Nvidia claims first with ray tracing engine

Fabless chip company Nvidia said it has introduced the OptiX ray tracing engine, which it says is part of a collection of application acceleration engines aimed at software developers.

The announcement comes as the Siggraph graphics expedition starts – earlier today AMD announced its ATI stuff will support OpenGL 3.1, and ultimately OpenGL 3.2.

The family of Nvidia engines include the OptiX engine for real time ray tracing, the SceniX engine for managing 3D data and scenes, and the CompleX engine for scaling performance across multiple graphics processors. It also announced the PhysX 64 bit engine which it says is aimed at real time “hyper realistic” physical and environmental effects.

The company claimed that the OptiX engine is programmable using the C language and can tap into the parallel computing power of Nvidia’s Quadro chips. It’s claimed that it will accelerate ray tracing across a number of disciplines including car styling, optics simlation, volume calculations and radiation research.

Nvidia pulled in analyst Jon Peddie to say that Nvidia has taken a year to make interactive graphics processor ray tracing available to all. “Intricate design tasks, such as examining the play of reflection and refraction across surfaces and within glass can now be examined in real-time.”

Nvidia did not define what it means by “hyper-realistic” for its PhysX 64 bit engine.