Nvidia announces the Turing architecture and its first ray tracing GPUs

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The Turing GPUs overhaul Nvidia's current model with some new tricks, including features added to the Volta GPUs for AI and data centers.

The company's eighth generation of GPUs was revealed by chief executive Jensen Huang at an annual event in Vancouver, where he said that the new architecture will "fundamentally changes how computer graphics will be done, it's a step change in realism".

"Quadro RTX marks the launch of a new era for the global computer graphics industry", Bob Pete, NVIDIA Vice President for Professional Visualization, said in a statement.

The biggest selling point of the chips is an improvement in so-called "ray tracing", or the ability for the chip to simulate how light rays will bounce around in a visual scene. That should lead to more interactivity between VFX artists and photorealistic iterations of their work, as well as to speedier rendering of VFX for film and television.

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Nvidia held a keynote at Siggraph today, and the star of the show was the company's new Turing architecture.

Turing also features an update to SMs, which is a collection of CUDA cores, similar to how an AMD CU is a collection of streaming processors (or cores).

The Quadro RTX Server will be a combination of the new RTX GPUs and Quadro Infinity software.

The company also unveiled its initial Turing-based products - the NVIDIA® Quadro® RTX™ 8000, Quadro RTX 6000 and Quadro RTX 5000 GPUs - which will revolutionize the work of some 50 million designers and artists across multiple industries. The Tensor Cores will provide speeds of up to 500 trillion tensor operations per second.

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"Thirty years later we can put a Cray supercomputer behind every pixel", Huang said, announcing the world's first real-time ray-tracing GPU, the Quadro RTX. These include DLAA - deep learning anti-aliasing, which is a breakthrough in high-quality motion image generation - denoising, resolution scaling and video re-timing. The new software will be made available to the public at the beginning of 2019.

Ray tracing is what makes shadows and light render more realistically in a computer-generated scene but it's a hard effect to obtain in real-time as it requires substantial computing power. The platform includes application programming interfaces for ray tracing, AI, rasterization and simulations. "Autodesk and NVIDIA are working together to deliver these advancements to the market and we look forward to the new tools and capabilities Quadro RTX will deliver to our customers".

Ray Tracing, however, isn't the only breakthrough technology that the new Quadro RTx chips boast of. Unlike many online publications, we don't have a paywall or run banner advertising, because we want to keep our journalism open, without influence or the need to chase traffic.

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