GeForce 425.31 drivers bring DXR to the masses

So you're curious about this "RTX" thing but not curious enough to plonk down the money for an RTX-enabled graphics card that may not be a huge upgrade from your existing one. Never fear—Nvidia would like you to know that its latest GeForce driver (version 425.31) adds support for Microsoft DirectX Raytracing (DXR) to ten more graphics cards so you can enjoy the technology without needing an RTX card. You can check out the list of supported cards below. Oh yeah, the new drivers are also "Game Ready" for Anno 1800, in case you're into that.

Image: Nvidia

Here's the short summary of this list: basically every Nvidia GPU released in the last two years that is faster than the GeForce GTX 1060 6 GB model now supports DXR. That includes both desktop and laptop variants of the GPUs. Nvidia is careful to use the term "DXR" rather than "RTX". Obviously, these chips didn't magically sprout the RTX acceleration hardware their newer brethren have. Instead, they perform all the DXR operations on their regular old FP32 functional units.

Image: Nvidia

You're probably already thinking "dang, that must be slow," and you'd be right. The hit isn't as bad as you might be afraid, though. Nvidia's own numbers, as reproduced above, put a GeForce GTX 1080 Ti somewhere around the performance of an RTX 2060 when DXR is set to "Medium" in Battlefield V. That's a pretty big step down in frame rate, but it's still perfectly playable at most resolutions.

Image: Nvidia

Unsurprisingly, in raytracing-focused tech demos such as the Atomic Heart RTX demo, the Pascal cards can't even really produce playable results. GeForce RTX GPUs have the obvious advantage here, but Nvidia notes that Turing-architecture GPUs that lack the specialized RT and Tensor cores (such as the GTX 1660 cards) have an advantage over Pascal chips in DXR thanks to their side-slung INT32 cores. If you'd like see these demos in all their ray-traced glory for yourself, you can grab a few of them from Nvidia.

Image: Nvidia

Still, in actual games, it looks like those of us with properly-puissant Pascal processors can partake in some of the preeminent visuals so-proffered. While we probably wouldn't want to play Shadow of the Tomb Raider at less then an average frame rate of 25 FPS, note that Nvidia's data used the highest in-game settings along with the "high" DXR setting. Cranking those down a bit will probably improve performance to far more pleasant levels.

Besides the exciting proliferation of DXR technology, these drivers fix a few issues, as usual. ARK: Survival Evolved should work properly on RTX GPUs, and Ghost Recon Wildlands should stop crashing when you open the inventory menu. A blue-screen crash in The Witcher 3 has been resolved. Texture artifacting in The Evil Within 2 should be patched over. On the creator side of things, the Fabfilter plugin should no longer crash host applications, and Adobe programs should work correctly with SLI enabled. Finally, in what is surely the most wide-ranging fix of all time, Titan X users playing GTA V in stereo (3D) mode should no longer be greeted by an "out of memory" message.

Persistent issues include a problem with G-Sync refusing to engage when in Surround mode, the "Adaptive Sync (Half Refresh Rate)" 3D settings option not persisting after a reboot, and Ansel crashing in Shadow of the Tomb Raider. There's also still a problem hanging around where some multi-display PCs may suffer random desktop flicker. Similarly, some multi-monitor machines may suffer desktop flickering while playing videos on a secondary monitor. Neither of those issues affect me, thankfully.

Oh yeah, this driver is Game Ready for Anno 1800, too. Good luck on the Epic Store, guys!

Before you get too excited, remember that using DXR in any capacity with any hardware will require Windows 10 update 1803 or later. Hopefully you've been doing your updates. You can read the release notes here, or head over to Nvidia's download site to grab the new package. Be careful when you select your driver, as Nvidia now has the option to pick between standard and DCH driver packages. If you're already on a DCH driver it can be a pain to go back, so be wary of that choice.

Comments closed
    • crispysilicon
    • 8 months ago

    According to NV forum, what GTX gets is what GTX gets.

    [url<]https://forums.geforce.com/default/topic/1105845/geforce-rtx-20-series/[/url<] In other words, they have no interest in optimizing DXR on GTX.

    • confusedpenguin
    • 8 months ago

    I installed it. Took a penalty hit even with non raytraced games. I have a 1070 GTX with 8 gigs of vram. World of Warcraft use to run at a consistent 60 FPS due to monitor limitations. Now it drops into the 50s. I haven’t tried any raytraced games yet. Will probably just upgrade to an RTX card.

    • oldog
    • 8 months ago

    So why, pray tell, does GeForce Experience want to “optimize” Shadow of Tomb Raider on my computer by turning off RTX:DLSS (Ambient Occlusion = BTAO and RTX shadow quality medium)?

    BTW – My rig is running a GeForce RTX 2070 w/ an Intel i7-8700 to a Sammy CHG70 monitor (2560 x 1440 @ 100Hz).

