Nvidia's RTX GPUs Can't Do Ray Tracing Without The October Windows Update

Thinking of grabbing a flashy new Nvidia RTX-series card for the benefits of real-time ray tracing? Well, you can absolutely do that. But before you do, there's something you should know first.

Nvidia's RTX 2080 Ti and RTX 2080 cards should start landing in users' hands over the next couple of weeks, bringing the promise of 4K 60 fps gaming if you're prepared to pay $1200 or $1900 for the power.

Nvidia's RTX 2080 Ti, RTX 2080, RTX 2070: Australian Price And Release Date

Earlier this year, Nvidia unveiled a showcase of real-time ray-tracing using Phasma and some Stormtroopers from the Star Wars franchise. At their conference in Gamescom this year, they showcased the same ray-tracing demo - but instead of running off four Volta-powered GPUs, it was powered by a single Turing-powered GPU.

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But there's a small problem: namely with real-time ray tracing.

The few games that will support real-time ray tracing out of the box, as opposed to the other features like DLSS, won't be able to do so immediately. Ray tracing requires support on the OS side as well, namely through Windows ML and DirectX Ray Tracing — and both of those are due to be patched into Windows 10 next month.

The October update has been available to members of the Windows Insider program for a while, although I'd recommend not going through that process unless you're conscious about backing up everything frequently (and messing around with the registry and software when things go wrong).

So if you are looking at the RTX cards, or you've already got one pre-ordered, just keep that in mind. There's nothing wrong with your card. Or the games. Real-time ray tracing is there — you just have to wait for Windows 10 to enable it.

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