August 20, 2018 marked the day that computer graphics were reinvented. If you listen to the marketing of the brand new Nvidia RTX line of GPUs that’s certainly what they’ll have you believe.
The truth of the matter lies somewhere in between. The specs of the GeForce RTX line are considerably lower than many rumors. Despite this, it seems that the RTX line will be a major improvement from the previous generation 10 cards — and even the Titan XP in some cases.
Welcome Raytracing to the Nvidia RTX Family
Nvidia’s keynote began with a timeline video showing the beginning of computer graphics in 1979. It continued through the GeForce 256 in 1999 and then to the current day with Battlefield V. The video also showed off a couple games that feature the RTX line’s ace in the hole — raytracing.
Raytracing excels at light reflection, light refraction, and shadow production. Peter Bright has an easily digestible piece about it on Ars Technica if you’re interested in how raytracing works. The ability to render scenes with raytracing adds a ridiculous amount of realism. The best way to experience it is to show what it can do. There was a Battlefield V demo that looked like nothing I had seen before in gaming. My biggest takeaway from Nvidia’s event is how revolutionary raytracing will be for gaming.
Welcome Turing to the GeForce Family
All this fancy new tech is built on Nvidia’s new Turing architecture. Nvidia CEO, Jensen Huang, stated that the new architecture offers about eight times better performance over the previous generation Pascal hardware. Huang went into why raytracing is such a focus on the RTX line.
Up until now, Nvidia’s architectures were not quite up to spec to offer a considerable level of raytracing. It’s such a high requirement in terms of power that the rendering technique used to be exclusive to movie studios. Huang asserted that the RT cores in the Turing architecture enable pc gaming to take the step into the world of raytracing. He also hammered home the fact that Nvidia has been developing Turing for about a decade.
Welcome the Nvidia RTX Family
Huang made references to the leaks during the event and even joked that the new card was the GTX 1180. Shortly thereafter he also said that all the rumored specs were wrong. He was right, but unfortunately, things went in the wrong direction. You can see some of the rumored specs in my Nvidia Gamescom predictions article for reference. Even though it’s not what everyone was hoping for I’ll reserve judgment for the release of the RTX cards.
As I expected, the RTX 2070 and 2080 were revealed at this event. However, Nvidia surprised everyone by also revealing the RTX 2080 Ti at the same time. Both the 2070 and 2080 have 8GB of GDDR6 memory. The 2080 Ti tops both at 11GB. All three GPUs also have Founders Edition versions. The only difference is a higher possible boost clock. It seems that any one of these cards will be a massive upgrade from the 1080 Ti —even the reference 2070.
The Founders Edition cards will cost you an extra $100 over the price of reference cards (Nvidia). The exception is the 2080 Ti which is $200 over the base version. The pricing of the cards is about what was expected coming into the event. The 2070 will hit shelves at $499, the 2080 comes in at $699, and the juggernaut 2080 Ti steals your wallet at $999. The cards can be pre-ordered now and will release September 20.
If you missed the event, check it out here:
Which card are you interested in buying? Are these new GeForce RTX cards a bit too rich for your blood? Let us know in the comments or on any one of our social media channels and stick with CoG for more Gamescom coverage.
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Omar is an Editor at Culture of Gaming. He started his covering gaming back in late 2014 and has written for a handful of publications since then. Nintendo is his field of expertise, but he has been seen dabbling in PlayStation and PC gaming as well. Follow him on Twitter for dry humor and pictures of his cat, Jiji.