IT LOOKS LIKE ray-tracing might be the happening thing in 2019, as Intel's Xe discreet graphics cards look set to offer support for the rendering technique.
That's according to Jim Jeffers, Intel's senior principal engineer and senior director of advanced rendering and visualisation, who prematurely boasted that ray-tracing is coming to the Xe GPUs, for what would appear aimed at professional use.
"I'm pleased to share today that the Intel Xe architecture roadmap for data centre optimised rendering includes ray tracing hardware acceleration support for the Intel Rendering Framework family of API's and libraries," said Jeffers.
That doesn't exactly spell ray-tracing for whatever Intel does in the consumer graphics card arena. But given the way tech trickles down from the data centre world to the PC, there's a good chance that an Intel GPU for PC builders could come with ray-tracing.
Given the headline feature of Nvidia's latest GeForce RTX cards is ray-tracing, it wouldn't be surprising if Intel also had a chomp at the cherry when it comes to high-end rendering.
And with AMD also looking to get in on the ray-tracing action with its next-gen Navi graphics architecture, at least through providing the chipset for Sony's PlayStation 5, it looks like Intel can't ignore ray-tracing if it's going to properly break into the discrete graphics card market.
With no hard information to back up any of this, there's still a chance that ray-tracing could be limited to Intel's data centre GPUs only.
As such, we will likely need to wait until 2020 before we get a proper impression of exactly what Intel has in store for consumer or enthusiast Xe graphics. But Intel's roadmap has them slated for some point next year, so we haven't got too long to wait. µ
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