# What is the relationship between rays per second and samples per pixel? (ray tracing)

Discussion in 'Rendering Technology and APIs' started by johndoe, Feb 10, 2018.

1. ### johndoe

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<-- This is an image (1280x720, 200 samples per pixel) that I rendered in OctaneRender Cloud for 1.79 Render Tokens (=\$0.45). With no further knowledge of the scene, is there a way for me to unequivocally determine how many rays were fired per second?

The reason why I chose this resolution and spp is because I wanted to see what could've been rendered, at 30 fps, on the now scrapped PowerVR 120W ray tracing ASIC. This ASIC would've been capable of ~6 billion rays per second, or 720p30 @ 200 spp (https://render.otoy.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=98&t=58757#p301588). So far, this seems like a fairly straightforward relationship: If you divide 6*10^9 rays per second by (1280 * 720 * 30 * 200) samples per pixel, you get ~1.

However, the next part is where things get tricky. We know that a dual GTX 1080 can run at 200-250 Mrays/s (https://www.reddit.com/r/Vive/comments/5nghyn/otoy_is_bringing_lightfield_baking_and_more_to/dchvkag). And, if our previous assumptions are right, we also know that this scene requires (1280 * 720 * 200) ~184 Mrays to complete, so it should take less than one second on those dual 1080s, right?

Now for the conflicting piece of data: Because the scene cost 1.79 RNDR (=\$0.45) and took 124 seconds to render on ORC, we can calculate the total work (=OB). 1 RNDR = 256OB * 256s, so the total work done was (256 * 256 * 1.79) ~117,000 OB. Dual 1080s can do ~270 OB/s (https://render.otoy.com/octanebench/results.php?v=3.06.2&sort_by=avg&filter=&singleGPU=1).

In other words, it would take dual 1080s 117,000 OB / 270 OB/s ~433s to render the same scene that, according to our previous knowledge, should've taken only a fraction of a second. This is close to a three order-of-magnitude discrepancy!

What am I missing?

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3. ### Ethatron RegularSubscriber

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I assume "256s" is you got 256 hardware-threads. You are comparing 2 GPU vs. 256 "cores" here.?
Or the other way around, you might not get 256x 1080s to render your lightfield in parallel at the same price as 256 CPU "cores".?

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4. ### hughJ Regular

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I think it's a mistake to try doing this sort of arithmetic to guesstimate and contrast path tracing performance without a long hard look at what the monte carlo method is actually doing with a particular pixel of a particular scene, and how that may change from one to another. The quantity of rays you need to cast to resolve pixels simply varies way too much (essentially from 1 to infinity), which is why you end up with algorithms like metropolis light transport, importance sampling and others to more intelligently distribute your samples. Tracing through a pixel into a black void requires only a single ray and no further bounces to get the correct result. Tracing through a pixel that happens to land you on a specular+diffuse+translucent surface with a caustic/refraction light pattern shining on it might require hundreds of thousands of rays to converge in an acceptable way. Looking at quoted hardware specs for how many coherent rays per second a chip is capable of pushing and contrasting that with real-world gpu+octane benchmarks is likely to lead to faulty intuitions and conclusions, imo.

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