Nvidia CEO says buying a GPU without ray tracing is ‘just crazy’

(Image credit: EVGA)

Nvidia obviously has a vested interest in seeing games incorporate ray tracing, and hardware support for ray tracing has been a key selling point of the company's GeForce RTX series graphics cards. But would you be bananas to purchase a GPU without ray tracing hardware? Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang thinks so.

During an earnings call with investors, Huang suggested if you are buying a graphics card that is "going to last through two years, three years, four years, to no have ray tracing is just crazy." Yahoo has the full transcript.

What makes the comment interesting (though not surprising) is that Nvidia offers its latest Turing GPU architecture in cards without dedicated ray tracing hardware. Namely, the GTX 1660 Ti, 1660, and 1650.

Nvidia updated its driver stack earlier this year to support ray tracing on GTX hardware (Turing and Pascal), so technically he's not throwing shade at his own products. Realistically, though, running ray-traced content on a GTX card is a tough ask, for the most part. Nvidia also leaves GTX Turing sales to its hardware partners—there are not any Founders Edition models of those cards.

Huang's comment came in response to a question about how Nvidia's GeForce RTX Super cards are being received in the market. According to Huang, they are off to a "super start," especially considering that Nvidia's Super models shipped later in the quarter.

"Last quarter was a transitional quarter for us actually and we shipped Super later in the quarter, but because the entire ecosystem and all of our execution engines are so primed, we were able to ship a fair number through the channel. And yet if you do spot checks all around the world, they are sold out almost everywhere. And the pricing in the spot market is drifting higher than MSRP—that just tells you something about demand," Huang said.

At this point, it seems like only a matter of time before ray tracing grabs hold of the gaming market in a big way, or at least becomes widespread. Whether that will be within the next 2-4 years remains to be seen.

That said, Nvidia is at Gamescom currently, where it has made a bunch of ray tracing announcements. For example, Minecraft is getting a complete ray-traced overhaul, and the new Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines 2 trailer gets us excited for more ray-traced content.

Paul Lilly

Paul has been playing PC games and raking his knuckles on computer hardware since the Commodore 64. He does not have any tattoos, but thinks it would be cool to get one that reads LOAD"*",8,1. In his off time, he rides motorcycles and wrestles alligators (only one of those is true).