Is Ray Tracing Worth It?

As new hardware comes out, new graphics technologies develop. The newest leap is ray tracing, made mainstream by Nvidia’s RTX graphics cards.

Now that most modern GPUs are integrating the technology and games are starting to add support, let’s see if Ray Tracing is actually worth it.

Ray Tracing vs Rasterization

CC: Nvidia

Ray tracing may be new and exciting but what came before it? Rasterization is the current norm for graphics in video games.

Rasterization creates a 3D environment by processing polygons. The polygons are then processed by a shader to make up a specific color and shade. These polygons get turned into pixels. All the colors and shades are decided by parameters that the game developer has set up.

Ray tracing on the other hand directs lines from the light source in the game and calculates how light bounces off objects or gets impedes by them to show where the lighting would go. This makes effects a lot more realistic.

While rasterization can look very good, there is a lot less potential. Ray tracing can portray how different objects affect lighting around a room but rasterization cannot. For example, with ray tracing, if you have a very reflective material, then the light will bounce off that material onto other things. In contrast with rasterization that material may look metallic but still will not have any effect on anything else in the environment.

Additionally, ray tracing requires fewer initial parameters to be set up by game developers. Ray tracing uses realistic lighting physics which means developers do not need to make many calculations to suit their specific game environment and physics can be more consistent across games.


Does Ray Tracing Improve Your Gaming Experience?

Screenshot of Call of Duty Warzone with ray tracing enabled

Although ray tracing does provide some eye candy, how much does it improve the gaming experience and will enabling it make you a better gamer?

The main takeaway about ray tracing is that it most likely will not make you a better gamer. The whole point of ray tracing is the improvement in graphics.

Real-time ray tracing provides no improvements in games like competitive shooters but in some games, the improvement in shadows and reflections may help you to see things that are off your screen.

Where ray tracing improves your experience is in the actual looks and immersion. Better graphics can help you get sucked into the game, especially when you are in a campaign or story game that gives you time to enjoy eye candy. You are able to appreciate your environment more as ray tracing makes games look more realistic.

A graphic increase is often able to transfer a game like Minecraft with RTX which keeps the same core concept and physics but the gameplay is altered.

If you do not care about graphics or only play online competitive shooters such as CS:GO or Valorant then ray tracing wont benefit you.


Too Early To Invest?

Steam survey from april 2021
Steam Survey April 2021

One of the biggest criticisms about ray tracing is the lack of games that support the feature. Currently, there are around 40 titles with 10 to 20 more that are said to release in 2021. All these titles fully support ray tracing with Nvidia’s RTX GPUs but the same cannot be said about AMD. AMD supports a decent amount of these games but the performance is not that good on most of them or the creators worked on DXR for AMD as an afterthought.

Some games that feature ray tracing are Battlefield V, Cyberpunk 2077, Fortnite, and Metro Exodus. If you want more information about different games that support ray tracing, check out this list from Wikipedia.

The experience with Nvidia’s graphics cards is pretty good, especially with their DLSS technology, which optimizes the onscreen image to look the same while putting less load on the GPU. You can get 60 fps at 1080p on any of Nvidia’s RTX cards but if you want to play at a higher resolution then you have to pay for a better RTX card.

The issue is that to get a quality high refresh experience, you still need to pay quite a bit of money if you want to play at any resolution higher than 1080p. This also assumes that you are able to even get a graphics card in this current climate.

We would not recommend waiting to get a graphics card just because you want an RTX card from Nvidia but in the coming years, many of the most popular games will support ray tracing. Getting a system with the hardware to support ray tracing is not necessary yet and we would not say that it is too early to invest, especially if some of your favorite titles do or will not gain support soon.

Ray tracing is a great feature for those who care about graphics. If you want to future proof then getting an RTX card or a next-gen console is your best bet.


Ray Tracing Beyond Gaming

Unreal engine logo

Ray tracing is not just for gaming. Ray tracing has been used for years in professional situations. For example, many animated movies use ray tracing. It has especially gotten popular for 3D modeling, rendering, and movie animation in recent years.

As ray tracing has become more popular smaller creators and studios have been able to use ray tracing. This is causing it to continue to grow in the professional space. Not only will games start to look more realistic in forms of lighting and reflections but the same will also apply to animated movies and renders.

Additionally, ray tracing has grown very popular in the world of game development. Game engines like Unity or Unreal Engine are making it easier for smaller game developers to make games that have better-looking graphics.

Overall this all helps movie and game developing industries forward as smaller creators are starting to be able to work with ray tracing.

Different Implementations

Inside of gaming PC with an RTX graphics card

Although Nvidia started the movement towards real-time ray tracing, they now have other competitors. Aside from Nvidia’s 20 and 30 series GPUs, AMD has their 6000 series GPUs, and then the next-gen consoles from Sony and Microsoft also have their own implementations.

Nvidia has their RTX implementation that works with DLSS rather than AMD that uses the universal standard DXR. While both can look the same, Nvidia’s system works with more games and runs faster. This is partially due to the fact that DLSS improves the framerate of games.

Sony’s PS5 and Microsoft’s Xbox Series X also support ray tracing and due to great optimizations, the performance is pretty good for the price.

Overall Nvidia still does ray tracing the best.


Conclusion: Is Ray Tracing The Future?

Top view of PC with RGB fans

To put it shortly, ray tracing is the future.

This is just the beginning of a new wave. The benefits to graphics are great for the consumer and with all this tech going mainstream it will only push forward innovation. Games will look a lot better in the future and with the easy access to enable it in game engines now, many indie games or titles may be able to have ray tracing.

It is important to understand that the tech is not perfect right now and it is not everywhere. Many games do not have all the elements of ray tracing as they may only support ray-traced shadows or reflections for example. Ray tracing is constantly improving to look and run better.

