The Inq is partying at the Game Convention in Leipzig and saw a demo from Intel of a 45nm Yorkfield based system that ran a Ray Tracing demo.
Three years ago at an Intel Developer Forum the firm had to use 50 Xeon processors to render a 640 x 480 pixels Ray-Tracing demo at 4FPS while today a quad-core Yorkfield system scores about 90FPS in a 768 x 768 pixels Ray Tracing demo. Pretty impressive:
The demo machine was based on a Gigabyte's X38 motherboard, two AMD Radeon HD 2900XT cards in CrossFire mode, Corsair memory, and Intel 45nm quad-core processor, known to most people as Yorkfield. However, graphics part was not used at all, so you could have GeForce 8400 or Radeon HD 2400, this render would work as fast.
This does not stop here, since the upcoming "Skulltrail" system will feature two Yorkfield processors with regular memory, making V8 rev2 a very powerful and more affordable system. Judging from what we saw in the morning, 8-core dual-Yorkfield system should be able to run the fascinating demonstrations in 1280x720. This would be a first for HD resolution with no major issues (or actually 1280x1280), but we will have to wait until Q4 to see that one.
Bear in mind that this demonstration did not include some of the special effects used in world of RT, because support for SSE4 is still not implemented. Scaling is at nearly 100%, so with every extra core you will get around 99% scaling boost, or a near-perfect code.
It's expected that games will start utilizing Ray-Trace in 2009.