So, two days ago Nvidia released its GeForce 425.31 drivers which enabled non-RTX graphics card owners to enjoy the “benefits” and the eye-candy that is ray tracing. If you are an owner of the 10-Series GPU like the GTX 1980, 1070 or 1060, you can simply update to the latest driver version of the drivers and voila! You can now enable ray tracing on your games like Metro Exodus and Shadow of the Tomb Raider. But there is a slight catch you see and a very clever subtle psychological trick that is being pulled here by Nvidia. Disguised as goodwill toward gamers who have purchased their products. At first glance, it’s easy to misinterpret this move as a way of allowing all users of their hardware to enjoy the benefits of ray tracing in general. But here is the catch let me explain take a look at the graph below:
The above graphs were provided by Nvidia during their latest press release. The graph showcases how popular synthetic benchmarks like 3DMark’s Port Royal and popular video games like Battlefield V fare on its range of RTX and GTX graphics cards with ray tracing enabled. And as you can see if you aren’t an owner of an RTX card, then you are in for a very rough time indeed. Remember all that money you spent on that badass GTX 1080 Ti of yours? Well, it is now reduced to a PowerPoint slideshow at 1440p. But hey, look at how much better the low-end RTX 2060 performs than your GTX 1080 Ti an overall 184% framerate improvement over the GTX 1080 Ti in part due to its dedicated Tensor Cores and DLSS. Oh, and by the way, you can’t have DLSS on your GTX card. That’s an RTX-exclusive only.
If we take a look at the Battlefield V performance graph things aren’t much better, you can see the GTX 1080 struggling to even manage 23 frames per second at 1440p with DXR Ultra settings. And when looking at other video games like Metro Exodus the picture being painted is pretty much the same. And here is the catch I was talking about, so put on your tinfoil hats for this one. How often do you see Nvidia releasing benchmarks that don’t show all of their GPUs in an overly positive light? Publicly releasing multiple slides showing last gen cards with totally abysmal performance levels. That is certainly not something we get to see from Nvidia all that often.
This is basically Nvidia saying “the first taste is free.” If you want the proper four-course meal you need to buy one of the RTX range of cards. And the price you pay for this free taste of the future of gaming (ray tracing in this instance) is an extreme performance penalty that comes with not owning an RTX card. You used to be an elite kid on the block with that GTX 1080 Ti. You used to be an early adopter of all Nvidia’s latest products and a big supporter of them. Now the lowest-tier card in Nvidia’s range is outperforming yours by 184%. Now don’t get me wrong, I am not bashing Nvidia here, but you have to admit this is rather shrewd if not rather diabolical marketing strategy on their part and not something we have seen from them in the past. And a bit of a fuck you to those people who don’t own RTX cards.
[Editorial Note:] I am well aware that technology needs to advance and move forward, but using that fact to dangle a carrot in front of your userbase and those who already invested in your top end GTX cards and won’t be able to afford your RTX range of cards seems extremely scummy…