3DMark will be able to test your PC's ray tracing performance starting in January

We've known for several months now that UL Benchmarks (Futuremark's parent company) was readying a new ray tracing benchmark for its popular 3DMark program, and now we have a few more details to share. For one, it's coming out sometime in January.

UL Benchmarks originally targeted a fall release, with the goal of dishing it out around the same time as Microsoft's October 2018 update for Windows 10. The October 2018 update fully supports Microsoft's DirectX Raytracing (DXR) API, but some early issues with the update prompted Microsoft to yank it offline for a few weeks, until November.

The October 2018 update is once again rolling out to Windows 10 PCs, and subsequently 3DMark will finally gain its new ray tracing test called Port Royal in January 2019.

"3DMark Port Royal is the world’s first dedicated real-time ray tracing benchmark for gamers. You can use Port Royal to test and compare the real-time ray tracing performance of any graphics card that supports Microsoft DirectX Raytracing," UL Benchmarks explains.

UL Benchmarks built Port Royal from the ground up. That's to say it's not simply an update to 3DMark's existing Time Spy test, a DirectX 12 benchmark, as some earlier reports surmised. Unless plans have changed since we last talked to UL Benchmarks about the upcoming ray tracing test, it will be added to 3DMark as an update and available in the free version (the paid version will offer custom controls).

Purportedly to avoid any testing bias, UL Benchmarks garnered input from AMD, Intel, and Nvidia in developing Port Royal. The company also "worked especially closely with Microsoft to create a first-class implementation" of DXR.

We imagine Nvidia's new GeForce RTX cards will offer the highest scores at the moment, though Port Royal will run on any GPU that supports DXR. UL Benchmarks says it designed as a "realistic and practical example" of what users can expect from ray tracing in upcoming games , and specifically the ability to process ray tracing effects in real-time at "reasonable frame rates" at 2560x1440.

In the lead up to its release, UL Benchmarks will be bringing Port Royal to Galax GOC, an overclocking competition that will take place in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam on December 8.