Went to Nvida to see if there were any updated GPU drivers and found this thread concerning Ray Tracing on GTX 10xx series GPU cards:
Granted it is "Low' Ray count. but at least it is something unexpected with the latest April Driver update.
Note: I realize this looks like an ad for Nvidia but I posted it to show the type of competition AMD is now facing concerning game playing in Drivers.
Current rumors are that Navi will feature ray tracing, and realistically, only the Fury series (which AMD abandoned, which is why they don't perform as well as slower cards from the RX series), RX 580, RX 590, and Vega series are powerful enough from AMD to support any kind of low level ray tracing as all other models are slower than the GTX 1060, so AMD is unlike to enable any sort of ray tracing on previous models. It's not really a bad thing though, ray tracing is still in its infancy.
Pull a rabbit out of the hat ?
Your comparing a GPU card that was engineered for Ray tracing RX2080 (High Ray Tracing) to a GPU card that was recently enabled for "Low" Ray tracing and not really engineered for that particular feature.
But it is still nice that a least a older GPU card can now have a newer technology even though it isn't as powerful as one made for the new technology.
Seems a big factor in Ray Tracing is that the GPU card must have a minimum of 6 gbyte of vRAM to be effective. That alone eliminates all low cost GPU cards and GPU cards with less than 6 gbyte of vRAM.
at least in that one particular release I posted.
That fact is questionable, as only nVidia cards support ray tracing at this time, and due to their architecture, do not use 4GB VRAM, but the performance hit is extreme, at least at this point in its lifetime, both as game developers haven't had time to properly work with it and because it's computationally expensive even on the dedicated hardware in the RTX series.
When the driver is released the reputable review sites will show exactly how much ray tracing is being brought to previous generation cards, and how much visual difference it actually makes, revealing if it is just a marketing ploy, like "TressFX", or if it actually makes a meaningful positive impact.
As far as AMD goes, I honestly wouldn't be surprised if when Navi is released, as it will use a different architecture than GCN, the entire range of HD 7000 series through the R300 series (Fury and Radeon Pro Duo included) were moved to legacy support, and the RX 400, RX 500, and Vega were moved to the sort of "semi retired" state the former range currently sits in, where no performance enhancements will be made.
This is NVIDIA attempting to force AMD and Developers into a position to support DXR.
AMD made a very smart decision when they stated that they had no intention of Officially Supporting DXR until "Playable Performance" can be guaranteed from their Lowest - to - Highest Hardware., to ensure that such a feature was universal for (AMD) Consumers.
That isn't going to occur with Navi., and while I have no doubt that either Sony or Microsoft... or both have in the past 12 months requested the addition of Real-Time Raytracing Support in their Custom Navi for their Consoles; what I think is important to point out is that even the RTX 20-Series is not strictly speaking capable of True Real-Time Raytracing.
What I mean by this is, that they are capable of Ray Acceleration … but NOT to the degree that allows for a complete Solution in Real-Time.
Developers (for the most part) are well aware of this as well.
The Engines that do support "Ray-Tracing" Features, with the exception of CryEngine are doing so because NVIDIA specifically financed said Support. That CryEngine supports Real-Time Ray Trace Reflections (and it's quite a clever solution, using Temporal Slice Rendering) frankly isn't surprising as Cry Tech are always pushing the boundaries in terms of Graphical Features... if it runs "Well enough" in an actual Game., eh, that's a different case.
Like there's a reason why "But will it run Crysis?!" remains a common meme about Graphics Performance.
And even then their Support isn't exactly .. Coming Soon™, but rather is something they're looking at supporting in their CryEngine 5.5 (Late-2019)., which means we won't see it used in Games until Mid-2020 / Early-2021 at the earliest.
I don't see Navi having Real-Time Ray Tracing Support., or rather more specifically nothing better than what currently available GCN Graphics can provide... rather what we're seeing is essentially a doubling of performance at the same price points.
This will definitely mean that it gets Closer (and does mean the High-End Mainstream) will be capable of Real-Time Raytracing … but it's still far from it being something that we'll see enabled., as the Ryzen with Graphics (APU) will still be simply too slow to allow such support.
I'd instead actually look at Imagination Technologies and their PowerVR Ray-Trace Processor., as there is a possibility that they might be re-entering the Consumer Desktop Graphics Market; via PowerVR Accelerator (that work alongside current GPUs) to provide such acceleration / support.
And I'd argue this is a much better solution for the moment.
Just like how the Aegis Physics Processors were a better solution than NVIDIA Integrating it into their GeForce (CUDA) Hardware. Expensive, but a better solution for Hardware Physics... it was a mistake for NVIDIA drop said Products in favour of their "All-in-One" Solution to gain an advantage over ATI., which ultimately achieved what?
(Almost) no one using Hardware PhysX., which remains true to this day.
If I were AMD, this is honestly how I'd approach support for Real-Time Raytracing … partner with Imagination Technologies., to provide an Ecosystem Solution as opposed to a Single-Product Solution.
Even still... I also believe it's in AMD's best interesting to slow widespread support for Raytracing by simply not rushing to support it.
There are arguably better solutions for their Hardware Path, but more than this NVIDIA (like Intel) somewhat need a bloody nose on their Technology Path right now.
For Gamers this isn't going to be a major loss... visually we're not talking "Night and Day" because of how advanced Fast-Approx. approaches have become via Compute Shaders.
Had NVIDIA pushed this 5-6 years ago., the story would be different... but today.
It's just too late; and arguably further there's no guarantee that a true Raytrace Solution will ever be possible with Single-GPU Silicon.