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Minecraft: how to enable RTX ray tracing

Learn more about ray tracing in Minecraft

Want to learn about RTX ray tracing in Minecraft? When you think of gorgeous graphics, Minecraft might not be the first thing that comes to mind. Sure, it has a charming aesthetic, and texture packs can make your worlds look really unique, but it isn’t very realistic. However, Nvidia have now created ray traced RTX worlds in Minecraft that will completely transform your experience.

This guide will explain everything that you need to know to get RTX ray tracing in Minecraft, including the minimum requirements for ray tracing.

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Cover image for YouTube videoThe best Minecraft Texture Packs for Java Edition

What is ray tracing?

Ray tracing is a type of graphics technology that allows for the accurate simulation of light, shadows and reflections. In the past, games often used techniques such as 'baked-in lighting' to simulate light in their environments, but this can often look artifical compared to how a place would be lit in real life. Until recently, real-time ray tracing in games wasn't possible due to the sheer graphical power required to render these realistic light beams, but since 2018 we've had proper ray tracing-capable graphics cards available that can finally do it justice. Ray tracing has slowly crept into plenty of games since then, including Minecraft. Check out our list of every game that uses ray tracing if you want to put your ray tracing-capable graphics card to the test.

What are the minimum requirements for ray tracing in Minecraft?

If you want RTX ray tracing in Minecraft, you’ll need a pretty beefy PC. Here are the minimum requirements for ray tracing in Minecraft:

  • Operation System: Windows 64-bit
  • GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 20 Series or higher, or AMD Radeon RX 6000 Series
  • CPU: Intel Core i5 or equivalent
  • RAM: More than 8 GB
  • Version: Minecraft 1.16.200 or higher

RTX ray tracing is currently only available in the Minecraft Bedrock Edition on Windows 10, so console folks will need to hang tight and wait for news to see if ray tracing will arrive in Minecraft on other platforms. Those playing on Minecraft Java can't utilise these ray tracing features, although there are plenty of shader packs that will make your Java worlds look beautiful.

Minecraft light shining through windows with ray tracing enabled

How to download ray tracing for Minecraft

To jump into a world with RTX ray tracing, you need to go to the Minecraft Marketplace and download a ray tracing enabled pack. You can find these by simply searching RTX or ray tracing. There are currently 14 different RTX worlds created by Nvidia that are available for free.

As mentioned above, you need to meet the minimum hardware requirements to download ray tracing content. If you don’t meet the minimum requirements, a message will pop up to let you know that you can’t download or play Minecraft content that uses ray tracing.

It's also worth noting that, despite the heavy Nvidia branding, you can use an AMD Radeon RX 6000 series card to run these ray tracing packs as well. The RTX maps made in Minecraft will work on either Nvidia or AMD cards as long as they are within the minimum required specs.

How to enable ray tracing on your own world in Minecraft

If you want to get ray tracing on your own world, it’s a little more complicated. You can’t just load up Minecraft, start a new world, and switch ray tracing on. Instead, you need to download the Nvidia RTX resource pack. You can find it here.

When you’ve downloaded the pack, head into the folder and open the .mcpack file. This will install the RTX resource pack so that you can hop into a new world with Ray Tracing enabled and spruce up all of your creations. Castles, villages, and so many other Minecraft builds can look much more beautiful when they are illuminated with RTX enabled.

If ray tracing doesn't seem to be on when you load in, head to the video settings option and you will find an RTX toggle. This is usually greyed out, but it should now be available for you to flick on and off.

That’s everything you need to know to get RTX ray tracing in Minecraft. Whether you want to explore pre-built creations or jump into your own survival world, you can make Minecraft an RTX Utopia right now. If you want to head out on a new adventure, take a look at our list of the best seeds in Minecraft.

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Hayden Hefford avatar

Hayden Hefford

Former Guides Writer

Hayden was a guides writer for RPS between 2021-2023. They're a big fan of survival games, especially those that focus on the undead. Zombies. Walkers. Shamblers. Whatever you call them, Hayden is definitely a fan.