In brief: Starting now, Arm-based systems can run games and applications with RTX ray tracing enabled. Nvidia announced it during the Game Developers Conference (GDC), where it showcased Wolfenstein: Youngblood and ‘The Bistro’ demos running on a system powered by a MediaTek Kompanio 1200 processor and an RTX 3060 GPU.
The Wolfenstein: Youngblood demo showcased by Nvidia focused on real-time ray tracing effects and the benefits of using DLSS. As for ‘The Bistro’, which is based on Amazon’s Lumberyard engine, it’s possible to see RTX direct illumination (RTXDI) and Nvidia Optix AI-acceleration denoiser (NRD) in action. Moreover, both demos used RTX Memory Utility (RTXMU) to optimize memory utilization.
Introducing support for RTX on Arm processors may not seem that useful considering the lack of Arm-based laptops running RTX GPUs. We also have to consider that developers working on games for Arm-based devices will have to implement RTX in their titles, which is still relatively new for developers.
The announcement was well-received by the industry nonetheless. Nick Penwarden, VP of engineering at Epic Games, said that RTX on Arm “has the potential to benefit games and industries such as automotive, where leading manufacturers use Unreal Engine not only for design visualization but also for digital cockpits and infotainment.”
Mathieu Muller, senior technical product manager of high-end graphics at Unity, also came out to say that “with GeForce RTX’s cutting-edge graphics features, Unity developers targeting Arm platforms will have more tools in their toolbox to create with.” The RTXDI, NRD and RTXMU SDKs for Arm with Linux and Chromium are now available for developers. Support for RTX Global Illumination (RTXGI) and DLSS will come later.
As a side note regarding Nvidia and Arm, the graphics giant intends to acquire Arm as announced last September for $40 billion, however the deal is under investigation by the UK government, and companies like Qualcomm, Google, and Microsoft have pronounced their disapproval of the acquisition. It’s still unclear if Nvidia will succeed in acquiring Arm.