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Minecraft is one of the most popular sandbox video games, allowing players to build creative structures and worlds using textured cubes in a 3D generated environment. While the retro pixelated graphics have always been part of Minecraft’s charm, recent graphical improvements like real-time ray tracing take the visuals to an incredibly realistic new level.
Ray tracing simulates the physical behavior of light to bring real-time, cinematic-quality rendering to game graphics. Natural effects like shadows, reflections, refractions and global illumination become truly realistic. Ray traced graphics can transform Minecraft into a visually stunning experience.
In this article, you’ll learn how to enable ray tracing in Minecraft to unlock incredible new graphical capabilities that massively improve visual realism.
Ray Tracing Requirements
To enable ray tracing in Minecraft, you need hardware that supports either DirectX Raytracing (DXR) or Vulkan Ray Tracing:
- For DXR: An NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060 GPU or above, or an AMD RDNA2 GPU like the RX 6700 XT or above
- For Vulkan: Intel Arc Alchemist GPUs like A770 or above
You also need to be running Minecraft for Windows 10 or 11. The Xbox Series X/S consoles also have ray tracing support in Minecraft.
Additionally, make sure you install the latest Game Ready drivers for your GPU.
How to Enable Ray Tracing in Minecraft
If You Have an NVIDIA GPU
Enabling ray tracing is very simple for NVIDIA GeForce RTX GPU owners:
- Open the NVIDIA Control Panel
- Go to Manage 3D Settings > Program Settings
- Select Minecraft from the drop down menu
- Turn Ray Tracing to On
- Launch Minecraft, go to Settings > Video and turn Upscaling to NVIDIA DLSS
That’s it! Ray tracing and NVIDIA DLSS will automatically be enabled when you start a world.
If You Have an AMD or Intel GPU
The process is similar for AMD RDNA2 owners:
- Make sure Radeon Software Adrenalin Edition is installed
- Go to Gaming > Global Graphics
- Set Ray Tracing to On
- Launch Minecraft, enable Upscaling under Video Settings
For Intel Arc GPUs, enable ray tracing in the Intel Arc Control Center under System > Ray Tracing.
Ray Tracing on Xbox Series X/S
To enable ray tracing on Xbox Series X/S:
- Go to Manage Game Content for Minecraft
- Install the Ray Tracing Capability pack
- Launch Minecraft and enable ray tracing in Settings > Video
Ray Tracing Resource Packs
To fully take advantage of ray tracing, you also need to download and install resource packs that add realistic textures and physically based materials.
Some of the most popular options include:
- NVIDIA RTX Resource Pack: Adds PBR textures, emissive colors, reflections, global illumination
- Kelly’s RTX Pack: Photo-realistic textures for vanilla Minecraft
- Ray Tracing Resource Pack: Enhances lighting, shadows, reflections and emissivity
Check out the Minecraft Marketplace for more ray tracing resource packs.
Ray Tracing Performance Considerations
Ray tracing can have a major impact on game performance. Here are some tips:
- Lower your render distance to 16 chunks maximum
- Use NVIDIA DLSS or AMD FSR for upscaling to boost FPS
- Reduce resolution slightly if needed to maintain 60 FPS target
- Close background apps to maximize GPU resources for Minecraft
Also make sure ray tracing is specifically enabled for Minecraft in your GPU control panel settings.
Ray Tracing Showcase
To experience the full potential of Minecraft with real-time ray tracing, download maps and worlds from the Minecraft Marketplace specifically designed to showcase the graphical enhancements.
Some of the most stunning examples include:
Neon District RTX by Elysium Fire
A futuristic city with incredible lighting effects, reflections and detail.
Crystal Palace RTX by Gemini Tay
An exotic, colorful crystal-themed build with reflections galore.
RTX Industrial Revolutions by Razzleberries
Steampunk-inspired factories and machinery with impressive emissive textures.
Be sure to also check out the Minecraft RTX subreddit for more worlds and discussion.
The Future of Ray Tracing in Minecraft
Ray tracing support in Minecraft is still evolving. Minecraft 1.19 adds ray traced shadows on Windows for all DirectX12 GPUs. Standalone ray tracing features are also coming to Minecraft Java Edition later this year.
As more GPUs add dedicated ray tracing hardware, expect performance and quality to keep improving. NVIDIA RTX 40 series graphics cards can already run Minecraft with ray tracing at over 100 FPS.
Ray tracing brings Minecraft to new graphical heights with realism never before possible. It’s an exciting new way for millions of players to experience their creations and takes the creative potential of the game to the next level.
This covers everything you need to know about unlocking stunning cinematic-quality visuals by enabling ray tracing in Minecraft on Windows 10 and 11.
The graphical improvements from realistic shadows, lighting, reflections and textures are truly mind-blowing. By installing a compatible GPU and resource pack, you can transform Minecraft into one of the most visually impressive games available today.
Now get out there and make some magical ray traced worlds! Let us know which maps and builds blew you away the most in the comments.