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  Re: Ray-tracing, the PC's next killer-app? 
 
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Sander Sassen Aug 20, 2008, 09:22am EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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So when Intel gets around to selling those multi-core Larrabee CPUs, how long do you think it'll take before we can start using our NVIDIA and ATI cards as paperweights? When looking back at the '90s and the advent of the 3Dfx Voodoo Graphics software based rendering didn't last too long really.

Cheers,


Sander Sassen
Editor in Chief - Hardware Analysis
ssassen@hardwareanalysis.com
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TamTheBam Aug 20, 2008, 10:03am EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: Re: Ray-tracing, the PC's next killer-app?

I've heard a lot of this lately about Ray-Tracing. I've no idea what it's about.
I'm going to look this up as soon as i get back home from work.

....I'm back, but only as a part-timer... :)
FordGT90Concept Aug 20, 2008, 10:24am EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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Edited: Aug 20, 2008, 10:28am EDT

 
>> Re: Re: Ray-tracing, the PC's next killer-app?
My guess is it will be another decade before RTRT in games is widely available. It won't be on CPUs either--it will be on a next generation of video cards that support rasterisation and RTRT. GPUs are already exceeding 1000 GFlop/sec (GTX 200 series). A quad-core 5000 series Xeon only manages ~80 GFlop/sec. RTRT and rasterisation are all about the flops...

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Vince Andrews Aug 20, 2008, 12:23pm EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: Re: Ray-tracing, the PC's next killer-app?
I really hope that i live to see this new dawn. It will really pave the way forward.

Should i start saving my pennies now for the mega pricing.

Vince

Dave Van Amburg Aug 20, 2008, 02:00pm EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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Edited: Aug 20, 2008, 04:03pm EDT

 
>> Re: Re: Ray-tracing, the PC's next killer-app?
The big hurdles for ray tracing would seem to be processing costs and how rapidly these come down and then algorithms.

The fact that Intel and the guys are starting to worry about Moore's Law may actually turn out to be a boon to the budget conscious. It is less expensive to add cores to processor arrays than to add power to a core. This may result in tremendous processor power becoming 'cheaper faster' for 'the rest of us'.

However, the processing power available to us already is phenomenal when you consider that for under $10,000 I can assemble a desktop using an Intel dual QuadCore motherboard and 4 ATI 4800 video cards resulting in a system that has more teraflops than many, if not most, of the large frame supercomputers in use today!

The problem is that this processing power is largely wasted due to software limitations in both operating systems and applications. Improvements here are born mostly of demand by 'consumers'. And the largest consumer market today for high performance graphics is the gaming segment.

Ray tracing software today is fairly mature in it's current iteration leaving most performance improvements to hardware development.

What is needed is a market demand that will force development of new graphics algorithms which will form the next major leap in graphics performance. The combination of ray tracing and teraflop desktop computers could very well create this market demand.

Very exciting times we live in........

Jose Garcia Aug 20, 2008, 04:43pm EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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Edited: Aug 20, 2008, 04:44pm EDT

 
>> Re: Re: Ray-tracing, the PC's next killer-app?
Hey!!! I remember ray tracing from high school architectural drafting classes. Back then, our teacher had equipped the classroom with 486's and pentium computers. If memory serves me right, the processing time to Ray trace a 3d scene in autocad would be done over night a 486. On a Pentium system, It would take about 4hrs. to ray trace that same scene. So with the scalable power of new multicore cpu'sand video cards, I can really see where you are going with this Sander. You're right, it shouldn't be too long before this becomes a reality.
Great article & great job bringing up this great point!! Cheers,

Jose A. Garcia
Southern California

TamTheBam Aug 20, 2008, 05:59pm EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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Edited: Aug 20, 2008, 06:00pm EDT

 
>> Re: Re: Ray-tracing, the PC's next killer-app?
FordGT90Concept said:
My guess is it will be another decade before RTRT in games is widely available.....


I can't agree with that. Technology's not creeping up these days, it's leaping up.
10 years is too far away for how fast technology is developing. PS3 can do some form
of ray tracing, and that's old technology. ATi's got a few demos of Ray-tracing, and
it's smooth as hell. Ray-tracing (even tho i don't know much about it - but i have been
reading up on some of it tonight) is closer than you think than 10 years.

