Real-time ray tracing may be the hottest buzzword of the moment in high-end graphics. The folks at UL Benchmarks (formerly Futuremark) want you to be able to test how big of a hit ray-traced effects will cause when you buy the graphics cards of today and tomorrow with its upcoming 3DMark Port Royal benchmark.
UL says Port Royal is the world's first ray-tracing benchmark. It's based on Microsoft's DirectX Raytracing API, and it'll work with any graphics card that supports that technology. Right now, as you're probably aware, that list is limited to Nvidia's RTX cards, but the future's bright for well-lit scenes. Tantalizingly, the company notes that "as with any new technology, there are limited options for early adopters, but more cards are expected to get DirectX Raytracing support in 2019." We'll be curious to see just whose cards those are.
The company says Port Royal uses ray tracing to improve the look of reflections and shadows. According to UL, the benchmark is a "realistic and practical" sample of what future games could look and work like, and says that the test runs at "reasonable frame rates" at 2560×1440. The maker goes on to say that it's worked closely with Microsoft on its implementation of DXR, and that Port Royal was developed with input from Intel, AMD, Nvidia, and "other leading technology companies."
More details of Port Royal will be unveiled at Galax's GOC Grand Final overclocking contest in Vietnam on December 8, and the company says the benchmark will appear in the 3DMark suite come January 2019.