Over the next, five to ten years is when we could start to see ray tracing properly replace rasterization. During this time hardware will also improve greatly as companies like Nvidia have made large strides towards their RTX tech.

If you enjoyed this article and you want to talk more about tech then consider joining our Discord and as always thanks for reading!


Optimizing Windows 10 For Gaming

Minecraft with shader graphics.

Do you guys game on Windows 10? It’s a great experience that can get even better!

Windows 10 is one of the most feature-packed operating systems ever and it’s great for gamers. It has more games than any of its competition. If you want to eek a bit more performance out of your Windows system you can optimize it to give you those higher frame rates.

Below are several tips that will help you enjoy gaming on your Windows 10 device to the fullest.

1. Power Plans

Power Plans are a very easy way to get extra performance out of your laptop or PC.

Power options tab on windows

Power Plans are exactly what it sounds like. They manage where the power goes when you are using your computer. There are many options and I will show which is the best option for your rig.

Now to reach this page you will want to open your power plan settings by going to the bottom right of your desktop, right-click on the windows icon, and click power options.

List of Windows apps.

After clicking this you will have a settings tab open on your desktop that will look like this.

Windows Power and Sleep settings.

You haven’t quite reached the final destination yet as now you will have to click on “Additional Power Settings”

Additional power settings option circled in Windows settings

Now when you click this you will be at the final destination.

Ultimate power performance option in Windows power options.

You may not see all these options as only Ryzen users the AMD options. You will see a balanced, power saver, and high performance. You will want to select “High Performance”. As the description says this will use more power but will yield more performance for your gaming and resourceful tasks.

Although this will affect your power consumption so if you are on a laptop and cant be connected to the power supply then I would recommend staying on balanced. But as a side note not having your charger in your laptop whilst gaming will give your performance a serious hit.


I tested Rainbow 6 Siege on a Ryzen 5 3600 and a 2060 Super. Below are the before and after results.

Benchmarks in Rainbow Six Siege after optimizations
As seen above the optimized version yields a slight FPS increase

2. Performance Settings

Windows 10 is packed with eye candy that makes the OS so pleasing to use. But these animations can cause your PC to work overtime which can take a toll on your hardware while gaming.

One thing you can do is change the performance settings of your device to disable options that make Windows look a little bit more appealing.

To do this you will want to open control panel. And click on system and security.

Windows Control Panel app.

Then you will want to click on system

System and Security tab in Windows Control Panel

When you click this it will take you to a settings page.

Advanced settings list in Windows

Then you will want to click Advanced System Settings. This will take you to another menu where you will click Performance settings.

Advanced system settings in Windows

After you click settings you will reach a page with many checkboxes.

Visual effect settings in Windows

Uncheck all the checkmarks for best performance. But you are free to experiment with what you would like and tailor these settings to your preference.


I tested Rainbow 6 Siege on a Ryzen 5 3600 and an Nvidia 2060 Super FE. Below are the before and after results.

Benchmarks in Rainbow Six Siege after optimizations
The optimizations provide a 17 FPS diffrence

3. Windows Game Mode

Windows Game Mode is a nifty setting that can be found in the gaming setting but is it actually good?

Game mode enabled in Windows

This setting is a nice addition by windows developers. In short, it limits background tasks while gaming.

To turn it on you want to open settings.

Microsoft Settings app

From here you need to click Gaming.

Xbox Game Bar setting on Windows

Then click Game Mode and the setting will be the only toggle on that page.

Now, lets find out if this setting actually yields a benefit.


Game mode yields a very slight benefit in Rainbow Six Siege. It has a 3 FPS difference. Nothing too crazy but still very easy to do.

As we can see it is a bit useful and although the improvement is not game changing, it all adds up in the long run.

Benchmarks in Rainbow Six Siege after optimizations
3 FPS Gain

4. Timer Resolution

Timer Resolution is a free application to change the resolution of the default windows timer. It is shown to lower latency and increase fps. This application changes the resolution of the timer from 15-25 seconds to 1. This can reduce latency and stuttering. Please note that this application is completely safe as it has no permissions to change system files or settings and will not be flagged by Windows Defender.

You can download it here.

Time Resolution Settings on Windows

Once you open the program you can click Maximum when you start gaming which will provide the least latency and more FPS.


This also yields a very small impact but the game felt more snappy and my movements where more responsive.

Benchmarks in Rainbow Six Siege after optimizations
2 FPS Gain

5. Task Manager Optimizations

Task Manager is one of the best tool that’s packed into Windows. It is great for closing windows when they aren’t responding. But can it be used for more than that?

Simplified list of background tasks on Windows Task Manager

But, did you know that you can make optimizations within task manager?

We will be disabling startup programs which can lead your computer to slow down. To do this open task manager and hit more details in the bottom left.

Different processes in Windows Task Manager

From here click startup at the top.

Startup options in Windows Task Manager

From here you will want to disable everyone one of the programs. This will make sure that no programs will start up when you load up into Windows so your device will be faster.

Many apps that start up are not needed at most times and hog precious system resources.

If you still want some apps to start when you load into Windows you can keep some enabled but disabling all apps or as many as possible is the best way to improve the initial start-up time and improve overall system speed as much as possible.

This will yield a slight improvement on your FPS but more so how fast your PC startups and functions in daily use.



These tips all provide a very nice benefit to your gaming experience. We hope this helps you to get that little extra juice out of your high or low-end gaming PC.

If you need more help please refer to the /r/lowendgaming Reddit here or our Discord here for more details or particular questions regarding your system specs or how to optimize for specific games.

That’s all for now. Stay tuned for more in depth tips, reviews , and guides.


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