The 3 blunders of the RTX 2080 video card event from Nvidia

Nvidia started this horribly long week on Monday morning with an event in Germany to debut his upcoming GeForce RTX 20-series graphics cards. The RTX 2070, 2080 and 2080 Ti will start in September and I can not stop thinking about the presentation and the less positive reaction from some enthusiasts.

I am enthusiastic about the RTX video cards and ray tracing, although I do not recommend one. The event had a lot of problems, but I understand why Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang spent so much time selling the public to ray tracing.

The company is in a chicken-and-the-egg problem in which ray tracing developers will need to support it and hardware that it can do, and you will not get it without the other. And since raytracing is computationally expensive, you can not just put the function into a normal upgrade – it should justify a price increase.

Ray tracing is the future. Developers have wanted it for decades because it & # 39; just works & # 39 ;. That is a sentence that Huang repeated several times and many people are skeptical about it. And they're right when they judge the claim that it's just as easy to turn on a switch, but the broader argument that considerably less labor is needed to make images look as nice (and probably better) than traditional lighting tools .

"Shows our upcoming game enlisted, in 4K at more than 90 fps with our real-time global lighting solution on a new GeForce RTX looks great," Gaijin Entertainment chief executive Anton Yudintsev said on Twitter. "We are very impressed with the ray tracing performance of Nvidia Vulkan, with only three days of development hardware – looking forward to more that we can achieve."

So what essentially happens is that Nvidia is trying to sell us a more expensive product that will save developers time and money. However, it appears that it is not our responsibility to save developers time and money, so Nvidia & # 39; s number 1 priority for his event should have been to state that ray tracing is something that we will all benefit from.

Or, at the very least, that the price makes sense.

I think that Nvidia did not do that in three important areas. Let's start with the least offensive mistake and work our way up.

Nvidia talked too much about shadows

Realtime ray tracing is an incredible step forward because it physically models the behavior of the light. This means that developers no longer need to flatten objects such as shadows or reflections. To demonstrate this, Nvidia Square Enix & # 39; s Shadow of the Tomb Raider showed up on stage to show how his shadows looked with RTX.

Now that I have had time to view and really view these images, I can see how the edges of the shadows look more specific and the video has no strange stripes or shimmer. But I did not notice anything the first time I played the game.

My brain just is not looking for details in shadows. Think about it in real-world terms. With the exception of very specific circumstances with regard to the infiltration of strange lighted espionage installations, why would you concentrate the 15 to 20 watts of power on what is actually useless data? Not you.

That's why disabling shadow quality is one of the simplest decisions you need to take to improve the performance of your games. You get a ton of frames per second back and you probably do not notice the difference. It is a huge stunner when it comes to framerate compared to disabling other visual effects.

And this is why Nvidia & # 39; s demonstration of Tomb Raider was a mistake. We see that and we can all say to ourselves: "If this is the field of Huang, we can safely ignore RTX because it clearly does not really matter."

This is not even about whether RTX will damage performance. The popular assumption among enthusiasts and commentators is that RTX will cause a significant drop in performance compared to when you disable it. That seems like a safe assumption, but I just do not know for sure until I control it. But assuming that is the case, better shadows will absolutely not convince me that I need RTX if I lose frames in the process.

Announcement of one price and then sell for another

I thought the rest of the field for ray tracing was more effective, but your personal kilometers will vary when it comes to reflections of light sources in windows and car doors in a game like Battlefield V.

The uncomfortable faux hype in the video aside, I find this phenomenal:

So let's assume that Nvidia has convinced you that ray tracing is something you want. I'm sure some people feel that way because I'm almost on board and I'm fully aware that only a handful of games will support it.

For the people who were ready to buy the cards, Nvidia had other, more creative ways to get rid of them.

After hours of explanation and demonstrations, Huang finally began to view the details of the maps themselves. They would start at $ 500 for the RTX 2070, $ 700 for the 2080 and $ 1,000 for the 2080 Ti. That's a price increase when you compare them with their equivalent models from the GTX 10 series, but I'll get straight to that. If that's the price, then that's the price. Nice.

