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Caustic Graphics Ray Tracing Acceleration Technology
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Old 20th April 2009, 16:45   #1
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Default Caustic Graphics Ray Tracing Acceleration Technology

James was quick to iterate to me on a few occasions that they initially had no desire to build hardware but as they developed their unique software algorithms it became apparent that there simply was not a processor on the market today, either in GPU or CPU form, that did exactly what they needed. These new algorithms attempt to find order in what we all see as the randomness of ray tracing and they attempt to drastically increase the memory locality for efficiency reasons and the founders decided that required a custom co-processor. But they seem to have played the game intelligently by continuing to utilize hardware where it is most efficient: the Caustic card will handle only the operations that modern components are inefficient at yet they still leverage the power of the GPU for pure shading horsepower.

http://www.pcper.com/article.php?aid=694&type=expert
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Old 20th April 2009, 16:46   #2
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another add-in card? how did this fare for PhysX again?
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Old 21st April 2009, 01:38   #3
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Ageia targeted end users where cost is key and developed for a nonexistent market. Caustic Graphics is targeting movies studios and others that require massive amounts of raytracing and cost is not the main concern, and the market already exists and is well understood.

On the other hand while this appears to be a much more viable business than Ageia ever was, I don't see it competing well against Intel's Larrabee which also targets these markets.
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Old 21st April 2009, 08:19   #4
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I'm in favor of competition, I'm not denying that;
there hardware does 5-6 fps at 640x480 without AA in the scenes shown in the article... how is that better than 30-35 fps at 1280x720 with the Intel demos

I rather have better FPS and less refractions, than 5fps and millions of them
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Old 21st April 2009, 23:04   #5
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I hadn't bothered to examine the hardware or results. There are probably reasons why the different demos have such a large difference in performance. I do know Intel's "real time" ray tracing demos also used additional bump maps for water effects to give an example.

Caustic is planning to release ASIC based parts to replace their currently FPGA card... at least according to them it will net a 14x performance increase. Probably not enough to survive Larrabee though.
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