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DirectX 12 targeting Holiday 2015, preview release coming this year [Update]

The key feature of DirectX 12 is Direct3D 12, which Microsoft's Anuj Gosalia jokingly described as "more Direct than ever." As expected, it will run across "all Microsoft platforms," including "the lowest of smartphones, to game consoles, to the highest-end graphics cards."


At Game Developers Conference, Microsoft detailed DirectX 12. Promising a "console-like API," the key feature of DirectX 12 is Direct3D 12, which Microsoft's Anuj Gosalia jokingly described as "more Direct than ever." As expected, it will run across "all Microsoft platforms," including "the lowest of smartphones, to game consoles, to the highest-end graphics cards."

Direct3D 12 will allow developers to "fully exploit the GPU." As a result of the update, Gosalia promises that Xbox One games will see "increased performance."

In a 3DMark demo, performance increased significantly simply by moving to D3D12 code, with no optimization. With D3D12, multi-threading is more scalable, with asynchronous command list submissions and "near-perfect scaling" across CPU cores. In the demo shown during the presentation, a jungle scene was rendered in 3D, with resources almost evenly divided across the four CPU cores.

D312 is a "lower-level API," which will allow "console-like development." Turn 10 Studios' Chris Tector took the stage to talk about porting Forza 5 to DX11, but there was too much CPU overhead. However, porting the game to D3D12 made it possible. It took a 4 man-month effort to port the rendering engine from Xbox One D3D11.X to D3D12.

The Forza 5 rendering demo showed a P12 driving around, hitting a very steady 60fps. "We're very excited to see console-style development on PC through D3D12, and we're especially excited to see these features come back to Xbox One," Tector said. Unfortunately, no PC port of Forza 5 was announced.

On day one, all Nvidia DirectX 11 hardware will support DirectX 12. "We've already delivered DirectX 12 drivers to developers already," Nvidia's Tony Tamasi announced at the panel.

For mobile, DirectX 12 offers a number of benefits. "We have a lot of cores as well," Qualcomm's Eric Demers pointed out. He says that DX12 will offer "improved power efficiency," with more efficient use of multicore CPUs with the new D3D12 runtime. "We're excited about seeing Xbox and PC titles moving to the mobile platform," Demers added, saying that a unified runtime will ease ports.

Gosalia says that by release, about 50% of gaming PCs should be able to run DirectX 12, joking that "100 percent of Xbox Ones" will support the API. DX12 is targeting "Holiday 2015," however early access preview releases will be available later this year.

However, what OSes will DX12 land on? "We understand your desire to get DirectX on the broadest amount of platforms," Gosalia said, but he refused to say anything specific regarding Windows 7. He did confirm Windows XP won't be supported after a joking question from the audience. "You'll be hearing more from us soon," he said.

Andrew Yoon was previously a games journalist creating content at Shacknews.

From The Chatty
  • reply
    March 20, 2014 10:15 AM

    Andrew Yoon posted a new article, DirectX 12 detailed, promises 'increased performance' for Xbox One & PC.

    The key feature of DirectX 12 is Direct3D 12, which Microsoft's Anuj Gosalia jokingly described as "more Direct than ever." As expected, it will run across "all Microsoft platforms," including "the lowest of smartphones, to game consoles, to the highest-end graphics cards."

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      March 20, 2014 10:22 AM

      The question is, will it be integrated into the OS again?

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      March 20, 2014 10:25 AM

      Didn't read the article, but the quote implies that they won't be keeping this away from people are still using Windows 7. Is this true?

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        March 20, 2014 10:26 AM

        The talk is still ongoing, so that info should be coming soon.

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          March 20, 2014 10:39 AM

          Man, I hope not. I want to stick with 7 as long as I can.

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            March 20, 2014 10:41 AM

            I wouldn't expect Microsoft to release a new DirectX version on an OS that is almost 5 years old.

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              March 20, 2014 10:49 AM

              Assuming they want people to use it they will.

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                March 20, 2014 10:54 AM

                DirectX 10 was a Vista exclusive, and DirectX 11.1 is exclusive to Windows 8.

                It will likely be another 2-3 years before we see many games utilizing DirectX 12, at which point most people will have moved on to Windows 8 or Windows 9.

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              March 20, 2014 10:50 AM

              people think those are still holding on to XP are stupid, but 7 will need to be pried from my cold dead hands as long as the shit that is 8 is my only option

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                March 20, 2014 1:10 PM

                I was an XP die-hard up until like two years ago, so I can't even approach that topic without being a hypocrite. :P

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            March 20, 2014 10:51 AM

            Unfortunately, Microsoft dodged the OS question completely. When asked if Win 7 would be supported, Microsoft simply said they can't answer that question right now.

