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Get ready for another co-processor: further details on Caustic Graphics's RTPU

Tim Stevens

Ray tracing is the current holy grail of gaming graphics, the rendering technique that might finally make the licensed game based on Pixar's latest look as good as the film itself. But, the typically random nature of rays has made rendering them on traditional hardware inefficient, a problem Caustic Graphics claimed to have solved, and is now backing that up by giving PC Perspective some further details and demos. The company's tech will rely on a new graphics co-processor called the Ray Tracing Processing Unit (RTPU), working in concert with existing 3-D accelerators to deliver rays at frame rates high enough for interactive applications. How high? Early hardware dubbed CausticOne (that giant slab of silicon above) manages 3 - 5 frames-per-second in the demonstration video after the break. That's not nearly enough for twitchy first-person shooters, but second-gen hardware due next year is looking to deliver 14 times that -- plenty to get your high-reflectivity frag on.

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