....I'm back, but only as a part-timer... :)
Meats_Of_Evil Aug 20, 2008, 06:53pm EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: Re: Ray-tracing, the PC's next killer-app?
I think 10 years is about right. Game developers have barely scratched DX10 potential and I don't see any upcoming visually stunning games coming anytime soon. I think I read on Toms Hardware that Intel was dropping the idea of having a video card that could render RT in real time, I don't remember the exact explanation but I think it had to do with the amount of power needed to render it in real time or the lack of software development that would be implemented if they'd indeed use the technology for games.

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FordGT90Concept Aug 20, 2008, 09:08pm EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: Re: Ray-tracing, the PC's next killer-app?
It'll probably take in the peta- or exa- flops in order to perform RTRT in modern games. We simply aren't even close to that right now. RTRT basically means it has to calculate every single ray hitting every single surface in no less than 1/30th of a second. At this time, it is a pipe dream.

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Jose Garcia Aug 20, 2008, 11:00pm EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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Edited: Aug 20, 2008, 11:09pm EDT

 
>> Re: Re: Ray-tracing, the PC's next killer-app?
Quote: "Right now it's currently a pipe dream"

Ya, in the near term, (1-3yrs) I agree. It's been 13 years since that experience I mentioned above. I found this quote to add to it from

http://www.cgarchitect.com/vb/3472-raytrace-settings.html

"My scene weighing in at 2.4 million polys was rendering at 5.40 mins,
after i set the face limit to 10,000 (my trees were 8,500 polys each)
i got the rendering time down to 3.50 mins
with the big improvement in speed, at the raytrace engine setup stage."

To me, it seems that at the current rate it will take another 10 years to get to the point where real time ray tracing is being used as an AFFORDABLE 3d gaming technology. But, I honestly believe that the processing power is almost here, to take us there in about 5 years. Imagine an affordable platform with 8 cpu's, each with 16 cores? Jesus, that would be AWESOME!! But like someone mentioned beforehand, the software is the problem.

I wonder what John Carmack thinkgs of this topic.

FordGT90Concept Aug 20, 2008, 11:37pm EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: Re: Ray-tracing, the PC's next killer-app?
I don't think ray tracing is at all a software problem as the same equations have effectively been used for over a decade. The problem is what ray tracing is--it's like real physics formulas compared to simplified physics in games. Rasterisation is the same thing as compared to ray tracing. It is the pinnacle of what is known in the scientific community but that pinnacle comes with severe performance penalties. The hardware simply needs to catch up. Why it is taking so long to catch up is because gamers are expecting better graphics which means rasterisation keeps on improving at a rate quicker than RTRT technology. Every year, scenes get more complex and rasterisation is growing with it; however, RTRT is really an exponential problem where the more complex the scenes get, the less reasonable RTRT becomes. This is why it is taking so long to adapt it--hardware is keeping up with rasterisation and not RTRT. Effectively, there would have to be a quantum leap forward in hardware in order to put rasterisation to bed. The current technology just over the horizon that can do this is photon processors. We need to see excessive graphic power before RTRT can really make it's way into the market. As such, I think it is still a very long way off (again, pipe dream). It just isn't practical.

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Shawn Langley Aug 21, 2008, 09:41am EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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Edited: Aug 21, 2008, 09:45am EDT

 
>> Re: Re: Ray-tracing, the PC's next killer-app?
Alot of you probably have already seen this but for those that missed it, i believe this to be this RT ray tracing is it not?

http://www.amd.com/us-en/Corporate/AboutAMD/0,,51_52_15438_151...edir=cin01
scroll down half way to the video that says

"ATI icon “Ruby” stars in the first-ever Cinema 2.0 experience.

Rendered in real-time and interactive, this is a brief video from the first Cinema 2.0 demo, premiered by AMD in San Francisco on June 16, 2008. The interactive demo was rendered by a single PC equipped with two "RV770" codenamed graphics cards powered by an AMD Phenom™ X4 9850 Processor and AMD 790FX Chipset. The full demo shows cinema-quality digital images rendered in real-time with interactivity. Check back later this summer for a video of the full Ruby Cinema 2.0 demo."


