This is ray tracing running in real time on the Super Nintendo

Who needs the RTX 3090 to take advantage of ray tracing on the Super Nintendo? Well, it’s not that simple, but one enterprising developer used a cartridge-based hardware boost of the same kind that was used to bring 3D graphics to the system, and the actual original. I’m running ray tracing on the SNES. A game like Star Fox.

Console video game cartridges, including those for SNES and earlier NES, often used additional chips to extend the technical capabilities of the console. The Super FX chips used in Star Fox are the most famous of these, and the Ben Carter Super RT chips work in much the same way. Simply extend the capabilities of the SNES with ray tracing in addition to 3D graphics.

The cartridge here is built on an FPGA that feeds directly to the unchanged SNES console. The external chip only handles some additional features of ray tracing to minimize external power boosts. result? A scene running at a resolution of 200×160 with raytracing lighting and reflections running at about 20fps.

Get technical details on Carter’s site or check out the demo video below.

Another video also provides a more substantive breakdown of how everything works.

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If all of this has triggered an upgrade, check out our best graphics card guide.

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