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              March 20, 2014 10:54 AM

              Yeah, Windows 9 for DX12.

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              March 20, 2014 10:59 AM

              I bet they can't answer this yet because they haven't decided how to approach it completely. Consider that they did the integration route for DX11.x. So, they would either have to patch it out, patch a bypass for 12 to work independently like 9 did, skip Vista/7 completely assume they thought ahead in 8 to allow hooks to make some kind of update work.

              That said, it presents issues on how to handle it on the other platforms. Xbox One is going to be integrated since it's a closed environment and they need maximum performance. But the other platforms aren't as clear, and battery drain/optimization vs what's present today may dictate which way they go.

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                March 20, 2014 11:08 AM

                I agree. It's very smart to learn from the Win8 debacle. They could get a LOT of positive feedback if they announced it will be fully integrated into windows 7.... but, of course, they want to announce new stuff on NEW products. apple kills the iphone5 to launch the 5c and 5s, but MS doesn't have that flexibility yet. they can't kill win7 and win8 to force something new.

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                  March 20, 2014 11:12 AM

                  i don't think they have much to gain by having dx12 be on windows 7. the os is already almost 5 years old. it'll be a boatload of work, and they don't want another xp.

                  assuming dx12 is a part of windows 9, having it ported to windows 8 is a pretty good compromise. it satisfies microsoft's desires of people moving to something newer that has an app store, and makes people who feel burned by windows 8 might feel a little better about their situation.

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                    March 20, 2014 11:20 AM

                    it's also a pretty compelling way to get the high end PC crowd to embrace Windows 8/9.

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                      March 20, 2014 3:03 PM

                      No they won't. Just look at DX 10 and Vista. How'd that work out for Microsoft?

                      Exactly. There's still DX9 games coming out.

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                March 20, 2014 7:06 PM

                Considering that DX11.1 and 11.2 are exclusive to windows 8/8.1 I doubt you will see DX12 on Windows 7. It is a shame really as we mightt end up repeating what happened with DX10/Vista. The adoption of DX10 was held back for years because of the public perception of Vista. It would be good if they could find a way to backport it to Windows 7 but I am not holding out hope on that happening.

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                March 20, 2014 10:48 PM

                I bet it's because they haven't figured out how to apply a thick layer of PR sugar coating on their decision.

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      March 20, 2014 10:44 AM

      This is amazing news! \m/

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      March 20, 2014 10:46 AM

      Oh interesting. Doesn't require a new graphics card

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      March 20, 2014 10:48 AM

      I'd say "Poor Mantle," but no one can afford to buy those cards for gaming anyway.

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        March 20, 2014 11:05 AM

        Yeah, DX12 being backwards compatible with DX11 cards is the death knell of Mantle. Unless MS's API is seriously crippled somehow of course.

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        March 20, 2014 11:32 AM

        what? the R7 250 only costs $87 and can use mantle.

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      March 20, 2014 11:15 AM

      Wow.... don't have to upgrade. Yet.... DDR4 and new Intel CPUs I'm waiting on doe.

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        March 20, 2014 1:38 PM

        Are there advantages to DDR4 vs DDR3 at the same frequency?

        I'd wait and see what memory clock rates for the new platforms are going to be. There might be no advantage unless you overclock or wait until later CPUs support high memory clock rates.

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          March 20, 2014 1:43 PM

          here is what Crucial is saying:

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            March 20, 2014 1:57 PM


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              March 20, 2014 2:19 PM

              maybe, maybe not. It all depends on what intel supports out the gate and if/how much the memory controller can be overclocked.
              Haswell is currently running DDR3-1600 as a standard (which can be overclocked), but if DDR4 comes in at a higher clock rate with the first gen Intel CPUs it might be an improvement.

              The big question is, if it will make any difference for gaming. Are games bounded by memory performance right now? Also consider that DDR4 is probably going to be more expensive at the start.

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      March 20, 2014 12:41 PM

      On day one, all Nvidia DirectX 11 hardware will support DirectX 12

      this got me excited. maybe an upgrade sometime july next year for me.

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      March 20, 2014 12:47 PM

      Holiday 2015... damn was hoping it would be out by the end of this year.

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      March 20, 2014 3:07 PM

      [All the slides] and more info :

      Wish it was out his year all well, still the fact that it supports DX11 cards is so huge, 2015 is going to be massive.

    • reply
      March 21, 2014 12:43 AM

      Will it work on Windows 7?

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