Over at the GDC, Microsoft revealed some of the first official information about DirectX 12. The new API promises significantly better performance by cutting CPU overhead while also giving developers more control over the hardware. DX12 will offer many of the same features as AMD's Mantle API and the good news is that a lot of currently available video cards will support it.
NVIDIA said all of its Fermi, Kepler and Maxwell based GPUs (aka GeForce GTX 400 and newer) will support DX12, while AMD pledged support for all of its GCN-based Radeon cards (Radeon HD 7000 and newer). Intel on the other hand said only the integrated graphics of its Haswell processor will support DX12.
DirectX 12 introduces the next version of Direct3D, the graphics API at the heart of DirectX. Direct3D is one of the most critical pieces of a game or game engine, and we’ve redesigned it to be faster and more efficient than ever before. Direct3D 12 enables richer scenes, more objects, and full utilization of modern GPU hardware. And it isn’t just for high-end gaming PCs either – Direct3D 12 works across all the Microsoft devices you care about. From phones and tablets, to laptops and desktops, and, of course, Xbox One, Direct3D 12 is the API you’ve been waiting for.
What makes Direct3D 12 better? First and foremost, it provides a lower level of hardware abstraction than ever before, allowing games to significantly improve multithread scaling and CPU utilization. In addition, games will benefit from reduced GPU overhead via features such as descriptor tables and concise pipeline state objects. And that’s not all – Direct3D 12 also introduces a set of new rendering pipeline features that will dramatically improve the efficiency of algorithms such as order-independent transparency, collision detection, and geometry culling.
Of course, an API is only as good as the tools that help you use it. DirectX 12 will contain great tools for Direct3D, available immediately when Direct3D 12 is released.
We think you’ll like this part: DirectX 12 will run on many of the cards gamers already have. More on that in our FAQ.