Ray tracing and its associative techniques are mathematical functions and as such can be executed on any computational device. The question is how long is one willing to wait for the results? General-purpose processors, CPUs, with their large addressable memory space do an excellent job at ray tracing and are still the primary engine for ray tracing. Graphics processor units, GPUs, have been used, but the basic architecture of GPU isn’t particularly well-suited for ray tracing, and GPUs have limited memory space. A new generation of specialized GPUs with specific ray-tracing features has been introduced and except for the memory space represents a real challenge to CPUs. Specialized, custom, application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs) have also been developed in an attempt to speed up the rendering time. None of them have had long-term success, and most have died still-born.
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