Microsoft has recently released a new video showcasing some of the visual upgrades that gamers are going to be treated with by shifting to the DirectX 12 API as well as a promise of up to 20% performance gains in normal scenarios. This year is very critical for the gaming industry, as we are going to be seeing more and more titles released with Direct3D12 capability. The rules of the games have changed and IHVs will need to keep up with the times to be able to provide their customers the best possible experience.
DirectX 12 Update: Dues Ex tech demo and up to 20% performance gains in typical use-cases
The promotional video from Microsoft features a tech demo as well as some interesting comments. This is one of the few times when the consortium has officially listed performance numbers. DirectX 12 is a low level API, which means that any scenarios which are CPU-Bound (meaning bottle-necked by the CPU, with the GPU being inefficiently utilized) will naturally get quite a boost. According to this video, we can expect up to a 50% boost. It goes without saying that you will only get this kind of boost in highly unrealistic scenario (think an AMD R9 Fury X paired with an APU).
Interestingly however, Microsoft is stating performance gains of up to 20% on GPU-Bound scenarios (where the performance is being bottle-necked by the GPU; in other words, the everyday situation of an optimally built PC). This can also be interpreted as a pure performance gain – something that results from the elimination of the under-utilization of the GPU. Realistically speaking, gamers should be able to see a performance gain of 5%-10% in most use cases owing to the fact that graphics drivers from both vendors are really quite advanced at the moment.
The 20% mark stated by Microsoft is really very impressive and slightly worrisome in context – because we are getting all this just from the elimination of the API overhead present in DirectX 11. Which goes on to say a lot about the state of the API before AMD’s Mantle entered the scene. Some other features like frame rate smoothing are also mentioned as well as a tech demo – which appears to be a showcase of the new Deus Ex title with and without some dynamic lightning:
The visual representation given above is an obviously exaggerated example of what DirectX 12 brings to the table. Much of what it does so (like ASync Compute) happens out sight of the gamer. As far as the DirectX 12 compatibility race goes, Nvidia has had an edge in supporting the highest feature level (DirectX 12 Feature Level 12_1) while AMD has had the performance advantage (thanks to its uncannily powerful ability to leverage ASync).
Keep in mind though that developers usually code for the lowest common denominator, which means both AMD and Nvidia’s edge depends entirely on how many devs use it; and the expected mean result is a win-win for owners of both vendors. All that said and done, we will be looking out for more DX12 titles this year (AotS is after all a single DX12 title, and there is way too much bias involved with making conclusions from a single data source regardless of how concrete they seem).