Exclusive: The Nvidia and AMD DirectX 12 Editorial – Complete DX12 Graphic Card List with Specifications, Asynchronous Shaders and Hardware Features Explained


Addressing the AotS controversy

This editorial serves as my first (and hopefully only) foray into the AoTs controversy that has been plaguing the inter-webs recently. As I mentioned in the beginning of this editorial, rivalry between the two giants is something that has been part and parcel of their history. With the advent of DirectX 12, it was only bound to increase tenfold.

So when something as technical as DX12 was hyped up to gigantic proportions for the laymen, I thought it was only fair that we put the 'technicality' back into the hype.

We have explained away some of the setups in which an Nvidia card appeared to gain less advantage with DX12 and we established a probable explanation for the only anomalous scenario in which it didn't.

I think I would like to quote Robert Hallock from AMD here:

“I think gamers are learning an important lesson: there’s no such thing as “full support” for DX12 on the market today. There have been many attempts to distract people from this truth through campaigns that deliberately conflate feature levels, individual untiered features and the definition of “support.”

So summarizing, all hardware vendors fully and completely support the DirectX 12 API.

No hardware vendor can claim 100% support of all hardware features and the differences are usually negligible in nature. If one is deciding by features observable by the end user and gaming experience, the vote might fall in favour of Nvidia with its Feature Level 12_1 support which will allow advanced illumination visual effects in next generation games. That said, there are ways to simulate the effects without much of a performance hit for Radeons as well.  If we are talking about performance increase (in terms of untapped potential, not maximum potential) then an argument can be made for AMD with its ASync advantage.

Also remember 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 (AotS is after all a single DX12 title, and there is way too much bias involved with making a conclusion from a single data source) and seeing how they fare in terms of untapped potential that was unlocked and maximum potential (which is what we should actually be looking at). 

If you take away one thing from this editorial, let it be that there is very little black and white advantage in terms of DX12 compatibility for either vendor.