Thanks to @quarterlight for the link to this demo of Clarisse, an interactive ray-traced shading and rendering environment that uses the progressive refinement method I mention in my previous post. From the FAQ:
Clarisse is CPU-based. A basic graphics card supporting OpenGL 2.0 is more than enough.
Clarisse runs perfectly fine on lower end hardware such as laptops and remains perfectly smooth and interactive. The What is Clarisse video? was recorded on a dual-core laptop dating from 2009.
This is what I’m talking about when I say that the ray-traced 3D performance in After Effects CS6 could be better optimized for the CPU.
Still not convinced? Then I guess you didn’t click the progressive refinement link in that last post. It goes to an interactive demo of a ray-traced scene that you can interact with, live, at very high frame rates. The real time rendering, which includes secondary light bounces (AKA radiosity), is done in your browser.