Microsoft DirectX 12 Preview: What Should Players and Developers Expect?

DirectX 12 What is it and why is it important?

DirectX 12 –  new multimedia libraries that Microsoft will release in Windows 10 – are another of the great novelties of the operating system and for many gamers on PC, reason  enough to update from previous systems if, as announced, they will be exclusive to  Windows 10 .DirectX is the name by which Microsoft describes a large number of application programming interfaces (APIs) used for multimedia and video applications. The main one is video games and although there are other interfaces such as OpenGL, DX allows Windows to be the reference platform for games on personal computers and surely one of the most obvious features where Windows surpasses other desktops such as OS X and Linux. Hence the importance of these DirectX 12 that we will review in this entry.

Microsoft DirectX 12 Preview: The new version of DirectX 12, frankly, was delayed. DirectX 11 was introduced back in October 2009 – more than four years ago. For comparison: the path from DirectX 10 to DirectX 11 took about three years. Just note: DirectX 12 at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco was just announced – the first games based on DX 12 will appear no earlier than the end of 2015. By this time, Microsoft may be in time with the release of Windows 9, whatever name this OS may ultimately get.

In general, to the question “Where can I download DirectX 12?” there is no answer yet. There are only certain prospects regarding what the new version of the API will bring to developers and us, gamers. In the meantime, the announcement of DirectX 12 should be seen as a signal that active work on the development of DirectX is ongoing. Earlier, the lack of visible activity on the part of Microsoft led to the fact that some have already generally questioned the release of new versions of DirectX. This is last year’s interview with Roy Taylor, Vice President of Global Channel Sales. Although such statements should be made, as they say, “with a pinch of salt”, especially in the light of AMD’s own initiative, Mantle (more about this in our  review and testing of AMD Mantle) Be that as it may, Microsoft decided to recall DirectX and act.

Unlike previous iterations, the new release focuses not on graphic effects and support for new GPU hardware features, but on optimizing the DirectX software stack for existing hardware. AMD has convincingly demonstrated that in some ways DirectX 11 is a bottleneck that limits system performance. Specifically: DirectX 11 is inefficient with a lot of draw calls. We investigated this issue in a review by AMD Mantle, which showed very impressive results under similar conditions.

DirectX 12 is expected to increase CPU utilization by 50% compared to DX11. At least this result was obtained using the closed version of 3DMark 2011, ported to DX12. Microsoft names several factors that made this possible.

Multithreaded execution of driver instructions

Profiling results of the same benchmark demonstrate a more efficient load distribution on the CPU between multiple threads. The diagram shows that in the four streams are now distributed operation  not only the program 3DMark, but the graphics card driver – talking about the component, executed in User Mode.

Microsoft brings DirectX12 to Windows 7: what’s the point?

Microsoft has officially announced that it has added DirectX 12 support to the Windows 7 operating system. The first game that supports DirectX 12 in Windows 7 was the extremely popular multiplayer online game World of Warcraft.

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The DirectX 12 application programming interface was launched with the Windows 10 operating system in the summer of 2015. Its features include increased performance, more efficient use of multi-core processor capacities, the ability to combine video cards from different manufacturers into a single graphics subsystem, real-time ray tracing, and so on.

The news has surprised locals and strangers, since it is not a rumor, but a certainty: Microsoft and Blizzard will bring DX12 to Windows 7 for World of Warcraft . But what is behind this movement of both companies? Will DX12 come to more games in this operating system? What’s the point of making this move on an old OS and soon without support? and finally , how will this affect the drivers from NVIDIA and AMD ?

Microsoft improves support in Windows 7 with DX12, but from the hand of the developers

It seems that the plan that Microsoft currently has does not pass, at least, by natively including said API in its already old operating system , but by a different plan: include it according to the developers request.

An on-demand API that will not enjoy all the optimizations that Windows 10 users enjoy , since, according to Microsoft itself, its latest operating system is designed to make DX12 work even faster than Windows 7 will offer.

Given this statement, the most logical thing would be to think about Microsoft’s reasons to make a move of this kind, since in all the years that DX12 has been with us, the Redmond have tried to affirm time and time again that it would be exclusive to Windows 10.

What is the meaning of such a limited and exclusive movement?

It seems that everything starts from Blizzard, and it is that the company was very interested in DX12 for two reasons: improving multithreaded performance and developing a joint ecosystem to optimize its star game, World of Warcraft, from the same API.

Blizzard added support for DX12 at the end of last year, a move that was very well received and meant a performance leap where it was most needed, in the CPU, since graphics cards were very limited by what the processor could offer.

Many users, on the other hand, could not enjoy said performance improvement, since they are still anchored in Windows 7 and apparently do not seem to want to change to a more current operating system such as Windows 10.

This leaves a scenario of inequality within the game , since where many obtain a performance increase, others are still weighed down in RAID by the DX11 API .

The solution was simple, working with Microsoft to bring the API to Windows 7 for their game, where these would have two advantages, better support from the company and higher performance.

More games will arrive with DX12 to Windows 7

According to Microsoft, they are currently working with some game developers to move their latest API to Windows 7, data that they will reveal later and where they are expected to follow a formula similar to that offered to Blizzard.

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Similarly, Microsoft cautions that Windows 10 has critical improvements to the operating system that make low-level APIs like DX12 run more efficiently , so they continue to recommend jumping to their latest operating system rather than sticking around. in an old one.

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