Real Time Ray Tracing at 5 FPS with CausticRT Raytracing System

In this video, Jame McCombe (co-founder and CTO of Caustic Graphics) explains what is CausticRT and shows a CausticOne card. In short, CausticRT is a hardware+software solution to accelerate raytracing. The CausticOne is the hardware side of CausticRT and offloads all raytracing calculations from CPU/GPU. CausticGL is the software side of CausticRT and is a modified version of OpenGL ES 2.0 with a set of specific extensions that allow to cast rays within GLSL shaders.

CausticOne hardware

The CausticOne is not the card for end-users. It’s a kind of experimental card to prove that the technology is not vaporware and to provide a point of reference for performance expectations. The CausticOne is powered by two 100MHz FPGAs (field programmable gate array). FPGAs are often used in the development stages of new hardware in order to emulate silicon before it is manufactured.

The CausticTwo is the card that will be offered for sale to end-users. It will use a custom designed ASIC (application-specific integrated circuit) @ 350 MHz clock speed and should improve performance by a factor 14x over the CausticOne.

In the following video (and in the first too), Jame McCombe shows an interactive demo with 5 million polygons at around 3-5 FPS:

CausticRT demo


12 thoughts on “Real Time Ray Tracing at 5 FPS with CausticRT Raytracing System”

  1. Zavie

    About the title, 5 FPS is rather “interactive” than “real-time” rendering. 😉

    Keep it up.

  2. JeGX Post Author

    Sure, from video game point of view (or better from a rasterisation pov), 5 fps is a slideshow. But from a raytracer pov, 5 fps is realtime 😉

  3. Dr. Goulu

    and if the “CausticTwo … improve performance by a factor 14x over the CausticOne”, 14×5 = 70 fps : real time !

  4. filip007

    This is PCI-e 4x with laptop RAM abot 5GB/s if they are lucky…

    cant see any the good stuff anyway….

  5. Tony

    Seems like a pointless product. Raytracing is spiffy and all but it will never be as fast as rasterization: therefore it will never look as good. A hybrid raytracing/raster approach is the current future. That’s what Pixar is doing now. Maybe when computers become so ridiculously parallelized we’ll do raytracing just because the code is cleaner and the gains from rasterization won’t pay off.. but at least for the next 10 years I don’t think so.

  6. auld

    Oh dear. Whilst its impressive in an abstract sense, its only useful when the scene is animated. They know this and so not showing animation means the system has a problem with it. How disappointing after waiting months to see this.

  7. bravura

    The oder big problem is not being compatible with OpenGL and Direct3D, so it can not be used with current softwares and I don’t think game developers are going to implement a render pipeline for few hundred people who may buy this product. So it is at least not usable for the average user.

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