Microsoft’s New Patent Aims to Boost Ray Tracing Performance with SSDs

March 25, 2024 – Microsoft has recently been granted a patent for a revolutionary method that promises to enhance the performance of ray tracing in games through the innovative use of Solid State Drives (SSDs), potentially paving the way for future updates to the DXR API.

Entitled “Systems and Methods for Ray Tracing Acceleration Structure Level of Detail Processing,” the patent reveals Microsoft’s exploration into storage solutions aimed at achieving faster data transmission and more efficient detail processing.

The patent acknowledges the growing competition for storage space between acceleration structures and other data types, such as geometry and texture data, within both persistent (e.g., flash memory) and non-persistent (e.g., RAM) storage systems. As the footprint of acceleration structures in memory increases, it places a significant demand on system resources, including bandwidth required for data retrieval.

Microsoft proposes a solution centered around the creation of more manageable data pools, controllable by software and pointing to Level of Detail (LOD) pools. The patent also suggests that geometry pools can be set up via the GPU’s command lists, loaded into host memory from bulk storage, and prepared for ray tracing processing.

According to tech outlet WccfTech, Microsoft may be planning updates to its DXR API that integrate the DirectStorage API for rapid data transfer required by these ray tracing workloads. The emergence of PCIe 5.0 SSDs, offering substantial speed improvements for consumer-grade storage, is seen as a catalyst for the development of new ray tracing methods that can reduce the demand on video memory.

By leveraging SSDs in this manner, Microsoft’s patent could represent a significant breakthrough in optimizing ray tracing performance, potentially leading to smoother gaming experiences and less reliance on high-end graphics cards with copious amounts of dedicated video memory.

Leave a Reply