by Mark Priscaro

NVIDIA now has the high-octane fuel ready at the pump that software developers need to transform their applications.  The NVIDIA OptiX ray tracing engine is now available for fueling, er, downloading.

As the world’s first interactive ray tracing engine, OptiX leverages the massively parallel power of NVIDIA GPUs for maximum performance and scalability. In providing a programmable ray tracing pipeline, the OptiX engine gives developers great flexibility to accelerate their ray tracing applications, bringing previously unseen levels of interactivity to a wide range of uses. These include auto styling, design visualization and visual effects. It’s also ideal for non-rendering disciplines, such as optical design, acoustical design and collision analysis.

Jeff Brown, NVIDIA’s GM for Professional Solutions, explains why OptiX is invaluable: “This opens the door to a new level of interactive realism. Ray tracing’s inherent parallelism makes it a perfect fit for GPU computing. The OptiX engine makes it easy for developers to exploit that power to create an exciting new class of applications. It enables critical design tasks — such as examining reflections, refractions and shadow – to be performed now in real-time.”

The OptiX engine, which has been beta tested for the past six months, drastically shortens the development time required to create ray tracing apps by supplying state-of-the-art acceleration approaches that allow developers to concentrate on compelling features – not just performance.

OptiX apps will realize substantial performance gains as NVIDIA GPUs continue to advance. How? Well, NVIDIA’s current GPU architecture nearly doubled OptiX performance over its previous generation.  And tests on our upcoming Fermi GPU architecture show performance will greatly increase again.

Also, while today’s release requires NVIDIA’s professional solutions of Quadro FX and NVIDIA Tesla, the OptiX engine will soon expand its support to include NVIDIA GeForce GPUs with Fermi, as forthcoming performance will make ray tracing possible in consumer applications.

The best part?  The OptiX ray tracing engine is available free of charge and can be downloaded from the NVIDIA Developer Zone.

Want to see interactive ray tracing in action? Interactive ray tracing examples can also be downloaded and run using NVIDIA Quadro FX professional graphics solutions or NVIDIA Tesla computing solutions.

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  • A Concerned Developer

    Does it work on ATi too? (Even if a bit more slowly?)
    And how fast is ‘faster’?

  • Simon J Stuart

    I too am interested in the answers to the questions asked by “Concerned Developer”. Personally I’d be inclined to believe that OptiX is specific to the NVIDIA architecture, and therefore not cross-compatible with ATi hardware (though I could be wrong).
    And “faster” could mean ANYTHING (like 1 nanosecond for every 10,000 frames faster than conventional existing Raytracers.)… so it’d be great to see some benchmark figures for comparrison’s sake.

  • Nobody

    LoL ! I like the small black-white picture on the right side “intel´s inside”
    That´s why: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Larrabee_(GPU)
    Maybe you a little bit faster, that sounds good for me!
    God job guys!

  • Mark Priscaro

    OptiX currently requires the CUDA architecture for operation, so it does not work on AMD cards, nor only on the CPU.
    For a detailed analysis of possible GPU ray tracing performance see the following paper at http://www.nvidia.com/object/nvidia_research_pub_011.html

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