DirectX 12 is reportedly baked into Windows 10, but it is not operational yet

25 Jan 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

DirectX 12 can be found on Windows, but it’s not yet operational.

Poking around the fresh Windows 10 build last night, I found an interesting new feature that Joe Belfiore didn’t mentioned in his announcement post: DirectX 12 is already baked into the operating system. If you’ve followed this column or any other site focused on PC gaming, you’ve no doubt read about Futuremark’s 3DMark, a benchmarking application that tests the gaming performance of your system by putting your CPU and GPU through some rigorous graphical and computing calisthenics.DirectX 12, a powerful feature that Microsoft wants to use to attract PC gamers, will have a much better threading model than DirectX 11, which is now five years old.Microsoft has added DirectX12 in its latest Windows 10 operating system which was recently released for users to test and offer their feedback before the final release of Windows 10 later this year. And you’ve probably heard Microsoft’s repeated claims about the forthcoming DirectX 12 built into Windows 10 — the API that powers the majority of PC games (there’s also AMD’s Mantle) — and how it will supercharge PC gaming by letting developers wring more power from those components.

The next version of Graphics Software, DirectX 12 will be much better than its successors as reported by a company official, who is none other than the Xbox boss Phil Spencer during the Windows 10 event in Redmond. This newer model will allows developers to provide graphics processors on computer systems that closely resemble those of console, and yet with a power savings of 50 percent under certain conditions, Microsoft claims. The PC gaming site Rock Paper Shotgun threw people into panic mode when it reported that current GPUs—including cards purchased within the past few months—would not work with DX12. “Microsoft’s recent demonstration of a few new Windows 10 game experiences powered by DirectX12 has led some people to ask what specific hardware will be supported by the DirectX12 API,” Kam VedBrat, Microsoft’s Group Manager for DirectX, told me via email. “While we are not yet ready to detail everything related to DirectX12, we can share that we are working closely with all of our hardware partners to help ensure that most modern PC gaming hardware will work well with DirectX12, including; nVidia’s Maxwell, Kepler and Fermi-based GPUs, Intel’s 4th generation (and newer) Core processors and AMD’s Graphics Core Next (GCN) based GPUs. DirectX, which is owned by Microsoft, is a collection of application programming interfaces (APIs) that handle tasks related to multimedia, especially gaming and video.

DX12 will allegedly also use half the power consumption of DX11, which could mean more devices we view as traditionally “mobile” would be able to run high-end games with lower-end hardware. In the very near future we’ll get to start testing those claims for ourselves with an updated version of 3DMark which introduces an “API Overhead Feature Test.” Every game makes thousands of “draw calls” per frame of animation.

But before you get too excited, remember that the mere presence of DX12 in Windows 10 is essentially useless until graphics drivers and other software are released to take advantage of Microsoft’s new gaming API. Although, the company is not ready to share all information about DirectX 12, but they have promised to help out the manufacturers like NVIDIA, Intel, AMD, etc. to help out in designing of the next generation GPUs.

What the API Overhead test will do is compare the performance of DirectX 12, DirectX 11, and even AMD’s Mantle, presumable by pushing an increasingly large amount of draw calls to your CPU. DirectX was a shorthand term that stood for all the collections of Direct APIs, such as Direct3D, DirectMusic, DirectSound, and others, with the X standing for the collection of APIs. In 2012, in fact, AMD took a swipe at Nvidia in a blog post titled, ”Yes, AMD has FULL DirectX11 11.1 support.” AMD got into the nuances of the various levels of feature support in the API, and claimed nVidia didn’t support all the features it was supporting.

When Microsoft developed a gaming console, the X was used as the basis for the name, which we know today as Xbox, which is based on DirectX technology. When testers and gamers get this test into their own hands, and data is aggregated, it should begin showing us quite a bit about the future of PC gaming on DirectX 12, and the limitations or benefits of certain hardware combinations. This was intimated in an interview nVidia’s Tony Tamasi had with the last March: ”DirectX 12 will indeed make lower-level abstraction available (but not mandatory—there will be backward-compatibility with DX11) on existing hardware.

That means assuming you own 3DMark and have access to ongoing Windows 10 Technical Preview builds, you’ll get to see DX11 versus DX12 in action for yourself. In his words, Microsoft “only teased” at some of those additions this week, and a “whole bunch more” are coming.” That same report, however, came to the same conclusion that’s being echoed by the two major graphics vendors: that today’s hardware will give gamers the parts that really matter in terms of performance and multi-thread support.

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