Only those are not the prices for those cards. At least not yet. The 2070 can not be reserved, but if you want the 2080, you have to pay $ 800. And if you want the 2080 Ti? Nvidia only sells the over-worked out-of-the-box version of the Founder's Edition for $ 1,200. The & # 39; reference version & # 39; with the standard clock speeds comes later.

Those premium early adopter rates are difficult enough to accept, but what's worse is that Nvidia did not warn anyone that this was going to happen. There were tens of thousands of people around the world to see and it led them to believe that they would pay one price. And when everyone uploaded the Nvidia store page, they were shocked to find much higher prices.

And now that shock is all that someone talks about. It also gives everyone on the fence a reason to poke holes in ray tracing as a function. Even for the true believers, look at these cards and ask yourself why you would like them if you can just wait a few months and pay slightly closer to the announced price.

Alter the numbering convention of Nvidia

Potential RTX customers also spend a lot of time talking about price increases from generation to generation. They are looking at a GeForce GTX 1080 Ti for $ 700 and a 2080 Ti for $ 1,000, and they are starting maths.

That is a price increase of 43 percent. Do I get 43 percent more performance from the 2080 Ti? Even if I do, the price should not scale with such performance. Huang talked about Moore's law, where things get faster, smaller and cheaper, so why did this break down this time?

The reasoning behind that price increase is probably multifaceted. The extra hardware that drives the real-time ray tracing is probably considerably more expensive than the silicon that went into the Pascal architecture of the GTX 10-series. But more importantly, Nvidia probably thinks it can get away with resetting price expectations.

However, Nvidia does not want its customers to try to do algebra in their heads to determine whether something is wating the price. It must look like it creates value and gives people a deal.

But do you want to know what is particularly wild about all this? The RTX 20 series is hardly a price increase compared to the GTX 10 series. What really happens here is that Nvidia overturned the damn names.

A 2080 Ti at $ 1,000 (let alone $ 1,200) seems to have been compared to a 1080 Ti at $ 700, right? But the 2080 Ti is really the Titan model for this new Turing architecture – the Pascal Titan XP for example, sells for $ 1,200. The 2080 at $ 700 is the same MSRP as a 1080 Ti. And a 2070 at $ 500 is actually a price drop of the $ 550 for a GTX 1080.

So instead of launching with the 2080, 2080 Ti and Titan Turing at comparable prices as the 1080, 1080 Ti and Titan XP, Nvidia left its naming structure. I have no idea why it would do this. It could call these cards what it wants, so I do not know why it would choose monikers who would provoke unfavorable price comparisons.

If I had to speculate, I would assume that Nvidia does not sell many Titan cards. However, its xx80 Ti models are known to give you all the strength you would ever need for a much friendlier price. Perhaps Nvidia thinks that by putting the Ti-name on an essentially Titan card, more people can spring up for the higher price. I have my doubts about that.

But whatever the reason, it was clearly a mistake, because once again, it gives people another reason to doubt and look at ray tracing from a closer look.

What now?

To make people enthusiastic about the RTX cards, Nvidia had to do everything right. It is trying to sell us a distant future, and that is always difficult for beings like people who prioritize short-term profits. But the chip manufacturer did not do everything right.

If you wonder what happens next, I bet that the shares of Nvidia go up. The truth is that Nvidia's goal is not to make people enthusiastic, it is to sell hardware. And I think these early Founder & # 39; s Edition cards are selling fast. Enough people have more money than they know what to do with it, and they will appear for the hottest new thing. That does not even include the potential for a revival in the GPU-based cryptocurrency mining market.

And to ensure that it remains the market leader in video cards, Nvidia did not have to focus on real-world performance in today's games. AMD puts zero pressure on the company of Huang when it comes to it. The Vega cards are powerful and impressive. They are a viable alternative … and they are also a year old.

So what has AMD in the making? Well, I've heard some second-hand rumors that it takes its time, and that's why Nvidia has taken so long to introduce RTX. Without this competition, Nvidia could dominate the growing PC market by default.

That does not mean that the cards from the RTX 20 series will never be much. If you look at the 2070 as the actual successor to the 1080 and wait for the prices of the non-founding publication, it will start to become more logical. But I do not think Nvidia has defended his position, and I want it to return to a stage or something similar and convince us that it knows why we would like these GPUs.

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