Surrounding the hype of the RTX 3000 series getting released, we were able to see a lot of mentions regarding the improvement Nvidia made regarding CUDA Cores and if you wondered what they do and if they even help PC gaming, you’re in the right place.
In order to understand what exactly CUDA cores do, we have to get a little technical first.
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What Are Nvidia CUDA Cores?
As you might’ve guessed already, CUDA is an acronym and it stands for Compute Unified Device Architecture which a parallel computing platform but also an application programming interface (API). They were specifically designed by Nvidia to enable software developers to have better control over the physical resources at their disposal.
A programmer coding in C or C++ can now have an enormous level of control over the resource allocation and the CUDA platform has enabled frameworks like OpenACC and OpenCL to have a bump in popularity and use.
It’s interesting to note that due to this crazy flexibility of the CUDA API, there have been quite a lot of companies who used it for something different from PC gaming. In fact, the applications of it are truly something else. Some of them include things like computational chemistry, machine learning, data science, bioinformatics, computational fluid dynamics, and weather and climate applications.
CUDA cores are also parallel processors that allow data to be worked on at the same time by different processors, much like a dual-core or a quad-core CPU, except that there are thousands of CUDA cores.
So, Do Nvidia CUDA Cores Help PC Gaming At All?
Of course! The fact that they have a wide array of uses doesn’t mean that they can’t be used for PC gaming. Actually, Nvidia CUDA cores are a massive help to PC gaming graphics because they are so powerful.
We’re again going to remain technical, but hopefully, we’ll be able to explain how some game graphics work and exactly CUDA cores help with that.
In the past, a GPU was used as a sort of extension of the CPU and was there to help render the images faster. Fast forward 20 years and the GPUs are responsible for handling multiple multiple effects to create a more immersive experience.
Unlike ray tracing cores (RT cores) which are focused on creating perfect lighting calculations in order to create life-like shadows and other lighting effects, CUDA cores are mostly in charge of physics calculations.
Nvidia can also boast about PhysX, a real-time physics engine middleware that was widely used by game developers so they wouldn’t have to code their own Newtonian physics. In the past, Nvidia cards required a specific PhysX chip, but with CUDA cores there is absolutely no need for it.
The incredible amount of power that CUDA cores possess means that the game developers are free to put as much strain on the side of physics calculations as they want. Of course, coding-wise that isn’t hard, and the developers only need the gamers to have the best GPUs.
The CUDA cores are exceptional at handling things like smoke animations, but also animation of debris, fire, fluids, and many more. Basically, all the ingredients to make game graphics as realistic-looking as possible.
They are a massive help to PC gaming and have opened up the path to even more realistic graphics that we’ve seen over the last few years.