DirectX 11 Details Emerge, Adds New Features to DX10 Hardware

By Aaron Linde, Jul 22, 2008 12:03pm PDT Software giant Microsoft today revealed details concerning DirectX 11, the latest edition of its PC gaming graphics API.

Similar to DirectX 10, the software will be available only on Windows Vista and future versions of Microsoft's operating system. DirectX 11 will add new compute shader technology that Microsoft says will allow GPUs to be used "for more than just 3D graphics," allowing developers to utilize video cards as parallel processors.

DirectX 11 will support tessellation, a feature which can potentially assist developers in making models appear smoother when seen up close. Multi-threaded resource handling is also incorporated, making it easier for games to utilize multi-core processors in a user's machine.

Microsoft also disclosed that DirectX 11 will add features to existing DirectX 10-compatible hardware, though it was not immediately clear what those features may be.

A launch date for the new software was not provided, though Microsoft is expected to release more information in the near future. The bullet points, as provided by Microsoft, are listed below.

  • Full support (including all DX11 hardware features) on Windows Vista as well as future versions of Windows
  • Compatibility with DirectX 10 and 10.1 hardware, as well as support for new DirectX 11 hardware
  • New compute shader technology that lays the groundwork for the GPU to be used for more than just 3D graphics, so that developers can take advantage of the graphics card as a parallel processor
  • Multi-threaded resource handling that will allow games to better take advantage of multi-core machines
  • Support for tessellation, which blurs the line between super high quality pre-rendered scenes and scenes rendered in real-time, allowing game developers to refine models to be smoother and more attractive when seen up close

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20 Threads | 81 Comments

  • For such cool news, there sure is a lot of teenage angst in the comments. Why is everyone bitching about this new technology? New technology is great... it paves the way for bigger and better games.

    My guess is that some people don't like upgrading their computers... they want their current computer to play all the games from now 'till 2044. I don't know if you guys are new to computers in general, but that's just not how it works. It's an evolving process and an evolving technology: you're going to need to spend money, get used to it.

  • First off: XP is not going to be around forever.

    For those of you who missed the update a while back, Microsoft said that they were only going to be supporting/offering XP for a little while longer. While yes, you could hack XP, as many others have done/plan to do, what good would that be? Ok, so you have one of the most stable versions of windows *currently*. If you think that having 7 year old-based software is the way to do things, by all means, go for it. I salute you for your dedication to old technology. I, however, would rather take the risk of trying something new, something that will be able to update for newer hardware a lot easier and have newer features to explore. I don't claim that Vista is the ultimate champion over XP, or that it ever will be. I only claim that it has the potential for that, and for that reason I will stick with it.

    Second: DirectX.

    "DirectX 11 will add new compute shader technology that Microsoft says will allow GPUs to be used "for more than just 3D graphics," allowing developers to utilize video cards as parallel processors."
    While my first (and probably only) purpose for using DX is for gaming, there are plenty of other uses, and Microsoft is addressing that. The gaming community often (from what I've seen) assumes that DX is solely made for them. This is not to say that they aren't a major consumer of products with regard to DX, but that there are other applications for it.

    As for fast upgrades, get used to it. The world we live in is a turntable of new stuff. Consider the iPhone. It started at (i think) $400. Now the new version, which just came out, is only $200, and with more features. DX11 is probably in the first case not going to be coming out tomorrow, let alone the hardware to fully use its capabilities. If you think that the innovation for newer, better products is going to slow down, you're tragically mistaken. Now, saying that, it most likely will not exceed the pace of the crowd purchasing it.

    Third: DX10/11 on XP

    It won't happen. As mentioned previously, XP is no longer going to be sold soon, but also there remains just the simple reason that it would be endorsing stagnation in development of something new. Old dogs can only learn so many new tricks (pardon the terrible idiom/whatever part of speech that is).

    Vista (while having bugs) and the coming Windows 7 are the future, and there is no denying that. Not simply because they have a different name, or different look, but because they are/will be made for now. And after a while, they will be replaced, with undoubted better features, new DirectX, etc. Change is the only thing that keeps things moving in this world. As IndigoAK said, yeah, they probably could have put dx10 on dos. But what would be the point? 16x AA on a 320 x 240 screen?