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October 12, 2023

Does Ray Tracing Lower FPS in Video Games?

Until now, ray tracing has been only used in animated movies. This technology is used to add realistic looking lighting in videos but was too costly to use in video games. But now with the latest graphics cards from Nvidia and AMD bringing RTX technology to their products, it’s possible to bring ray tracing to a lot more games and get the same immersive experience without having to sacrifice performance. However, is the tradeoff worth it? Read on to find out.

Ray tracing is a graphics rendering technique that simulates how light behaves in real-life scenes. It uses a virtual camera to “shoot” rays of light into a virtual scene and tracks them as they hit or miss geometry within the scene, mimicking the way that a light bounces off different objects in a real-life setting. It can improve image quality by adding things like shadows, reflections, soft shadows, refraction, and ambient occlusion.

But, the downside to ray tracing is that it takes up more CPU and GPU resources than traditional rendering methods. This can lead to a noticeable drop in frame rate, especially in first-person shooter games where high frame rates are critical for survival.

Fortunately, new image upsampling technologies have been developed that reduce the load on graphics cards and boost performance back up. But, even then, the performance cost of ray tracing is often not worth the extra image quality for most gamers. So, if you want to play games with ray tracing enabled, you’ll need a top-of-the-line graphics card and a powerful processor.