Feeds

Nvidia to acquire ray tracing startup

Render bender

The essential guide to IT transformation

Nvidia in the past has jeered Intel's heavy investments in ray tracing as a successor of rasterization for graphics rendering — but it's always stopped short of dismissing the technology completely.

That logically led many to assume Nvidia was developing its own ray tracing technology on the side. As it turns out, those bets were pretty well placed.

Nvidia will soon announce its acquisition of a ray tracing startup called RayScale. The firm is spun from the University of Utah, and will help Nvidia develop a mergence of ray tracing with traditional rasterization techniques.

"I don't believe in ray tracing versus rasterization," said Nvidia's CTO David Kirk during a reporters' preview of the acquisition yesterday. "I believe in ray tracing with rasterization."

According to Kirk, while ray tracing today is neither appropriate nor cost-effective for all graphics rendering, it beats rasterization for certain effects such as accurate reflections and indirect lighting. And it's gangbusters at making cars look shiny.

In fact, RayScale's proof-of-concept graphic at the pre-announcement was an intensely shiny CG car in front of an Nvidia jet.

However, Nvidia believes that because ray tracing is so resource-intensive, for the time being it's better utilized as a crutch for rasterization and other techniques rather than as a replacement.

"The people with the horsepower for ray tracing are making movies," said Kirk. "So you'd think if it was the best, they would be using ray tracing exclusively."

Kirk said movie studios today instead use a grab-bag of rendering techniques like rasterization, ray tracing, and radiosity.

It will still be some time before we start seeing games using ray tracing and rasterization, according to Kirk.

"We're not at the point where CPUs and GPUs can trace enough rays with ray tracing," said Kirk. "It will be the art of choosing carefully where to use the rays."

Further details on the acquisition — including the price tag aren't available quite yet. Look for an official announcement from Nvidia in the coming days or weeks. ®

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

More from The Register

next story
So, Apple won't sell cheap kit? Prepare the iOS garden wall WRECKING BALL
It can throw the low cost race if it looks to the cloud
Apple's iWatch? They cannae do it ... they don't have the POWER
Analyst predicts fanbois will have to wait until next year
Super Cali signs a kill-switch, campaigners say it's atrocious
Remote-death button bad news for crooks, protesters – and great news for hackers?
Now that's FIRE WIRE: HP recalls 6 MILLION burn-risk laptop cables
Right in the middle of Burning Mains Man week
AMD unveils 'single purpose' graphics card for PC gamers and NO ONE else
Chip maker claims the Radeon R9 285 is 'best in its class'
Apple promises to lift Curse of the Drained iPhone 5 Battery
Have you tried turning it off and...? Never mind, here's a replacement
Barnes & Noble: Swallow a Samsung Nook tablet, please ... pretty please
Novelslab finally on sale with ($199 - $20) price tag
Will It Blend? Maybe. BlackBerry’s secret comeback weapon
The Desktop PIM buddy: A 1990s idea finally done right?
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Scale data protection with your virtual environment
To scale at the rate of virtualization growth, data protection solutions need to adopt new capabilities and simplify current features.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?