I’m genuinely sorry this caught you (and me) by surprise. I realize it’s cold comfort now, but we have tried to be a little pushy ;) about it being a good idea to move to OptiX 7 for a long time, and we’ve also tried to be open on the forum about the fact that OptiX Prime would never support RTX hardware and would not be improved anymore - for almost three years, basically since the release of OptiX 6.0. (for example OptiX, OptiX Prime, Compatibility with CPU and RTX - #5 by Ankit_Patel ||| Where is the RTPbufferformat in optix7.0? - #2 by Keith_Morley)
Your point on the release notes is taken, we should probably name the latest GPU architecture every time, so the notes don’t become confusing or seem untrue later. The release notes for OptiX 6.5 predate Ampere. They are true as written for both APIs - OptiX 6 and OptiX Prime - with respect to all Nvidia GPUs that existed on the release date of the OptiX 6.5 SDK. None of our release notes are really intended to extend to any unnamed or unknown (at the time of publication) future GPUs or future CUDA toolkits or other APIs unless stated explicitly, but we could certainly have made that more clear in this case.
Aside from the notes, all OptiX 6 versions already are in the Legacy Downloads section of our site, and version 6.5 is being maintained but not improved, meaning support isn’t officially “deprecated” yet but it’s still not a good idea to begin any new projects using OptiX 6.5, and it is a good idea to start now porting any existing long-term projects that use OptiX 6.5 to the latest SDK (currently OptiX 7.3).
And is this guaranteed to stay usable with future nvidia gpu generations?
I’m not sure I understand your exact question in this context, or what kind of guarantee you’re looking for. Do you want to lock your SDK, and/or driver, and/or CUDA toolkit version across hardware upgrades, or are you asking whether OptiX as a whole might become deprecated? As long as OptiX exists (and I think it will continue to exist and improve for many many years to come), then there will be a version that is compatible with some of the latest Nvidia hardware, just as there always has been since OptiX began. But when preparing for or purchasing new hardware with new features, it is always the case that software upgrades may be necessary to support the new hardware, whether it’s the Nvidia driver, the CUDA toolkit, or the OptiX SDK version. Sometimes app changes might be necessary as well, if you want to take advantage of new hardware features.
OptiX 7 is the current path forward. This current version is much more closely aligned with the published standards in Vulkan and DirectX ray tracing extensions than earlier versions of OptiX, therefore much less likely to change dramatically in the future. Now that we’re down to a single API, you can have more certainty that it will carry into the future than was ever possible with OptiX Prime.
By the way, if you depend on OptiX for your business, and would like long term support for any given version, please consider getting in touch with us more directly so we can confidentially discuss your schedule and requirements. This is the best way to voice your needs before we make changes, and avoid any future surprises.