AMD confirms RDNA 3 has "rearchitected compute units" that "enhance ray tracing"

Will AMD be able to catch up with Nvidia's ray tracing capabilities with RDNA 3

AMD confirms RDNA 3 has

Expect a ray tracing boost from AMD's RDNA 3 graphics cards

As someone who has analysed graphics cards for some time, it is clear to me that every graphics architecture has its own set of strengths and weaknesses. In today's games, AMD's Radeon R 6950 XT wins some battles, and Nvidia's RTX 3090 Ti wins others. Sometimes, the reason behind a victory for one graphic card is clear, and in others the advantages that Radeon or Geforce offer are more mysterious. In the case of ray tracing though, there is a clear winner every time, Nvidia Geforce RTX.

While AMD's RDNA 2 architecture is strong in many areas, hardware accelerated ray tracing is an area where AMD's current-generation graphics cards are sadly deficient. This means that when ray tracing is enabled, Nvidia's current-generation GPUs often outperform their Radeon counterparts by large margins. That said, AMD has confirmed that they have been working on addressing this deficiency with RDNA 3. 

A lesser reported comment from AMD's Financial Analysts Day

When AMD's David Wang discussed the company's RDNA 3 graphics architecture at their 2022 Financial Analysts Day, Wang stated that RDNA 3 would feature "rearchitected compute units" that would "enhance ray tracing capabilities". These enhanced ray tracing capabilities were not listed on AMD's RDNA 3 slides, so this comment was unnoticed by much of the gaming press.

Alongside these rearchitected compute units, RDNA 3 also boasts a "optimised graphics pipeline" that delivers "even faster clock speeds and improved power efficiency". This should enable higher levels of compute performance per compute units, as each unit will be able to complete more clock cycles in any given time. More clock cycles means more work, and more work means more performance.

AMD confirms RDNA 3 has

Will AMD catch up with Nvidia in Ray Tracing?

While we can expect a significant boost to AMD's ray tracing performance with RDNA 3, it remains to be seen if AMD will be able to catch up with Nvidia. Nvidia aren't exactly sitting on their hands when it comes to ray tracing performance, and you can be sure that Nvidia's RTX 40 series will feature its own set of architectural enhancements.

Based on AMD's comments, we can expect more ray tracing performance per compute unit and per clock cycle with AMD's RDNA 3 graphics architecture. Beyond that, higher clock speeds should also enhanced Radeon's ray tracing performance (just like its rasterisation performance). Even so, the size of these benefits are unknown, and AMD does not expect AMD to push the gaming industry towards path tracing. With RDNA 3, AMD's still pushing a "hybrid rendering" approach. 

AMD confirms RDNA 3 has

Hybrid graphics is the future

Full on patch tracing, where an entire scene and all aspects of a game is ray traced, is not something that AMD is pushing for with RDNA 3. AMD's pushing hybrid rendering, where ray tracing is used alongside traditional rasterised graphics to deliver high performance levels while accessing the visual benefits of ray tracing. AMD is currently investing in techniques that can enable ray tracing in a more performance friendly manner, allowing gamers to get the most performance out of their graphics cards and games.

This makes clear that while AMD plans to deliver a ray tracing boost with RDNA 3, they are not promising earth shattering benefits. Hybrid rendering is the future, as we would have to wait for another console generation before the entire gaming industry pushing things to another level. AMD's techniques will benefit current-generation and next-generation GPU hardware, and all of the AMD-powered gaming systems that feature RDNA 2 graphics. 

There's a reason why few games are fully path traced, and why most path traced games are modded versions of early 3D titles with simple geometry and environments. Simply put, path tracing is too demanding for most modern games at high resolutions and framerates. The future us hybrid, at least for now. 

You can join the discussion on AMD's ray tracing boost for RDNA 3 on the OC3D Forums.

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Most Recent Comments

27-06-2022, 13:19:03

Dicehunter
Don't care about RT at all, Looks nice in reflections but after 5 minutes the "ooooh" factor wears off. Now a 6900XT/6950XT using 50% less power, Now that would be a nice buy considering the rising prices of energy.Quote

27-06-2022, 14:49:27

Bagpuss
Well, if AMD want me to even consider them for my money & next GPU, it won't happen until their RT performance is (at least) on par with Nvidia's.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Dicehunter View Post
Don't care about RT at all, Looks nice in reflections but after 5 minutes the "ooooh" factor wears off. Now a 6900XT/6950XT using 50% less power, Now that would be a nice buy considering the rising prices of energy.

RT reflections are nice but not the real reason why Ray Tracing is such a game changer, its real time Global Illumination that can transform a game world and is the reason why its the most expensive feature to have running in ray tracing and still only being implemented in limited amounts on current gen RT cards.Quote

27-06-2022, 16:49:40

meuvoy
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bagpuss View Post
RT reflections are nice but not the real reason why Ray Tracing is such a game changer, its real time Global Illumination that can transform a game world and is the reason why its the most expensive feature to have running in ray tracing and still only being implemented in limited amounts on current gen RT cards.
The biggest improvemnt is refelction, GI can be had with raster, just look how good UE5's Lumen is. We already had a few games with great GI before Raytracing, the real benefit is in the time it saves developers setting up the lighting, it's jsut sooooo much easier, (word from a 3D artist, not game developer but still 3D artist with years of experience with V-Ray's Raytracing and a couple years or so of experience with both UE4 and UE5 raster and Raytracing).

Point is when raster ilumination is well made, even if you are not employing GI, it's hard to differentiate from Raytracing, that's another story entirelly if we talk about reflections, and also refractions and especially refraction shadows and caustics, but with raytracing you can have this all up and running incredibly quickly, literally no set-up required and that's the game changer, allows developers to launch games quicker or to better polish their games.Quote
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