Carmack predicts “ten times the performance” from GPUs in five years

Monday, 11 November 2013 00:32 GMT By Brenna Hillier

Graphics tech guru John Carmack sees a very bright future for PC gaming just a few years into the future, predicting huge leaps in GPU output before the end of the coming console generation.

Speaking at a recent Nvidia event lovingly transcribed in full by Eurogamer, the id Software veteran and Oculus Rift developer gave his vision of the near future of PC graphics technology.

“Five years ahead, yeah, we can probably make credible comments about that. You’ll still be able to buy Xbox One or PS4 new five years from now – unquestionably. There will be tons of content developed for that,” he said.

“We’ll have 4K resolution displays on tablets and HMDs, and we’ll have another order of magnitude pretty straightforward on there with Moore’s law. GPUs are great at turning transistors into performance and we’ll have ten times the performance. It means that you can probably run that triple 4K display at double the frame-rate from one GPU. That starts looking pretty impressive.”

Carmack said that some things like display technologies and networkinhg advancements are “technical freight trains”, “going forward whether we’re paying attention to them or not”.

“There’s a trillion dollars in economy pushing these things so a lot of that’s going to keep going, and it’s going to be great to sort of be along for the ride and figuring the kind of interesting systems areas, where there’s a convergence of what becomes possible now, that people wanted before, as the sort of cornerstone of where the real innovation is going to happen,” he added.

“We can always turn the cranks on what we’ve already got and always get better, but the insightful things are when you notice something that you hadn’t even thought about and previously dismissed as impossible is now possible and orders of magnitude just sneak up on you like this.”

Carmack said it’s difficult to make predictions much further into the future, as you “can’t wrap your head around these six or eight orders of magnitude” that occur over a few decades. He used the movie Tron as an example; its rendering was state of the art 30 years ago and is now pathetically simple.

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