase graphics card sales. Still, high cards or those that can actually use RT and other high details at a higher display resolution are only a few on the market, and prices start at about $1k.

As I remember in multiple comparisons on the web, the RT quality on AMD and Nvidia is slightly different, but it's hard to notice. There are some YT videos with comparisons with a split screen (usually as a part of some other tests, so it's not so easy to find it). It's like comparing XBOX vs PS5 quality. In theory, it's a bit different, but you can't tell when you play a game. It doesn't feel worse on any card. The main difference is the performance.
As far as I know the RT quality is near enough the same between them, if you look at it in isolation.

A secondary impact is to get better performance you'll almost certainly be using upscaling. On AMD their FSR implementation is noticeably worse than nvidia's DLSS. In Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth I only get around 45fps at 4k highest, native rendering on my 4070. I went through DLSS3, FSR3, XeSS (upscaling only, no frame generation) and actually found XeSS to be the best looking. Well, more precisely, had fewest artefacts. In comparison DLSS had some flickering distant fine lines, and FSR had that as well as fizzing hair on characters. I saw FSR have that same problem in Forspoken too.

As for if RT is a thing, that ship sailed long ago. It is happening. It is not going away. We're seeing console titles with RT baked in. As in, you can't turn it off. It is only a matter of time when they come to PC too. Unfortunately the low performance of consoles and AMD means it is not a great or full featured RT implementation, but still better than nothing. Seeing screen space reflections in game isn't great and we need to move on.

I've been tracking Steam Hardware Survey stats over the last year. The Dec. 2023 data had at least 48% of GPUs as RT era (RTX series + RDNA2+). Jan results should be out and I'll have a look later. We're so close to breaking the 50% mark.
Ray tracing is definitely better on nVidia but have a look at what games you want to play and what difference RT makes I was interested in CP 2077 but decided against it as it seemed very subtle compared to the performance hit. Just be aware you're not gonna be looking at graphics comparable to the 2001 'The Lord of the Rings' movie...