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Nvidia paves the way for RTX GPU Chromebooks with new Arm demo

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A new GDC demo shows DLSS and ray-tracing working with Arm

Nvidia is working on expanding its RTX GPU support in a big way, with a new demo at GDC 2021 showcasing high-end gaming technologies like DLSS and ray-traced lighting running on Arm hardware for the first time.

Specifically, the demo shows off Wolfenstein: Youngblood and Nvidia’s “The Bistro demo running on an RTX 3060 GPU paired with a MediaTek Kompanio 1200 Arm processor (MediaTek’s flagship-level processor planned for a new wave of more powerful Chromebooks). Obviously, an RTX 3060 can run those demos on its own — but it’s the groundwork here that Nvidia is building that’s important because it’s offering the drivers and support necessary for them to run on Arm hardware specifically.

In total, Nvidia says that its ported five RTX technologies to Arm and Linux: DLSS, RTX Direct Illumination, RTX Global Illumination, RTX Memory Utility, and Nvidia’s Optix AI-Accelerated Denoiser. SDKs for those tools for Arm with Linux and Chromium are either available now or will be available soon for developers.

And while it’ll still likely be some time before you’re able to buy a Chromebook with an Arm chip and an RTX 3080 GPU, today’s news is an important proof of concept establishing that it’s both possible to add that support and that Nvidia is actually interested in building the tools and software necessary to do so.

Of course, Nvidia does have a newly vested interest in making sure its GPUs play nicely with popular Arm-based systems like Chromebooks in the future, given its (still pending) purchase of Arm for $40 billion last year.