|Release date||September 20, 2018|
|Fabrication process||TSMC 12 nm (FinFET)|
Turing is the codename for a graphics processing unit (GPU) microarchitecture developed by Nvidia. It is named after the prominent mathematician and computer scientist, Alan Turing. The architecture was first introduced in August 2018 at SIGGRAPH 2018 along with professional workstation Quadro RTX products based on it and one week later at Gamescom along with consumer GeForce RTX 20 series products based on it. Building on the preliminary work of its HPC-exclusive predecessor, the Turing architecture introduces the first consumer products capable of real-time ray tracing, a longstanding goal of the computer graphics industry. Key elements include dedicated artificial intelligence processors ("Tensor cores") and dedicated ray tracing processors. Turing leverages DXR, OptiX, and Vulkan for access to ray-tracing. In February 2019, Nvidia released the GeForce 16 series of GPUs, which utilizes the new Turing design but lacks the ray tracing and artificial intelligence cores.
Turing is manufactured using TSMC's 12 nm FinFET semiconductor fabrication process. The high-end TU102 GPU includes 18.6billion transistors fabricated using this process. Turing also uses GDDR6 memory from Samsung Electronics, and previously Micron Technology.
The Turing microarchitecture combines multiple types of specialized processor core, and enables an implementation of limited real-time ray tracing. This is accelerated by the use of new RT (ray-tracing) cores, which are designed to process quadtrees and spherical hierarchies, and speed up collision tests with individual triangles.
Features in Turing:
The ray-tracing performed by the RT cores can be used to produce reflections, refractions and shadows, replacing traditional raster techniques such as cube maps and depth maps. Instead of replacing rasterization entirely, however, the information gathered from ray-tracing can be used to augment the shading with information that is much more photo-realistic, especially in regards to off-camera action. Nvidia said the ray-tracing performance increased about 8 times over the previous consumer architecture, Pascal.
Generation of the final image is further accelerated by the Tensor cores, which are used to fill in the blanks in a partially rendered image, a technique known as de-noising. The Tensor cores perform the result of deep learning on supercomputers to codify how to, for example, increase the resolution of images. In the Tensor cores' primary usage, a problem to be solved is analyzed on a supercomputer, which is taught by example what results are desired, and the supercomputer determines a method to use to achieve those results, which is then done with the consumer's Tensor cores. These methods are delivered via driver updates to consumers.
Turing's development platform is called RTX. RTX ray-tracing features can be accessed using Microsoft's DXR, OptiX, as well using Vulkan extensions (the last one being also available on Linux drivers). It includes access to AI-accelerated features through NGX. The Mesh Shader, Shading Rate Image functionalities are accessible using DX12, Vulkan and OpenGL extensions on Windows and Linux platforms.