RealityServer with support for NVIDIA RTX technology is here! This release includes a major Iray version bump which adds support for accelerating Iray rendering with the new RT Core hardware inside RTX cards and the Tesla T4. There is also a great performance improvement for Iray Interactive (on all cards) and support for MDL 1.5. Let’s take a look.
The main change in RealityServer 5.3 is the update to Iray RTX 2019.1. This brings optimised support for Turing based cards, both those with and without the RT Core ray-tracing hardare. If you have a card with RT Cores such as the Quadro RTX 8000/6000/5000/4000, GeForce RTX 2080 Ti/2080/2070/2060, TITAN RTX or the Tesla T4 you’ll see a performance improvement from this new hardware.
So what kind of performance gain can you expect to see? Well it is very scene dependent, we’ve seen an average range of 5% – 300%. Since that is pretty wide we’ve written a separate article explaining the ins and outs of NVIDIA RTX performance with Iray.
In addition to the new support for RTX hardware we see a smaller general performance boost on all hardware for Iray Photoreal. Iray Interactive sees on average 2x speed up for interactive use cases and that’s on all hardware not just RTX. So this is definitely a worthwhile update for those using Iray Interactive mode, no matter what card you have.
Of course Iray continues to work as usual on older hardware as well, however Kepler based cards are being deprecated in this release. They will still work for now but support for them will likely be removed in a future Iray update. To get access to the RTX features you need to be running driver version 430.86 or later on Windows and 430.26 or later on Linux.
Oh and there is also a significant speed-up for CPU based ray-tracing by using the Intel Embree library, up to 2x in some cases and if using CPU only mode startup time has been reduced. Seriously though, are any of you still using CPU rendering?
With the updated Iray comes support for the latest version of MDL, the Material Definition Language. Here are the main two features of MDL 1.5 that will affect RealityServer users.
There is a lot more such as internationalisation support, support for hair bsdfs (note that Iray doesn’t have a hair primitive yet though), some additional measured weighting functions and others features that will be interesting to hard core material creators. Follow the MDL SDK site for up to date details.
While RealityServer itself has not been significantly changed for this release other than adding functionality to support new Iray features, under the hood Iray itself has undergone major changes in order to allow it to work with RTX.
The Iray included in RealityServer is a release grade version, however it is the first version of Iray RTX and there is now significantly more work done by the NVIDIA driver than before. If you encounter any issues specific to the new version that you don’t see in our previous release please let us know.
If you are using non-RTX hardware you are less likely to see major changes to the behaviour of Iray inside RealityServer since the original algorithms are still being used on that hardware. On RTX hardware, you may now also see major changes after driver updates since there is much more scope for improving the performance of the RTX part in the driver now. This has already happened once during the time we have been preparing this release.
Since the new RTX support performance is so scene dependent we’d really love to hear more about what kind of speed-up you see compared to Iray 2018 when using your RTX hardware. We only have access to a limited range of scenes so if you find a scene with a particular good (or not so good) speed-up get in touch.
Paul Arden has worked in the Computer Graphics industry for over 20 years, co-founding the architectural visualisation practice Luminova out of university before moving to mental images and NVIDIA to manage the Cloud-based rendering solution, RealityServer, now managed by migenius where Paul serves as CEO.