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Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang took the wraps off the company’s latest graphics cards today — the consumer-focused GeForce RTX 40 Series of graphics processing units (GPUs).
The series for gamers and creators features the flagship chip, the RTX 4090 GPU, with up to four times the performance of its predecessor.
These chips and graphics cards are the first GPUs based on the new Nvidia Ada Lovelace architecture. Huang promised massive generational leaps in performance and efficiency, saying it represents a new era of real-time ray tracing and neural rendering, which uses AI to generate pixels.
“The age of RTX ray tracing and neural rendering is in full steam, and our new Ada Lovelace architecture takes it to the next level,” said Huang during the GeForce Beyond: Special Broadcast at the company’s fall GTC event. “Ada provides a quantum leap for gamers and paves the way for creators of fully simulated worlds. With up to 4x the performance of the previous generation, Ada is setting a new standard for the industry.”
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Huang showed off a video dubbed Racer X that showed toy cars racing around a room with amazing shadows and lighting. Huang said Ada Lovelace is a massive leap over the previous generation.
“Ada, right off the bat, provides about 2X performance improvement on today’s games,” said Matt Wuebbling, global head of Nvidia GeForce marketing, in a press briefing. “That’s pretty unheard of in an architecture launch. This is our biggest leap ever. And then there is DLSS3, which is the AI component of it.”
He said the Racer X video that showed off the simulation capabilities of the GPU with about a 4X improvement.
“Racer X is a simulation,” Huang said. “Racer X is running on one single GPU.”
DLSS 3 generates entire frames for faster game play
Huang also announced Nvidia DLSS 3 — the next revolution in the company’s Deep Learning Super Sampling neural-graphics technology for games and creative apps.
The AI-powered technology can generate entire frames for massively faster game play. It can overcome CPU performance limitations in games by allowing the GPU to generate entire frames independently. The AI can predict what kinds of pixels to fill in faster in a moving scene.
The technology is coming to the world’s most popular game engines, such as Unity and Unreal Engine, and has received support from many of the world’s leading game developers, with more than 35 games and apps coming soon, Nvidia said.
- Additionally, the RTX 40 Series GPUs feature a range of new technological innovations, including: Streaming multiprocessors with up to 83 teraflops of shader power — 2x over the previous generation.
- Third-generation RT Cores with up to 191 effective ray-tracing teraflops — 2.8x over the previous generation.
- Fourth-generation Tensor Cores with up to 1.32 Tensor petaflops — 5x over the previous generation using FP8 acceleration.
- Shader Execution Reordering (SER) that improves execution efficiency by rescheduling shading workloads on the fly to better utilize the GPU’s resources. As significant an innovation as out-of-order execution was for CPUs, SER improves ray-tracing performance up to three times and in-game frame rates by up to 25%.
- Ada Optical Flow Accelerator with 2x faster performance allows DLSS 3 to predict movement in a scene, enabling the neural network to boost frame rates while maintaining image quality.
- Architectural improvements tightly coupled with custom TSMC 4N process technology results in an up to 2x leap in power efficiency.
- Dual Nvidia Encoders (NVENC) cut export times by up to half and feature AV1 support. The NVENC AV1 encode is being adopted by OBS, Blackmagic Design DaVinci Resolve, Discord and more.
New ray-tracing for immersive games
For decades, rendering ray-traced scenes with physically correct lighting in real time has been considered the holy grail of graphics. At the same time, geometric complexity of environments and objects has continued to increase as 3D games and graphics strive to provide the most accurate representations of the real world, Nvidia said.
Achieving physically accurate graphics requires tremendous computational horsepower. Modern ray-traced games like Cyberpunk 2077 run over 600 ray-tracing calculations for each pixel just to determine lighting — a 16x increase from the first ray-traced games introduced four years ago.
The new third-generation RT Cores have been enhanced to deliver 2x faster ray-triangle intersection testing and include two important new hardware units. An Opacity Micromap Engine speeds up ray tracing of alpha-test geometry by a factor of 2x, and a Micro-Mesh Engine generates micro-meshes on the fly to generate additional geometry. The Micro-Mesh Engine provides the benefits of increased geometric complexity without the traditional performance and storage costs of complex geometries.
“Nvidia engineers pushed technology on every front,” Huang said.
RTX Remix and AV1 Encoders
The RTX 40 Series GPUs and DLSS 3 deliver advancements for Nvidia Studio creators. 3D artists can render fully ray-traced environments with accurate physics and realistic materials, and they can view the changes in real time, without proxies.
Video editing and live streaming also get a boost from improved GPU performance and the inclusion of new dual, eighth-generation AV1 encoders. The Nvidia Broadcast software development kit has three updates, now available for partners, including Face Expression Estimation, Eye Contact and quality improvements to Virtual Background.
Nvidia Omniverse — included in the Nvidia Studio suite of software — will soon add Nvidia RTX Remix, a modding platform to create stunning RTX remasters of classic games. RTX Remix allows modders to easily capture game assets, automatically enhance materials with powerful AI tools, and quickly enable RTX with ray tracing and DLSS.
RTX Remix has been used by Nvidia Lightspeed Studios to reimagine Valve’s video game Portal, regarded as one of the best video games of all time. Advanced graphics features such as full ray tracing and DLSS 3 give the game a striking new look and feel. Portal with RTX will be released as free, official downloadable content for the classic platformer with RTX graphics in November, just in time for Portal’s 15th anniversary.
“We created an Omniverse application called RTX Remix,” Huang said.
The GeForce RTX 4090 and 4080 GPUs
The RTX 4090 is the world’s fastest gaming GPU with astonishing power, acoustics and temperature characteristics. In full ray-traced games, the RTX 4090 with DLSS 3 is up to 4x faster compared to last generation’s RTX 3090 Ti with DLSS 2.
It is also up to two times faster in today’s games while maintaining the same 450W power consumption. It features 76 billion transistors, 16,384 CUDA cores and 24GB of high-speed Micron GDDR6X memory, and consistently delivers over 100 frames per second at 4K-resolution gaming. The RTX 4090 will be available on October 12, starting at $1,600.
The company also announced the RTX 4080, launching in two configurations. The RTX 4080 16GB has 9,728 CUDA cores and 16GB of high-speed Micron GDDR6X memory, and with DLSS 3 is 2x as fast in today’s games as the GeForce RTX 3080 Ti and more powerful than the GeForce RTX 3090 Ti at lower power.
The RTX 4080 12GB has 7,680 CUDA cores and 12GB of Micron GDDR6X memory, and with DLSS 3 is faster than the RTX 3090 Ti, the previous-generation flagship GPU. Both RTX 4080 configurations will be available in November, with prices starting at $1,200 and $900, respectively.
Where to buy
The GeForce RTX 4090 and 4080 GPUs will be available as custom boards, including stock-clocked and factory-overclocked models, from top add-in card providers such as Asus, Colorful, Gainward, Galaxy, GIGABYTE, Innovision 3D, MSI, Palit, PNY and Zotac.
The RTX 4090 and RTX 4080 (16GB) are also produced directly by Nvidia in limited Founders Editions for fans wanting the Nvidia in-house design.
The GeForce RTX 40 Series GPUs will be in gaming systems built by Acer, Alienware, ASUS, Dell, HP, Lenovo and MSI, leading system builders worldwide, and many more. And remember what Huang always says. The more you buy, the more you save.
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