I think that sums up everything, but when do i get to have a go? 8)

Edit:
http://tlundmark.blogspot.com/2008/07/amd-to-realtime-ray-trac...inema.html
Just a little more eye candy

Having voices in your head is normal. Listening to them, common. Arguing, acceptable. However, when you lose the argument, you're in trouble.
FordGT90Concept Aug 21, 2008, 10:15am EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: Re: Ray-tracing, the PC's next killer-app?
If it were ray-tracing, they'd be saying it in every other sentence. It is most likely rasterized on DirectX 10.1.

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angryhippy Aug 21, 2008, 03:38pm EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: Re: Ray-tracing, the PC's next killer-app?
http://tlundmark.blogspot.com/2008/06/video-shows-ray-traced-q...-wars.html

Check this out. I doubt this is gonna take 10 years. He's an Intel researcher. He's claiming 90FPS at 1280x720 for a Quake Wars 4 demo. Some interesting video showing what they are doing. A lot better than that AMD scorpion whatever that fuzzy thing was, from the other link. This looks sweet.

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Jose Garcia Aug 21, 2008, 06:33pm EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: Re: Ray-tracing, the PC's next killer-app?
That was great video. The only thing I didn't see or hear were the system specs needed for that.

TamTheBam Aug 21, 2008, 07:02pm EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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Edited: Aug 21, 2008, 07:09pm EDT

 
>> Re: Re: Ray-tracing, the PC's next killer-app?
FordGT90Concept said:
If it were ray-tracing, they'd be saying it in every other sentence. It is most likely rasterized on DirectX 10.1.



NO Ford it IS Ray-Tracing! You're not always right. And stop being so pessimistic
on this subject! And take a look at Payton's link! And take a CLOSER look at Shauns
links as well.

....I'm back, but only as a part-timer... :)
Shawn Langley Aug 21, 2008, 07:46pm EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: Re: Ray-tracing, the PC's next killer-app?
I'm pretty sure for the ATI one it says on the page i posted near the top it was two current gen ATI cards and an AMD Phenom?

Also i have been reading nvidea did a similar thing but with a car demo but i was less impressed i think they used 2x quadro's if memory serves, but that article specifically stated real time ray tracing ill go look for it again later but i'm sure google is your friend!

And a finally point i'm sure i saw something on the POV-Ray site they'd produced a beta version that you can have a tinker with to do your own real time but like i said thats a faint memory from a month ago when i was tinkering with a rendering farm/Beowulf i put together.

Having voices in your head is normal. Listening to them, common. Arguing, acceptable. However, when you lose the argument, you're in trouble.
angryhippy Aug 21, 2008, 08:47pm EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: Re: Ray-tracing, the PC's next killer-app?
Jose Garcia said:
That was great video. The only thing I didn't see or hear were the system specs needed for that.

I was looking for that info too. I couldn't find part 2 of that clip.

Get Hippied out!
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Me at work: http://tinyurl.com/3nvncb3
My rig! A Blah blah.With a blah blah! SWEET! http://tinyurl.com/4yujmff
Da Beast! http://tinyurl.com/3sapr2b
i5 3570K 4.6GHz http://snipurl.com/26r3cot
Win7-8 Pro 64bit
FordGT90Concept Aug 21, 2008, 10:10pm EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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Edited: Aug 21, 2008, 10:15pm EDT

 
>> Re: Re: Ray-tracing, the PC's next killer-app?
Tam the Bam said:
NO Ford it IS Ray-Tracing! You're not always right. And stop being so pessimistic on this subject! And take a look at Payton's link! And take a CLOSER look at Shauns links as well.

Does AMD every claim that it is ray traced? No.


angryhippy said:
I was looking for that info too. I couldn't find part 2 of that clip.

My guess is it was done on a Larrabee chip so he couldn't say anything about it. It makes sense that Intel is getting involved in discreet graphics to introduce the hardware that is capable of acceptable levels of RTRT. If it turns out that Larrabee is designed specifically for RTRT then yeah, RTRT is only a few years off but it will take a long time for developers to get off DirectX.

