Microsoft “Only Teased” DirectX 12 – More Features Reserved For Next Generation GPUs, Will Unveil Later

Microsoft announced their next generation DirectX 12 API a few days ago which will deliver performance improvement in gaming applications by reducing the CPU overhead and delivering new features including enhanced blend modes and conservative rasterization.directx_12.0_cinema_960.0

Microsoft "Only Teased" DirectX 12 - More Features Reserved For Next Generation GPUs

During the press conference at GDC 2014, tech giants such as Intel, NVIDIA, AMD and Qualcomm announced that their current generation of graphics processors would feature support for DirectX 12 API and its features. The DirectX 12 API will help leverage the performance of existing graphics units (GCN, Kepler, Maxwell, Fermi, Iris Pro) by reducing CPU dependency and improving stability for multi-core systems so that the GPU can be fed faster. This low-level (close to console) API will have its advantages for both developers and gamers. With such access to API, developers will be easily able to code and optimize upcoming applications.

The genesis of DX12 can be found in technology trends. GPUs have continued to rapidly increase in performance, while single-core CPU performance has been gated by power limits. Multi-core CPUs have provided some advancement but still trail GPUs in peak performance.

NVIDIA had demonstrated that their team of 4 coders were able to port FORZA 5 from Direct3D 11.X to Direct3D 12 in a month's time which shows the ease to use the new API. It remains to be seen what other developers would be able to do when DirectX 12 hits the streets in mid-2015. NVIDIA did use the GeForce GTX Titan Black graphics card to demonstrate the port during the event which was running at a consistent 60 FPS during the demo's length.NVIDIA DirectX 12 API Performance

Coming back to the reason of this post, NVIDIA's Tony Tamsai has revealed that Microsoft has "Only Teased" DirectX 12. In an interview with TechReport, Tony said that while NVIDIA's current graphics cards lineup will support the DirectX 12 API, next gen graphics units will receive additional features from DirectX 12. Currently, their are three known features of the DirectX 12 API which include its low-level DNA, new blend modes and the conservative rasterization. NVIDIA, AMD, Intel and Qualcomm graphics processors will support all of these features.

DirectX 12 will indeed make lower-level abstraction available (but not mandatory—there will be backward-compatibility with DX11) on existing hardware. However, Tamasi explained that DirectX 12 will introduce a set of new features in addition to the lower-level abstraction, and those features will require new hardware. In his words, Microsoft "only teased" at some of those additions this week, and a "whole bunch more" are coming. via TechReport

However, new features will be added for the next generation of graphics cards from these tech giants and Microsoft doesn't want to unveil them at the moment. The best possibility is 2015 since new games based on DirectX 12 will not arrive until mid-2015 so those titles are currently under early development stages at best. NVIDIA and AMD, both have new GPUs planned for 2014 with NVIDIA readying their highly efficient Maxwell while AMD pushing the performance bar with their upcoming Pirate Islands series of graphics cards. Its not known what new features will be introduced for the next generation of GPUs but it would definitely have alot to do with improving the visuals since Microsoft is waiting to demonstrate the new graphics enhancements of the DirectX 12 API running in next gen titles.

Whether those features are new or old ones refined, it will be interesting to see what new graphics technologies will come from the tech giants moving into 2015.

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