      • LostCat
      • 8 months ago

      Somethings weird with it lately for sure, it wants my Just Cause 4 to be on Low settings with a 1070 on a 2600X. Riiiight…

    • MadMac_5
    • 8 months ago

    I grabbed the driver yesterday, and downloaded the Quake 2 Q2VKPT port that includes fully ray-traced lighting. On my GTX 1070 Ti, it sits around 30 FPS at 1280×720, sometimes going faster in darker areas and chugging pretty badly when there’s water visible (likely down in the 20 FPS range). I’ll do a benchmark with FCAT to get some more data soon, but it looks pretty good and plays about as smoothly as I remember it on my old ATI Rage Pro AGP card at 640 x 480 back in 1998; not only am I getting ray-tracing, I’m still getting a higher resolution than over twenty years ago!

      • sweatshopking
      • 8 months ago

      I couldn’t get it working, though I tried the same thing. Game would start levels wouldn’t load. They’d load if I used the old regular exe, but the new raytraced one refused.

        • MadMac_5
        • 8 months ago

        That’s quite odd! I unzipped the folder to c:\q2vkpt, copied only the .pak files to the baseq2 folder, and left the configuration files unchanged. I also avoided pressing F1 to view the objectives; doing that seems to corrupt the display pretty badly.

          • Laykun
          • 8 months ago

          Pressing F1 is actually a different render mode (presumably for debugging). It shows all the ray traced reflections for you to marvel at.

    • DavidC1
    • 8 months ago

    But the performance of those cards are with the blur filter, ahem, DLSS on!

      • stefem
      • 8 months ago

      Just the dark green graph, light green is with DLSS off, I thought people that read TechReport was able to correctly comprehend a chart…

    • Redocbew
    • 8 months ago

    [quote<]Be careful when you select your driver, as Nvidia now has the option to pick between standard and DCH driver packages. If you're already on a DCH driver it can be a pain to go back, so be wary of that choice.[/quote<] Thanks for the heads up. This is the first I'm hearing about DCH drivers. Looks like another attempt at forcing adoption of UWP.

      • sweatshopking
      • 8 months ago

      It’s an attempt at updating an old out of date and messy driver situation.

        • Redocbew
        • 8 months ago

        Making a mess comes with the territory when trying to abstract away the implementation details of the next layer down the stack. Drivers aren’t the only things which do that. They’re just the most well known to general consumers, and it’s always a messy job.

        The old trick of using NDISWrapper to run Windows wlan drivers in Linux comes to mind, but that’s not the intention behind this? Putting some kind of abstraction layer on top of a driver is unnecessary when there’s little to no chance you’ll be using the device in a different environment.

          • sweatshopking
          • 8 months ago

          Universal windows drivers allow companies to write once and deploy with any windows based machine. Windows is changing and this will lower costs and improve drivers if done right.

            • Redocbew
            • 8 months ago

            I have a feeling you already know this, but “universal drivers” is an oxymoron. The whole write once and deploy anywhere thing is exactly what people said about Java also when it was new. Writing kernel mode device drivers in Java continues to be a terrible idea to this day.

            By “any windows based machine” you’re including things other than desktop PCs, no?

            If yes, then a windows driver wouldn’t really be built for windows it’d be built for UWP, correct? The problem is we can’t use the same components everywhere regardless of form factor. We can’t put a 1080Ti in a tablet, and we can’t put a 35W CPU in a phone. Drivers for each of those devices still needs to be developed and tested independent of any others. I’m not sure what the point of this is if it doesn’t help us blur the lines between platforms.

            If no, then it makes even less sense, because its all the same environment anyway.

            • sweatshopking
            • 8 months ago

            it is everywhere, from hololens, mobile, arm, x86, etc.

            and sure, you don’t put a 1080ti in a tblet, but you can put a smaller more reasonable chip, you can also use modems across devices, digitizers, etc.

            while certain components are more specific, many aren’t. while some stuff will need to be significantly tested on each platform, many won’t.

            • Redocbew
            • 8 months ago

            Windows mobile is dead, and the resurrected version of Windows on ARM uses an x86 emulator, doesn’t it? I’m not sure if that’s just for userland stuff or if it covers kernel mode software as well though.

            I also wonder how many of those devices aren’t USB controllers, peripherals, or other well known devices which already have a driver that “just works”.

            • sweatshopking
            • 8 months ago

            Windows on arm CAN use an emulator for x86. Many native apps, such as Firefox are either available or coming natively. Many uwp apps already are compiled.

            Not sure either, but either way, uwp drivers generally seem preferable to me.

            • K-L-Waster
            • 8 months ago

            [quote<]Windows is changing and this will lower costs and improve drivers if done right.[/quote<] Emphasis on the "if done right" part.

            • sweatshopking
            • 8 months ago

            Absolutely why I included it.

    • Waco
    • 8 months ago

    I don’t know if you can call Anno an Epic exclusive when you can buy/run it from Uplay directly.

    That said, another one bites the dust…

    • homerdog
    • 8 months ago

    Love the Anno games. Also the digits in all those games always add to 9 (1701, 1404, 2070 etc).

    • Krogoth
    • 8 months ago

    Ngreedia strikes again! No worry, AMD will save us with GLUE-MAX rendering technology!

      • Neutronbeam
      • 8 months ago

      I think you’ve been hanging out with Chuckula on the back porch a little too much…

      • tay
      • 8 months ago

      Chuck hacked your account?

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