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Gerritt Aug 21, 2008, 11:20pm EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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>> Re: Re: Ray-tracing, the PC's next killer-app?
Ray Tracing has been around for almost longer than the computer.
A recent paper on the differing calculation approaches and gains in efficiency can be found here: http://graphics.stanford.edu/papers/metro/metro.pdf
By using the metropolis lighting algorithm (first postulated in 1953), the rendering can be done with higher efficiency than with linear approaches.
The Quakewars: Enemy Territory RTRT demo was accomplished with 16 cores, a 4x4core Tigeron system running 2.93GHz.

That's still one heck of a lot of processing power. I started doing Raytraces on a DEC 11/34 in the 80s. It took this computer about 12-24 hours to complete a frame of moderate complexity in 640x400x256. The program I used there was ported to the Commodore Amiga platform, and I was able to render the same scripts/scenes on a 68030 powered unit running 25MHz in about 4-12 hours. On my 486DX3 100MHz machine, the render times stayed about the same due to inefficiencies in the intel infrastructure. Using the same script interpreter I used back then, I'm able to do the same in under a minute on my present systems, though with much higher pixel and color density of output. The fastest and highest quality output was produced by SGI IRIS Workstations and Onyx Cluster servers (scalable to 128 processors) during the 1990s, This is primarily what movie studios used for their CGI then, and rented time on them to the tune of $100k+/week or even day.

I honestly believe that going PURE rasterized or PURE raytrace rendering are the wrong approach for the PC gaming HW avialable now. I think a hybrid of VECTOR graphics for the underlying matrix and Raytrace for surfaces/physics, may be the best approach for now. Ray tracing can give an extraordinary level of detail, but still relies on fractulization of geometric shapes, so a vectorized underlayer could reduce the computational overhead by several logrithmic levels, by reducing the number of iterations necessary for a "valid" display.
This Hybrid approach could be supported by a new software/gaming engine within the next couple of years, if not sooner.

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(A rough road leads to the Stars)
We all know what we know, and everyone else knows we are wrong.
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rob temp Aug 28, 2008, 05:06pm EDT Reply - Quote - Report Abuse
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Edited: Aug 28, 2008, 05:29pm EDT

 
>> Re: Re: Ray-tracing, the PC's next killer-app?
real time raytracing in games was possible several years ago. Check out 'the' demoscene for real time ray tracing if you are a disbeliever. If RTRT were to 'take off' for gaming you can bet your last $ it would move very quickly to custom hardware and the processor would be 'freed' from the burden of doing any processing, doh!
*rant* However, we're talking about the 'games industry' here which is innundated by hyper-mediocre comp-sci failures graduates (for whom simple vector arithmetic poses great challenges) and technical directors who are essentially as technically competant and dynamic as slugs. Even if we were to be presented with raytraced marvels, what would the games be? yet another moronic enthralling MMO? or something with the 1/10th the gameplay of street-fighter. */rant*
A far better use of processing (once the neccessary programming horsepower is available), whether on the MPU or GPU would be accurate real time radiosity, which offers a far greater boost to realism than rayracing by itself. BTW, raytracing only becomes 'worth it' when combined with a decent radiosity technique anyway.

cheers,
Rob.

PS To qualify myself to rant on about things in my rant and to invite as much heat as poss: I've worked on several AAA console & PC titles as well as many non AAA titles (AAA, what a farsical concept! AAA='cretinous masses will believe the hype n' buy it') I have (IE past tense) devloped and published my own computer games titles too whilst simultaneously wangling a doctorate in one of the top 3 most brain swelling disciplines. Ahh yeah, i also wrote a RTRT'er that would raytrace a typical quake scene at>20FPS, not particularly optimised.
wow, didn't i have alot of tiem to waste today :O

PPS i don't know u, but grats on a cool site Sander, i presume it's yours, i just arrived here today after reading a reply from you on diyaudio :) I wish i'd had the patience & staying-power to produce such a good place on the web.


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