I'll take any excuse to wheel out the terrible official logo for Microsoft's DirectX 12 Ultimate tech gubbins, and today's new Nvidia driver gives me just right occasion to do so, as the graphics card giant has just added support for Microsoft's new hardware accelerated ray tracing standard to their latest GeForce driver.
The driver comes almost a month after Microsoft added support for DirectX 12 Ultimate to Windows 10, so now all Windows 10-based RTX graphics card owners should be well and truly prepped to take advantage of this more universal ray tracing standard once developers start using it in games. To download the Game Ready 451.48 WHQL driver, you can either visit Nvidia's website, or open your GeForce Experience app and install it from there.
Right now, there are still precious few ray tracing games that make use of Nvidia's RTX GPUs, but the hope is that with the launch of the ray tracing-enabled PS5 and Xbox Series X consoles later this year, ray tracing should become a lot more prevalent in games going forward - which is just as well, seeing as how Nvidia are planning to launch their next-gen Nvidia Ampere RTX 3000 graphics cards some time later this year, such as the RTX 3080. Indeed, AMD's upcoming 'Big Navi' graphics cards will also support ray tracing when they launch later this year, as will all new Big Navi cards going forward thanks to the company's 2nd Gen RDNA 2 architecture.
That said, it's unlikely you'll see a massive rise in your RTX card's current ray tracing performance by installing this new driver, as games need to be made with DirectX 12 Ultimate in mind in order to take advantage of the standard's extra features and performance boosts. However, if your PC has recently updated to the May 2020 version of Windows 10, then you may have noticed a new feature in your Graphics Settings called "Hardware Accelerated GPU Scheduling". This new feature allows your graphics card to manage its own memory instead of having Windows 10 try and do it, which Nvidia claim can potentially help to improve performance and reduce latency - although by how much they didn't say. You'll need to restart your PC before it takes effect, but it's probably worth switching on anyway because every little helps, right?
Nvidia's DirectX 12 Ultimate driver also adds support for nine new G-Sync Compatible monitors, including the latest version of Samsung's giant 49in super ultrawide screen monitor, the Odyssey G9, which is the 240Hz (!) successor to my much beloved CRG9, as well as one-click optimal settings for 12 games. These include Command & Conquer: Remastered Collection, Gears Tactics, Monster Train, Outer Wilds and Age Of Empires III: Complete Collection to name just a few.