Home Gaming Is Microsoft’s DirectX 12 a PC gaming revolution?

Is Microsoft’s DirectX 12 a PC gaming revolution?

2 min read
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This one's for Darryn.

Because it was a public holiday on Friday and we were exercising our human rights to sit in our underwear and play videogames, we missed Microsoft’s great big DirectX 12 announcement  at GDC last week. so let’s have a look, and see what the new API will offer.

As we expected, DirectX 12 promises to give developers lower level access to hardware working similarly to the way consoles do, extracting more, out of less hardware.

“DirectX 12, “ Microsoft asserts “focuses on maximizing performance, by efficiently spreading computing tasks across multiple CPU cores, thereby improving PC utilization by 50 percent.”

Mostly, DirectX 12 is all about reducing overhead – though like AMD’s mantle most of the gains will be seen on CPU bound instructions as opposed to those on the GPU. What it does mean, in the end, is that PC gaming hardware will be more efficient.

“DX12’s focus is on enabling a dramatic increase in visual richness through a significant decrease in API-related CPU overhead,” said Nvidia engineer Henry Moreton.

“Historically, drivers and OS software have managed memory, state, and synchronisation on behalf of developers. However, inefficiencies result from the imperfect understanding of an application’s needs. DX12 gives the application the ability to directly manage resources and state, and perform necessary synchronisation. As a result, developers of advanced applications can efficiently control the GPU, taking advantage of their intimate knowledge of the game’s behaviour.”

That all sounds fantastic. To show off DX12, Microsoft demoed Forza 5 running at 1080p/60fps on a PC to demonstrate just how efficient the whole thing is. Using a GTX Titan Black GPU, one of the most outrageously expensive video cards on the planet. 

While that doesn’t show off the future of Pc gaming’s graphics, it does speak of how easy it is porting games from the new consoles to DirectX 12 – which is indeed a good thing for gamers. Best of all is that you may not even need new hardware to get the most out of DirectX 12. Microsoft estimates that 80% of the current crop of cards will be able to use the API. Nvidia cards based on Fermi, Kepler and Maxwell architecture, and AMD cards that use GCN won’t need to be binned. It’ll also be coming to tablets and phones, and yes, the Xbox One.

As DirectX will undoubtedly carry on being the premier API (though Open GL is once again gaining much prevalence) this could put quite a dent in AMD’s own Mantle aspirations, save for one thing: Mantle is out and available right now, whereas we’ll only be seeing DX12 next year.

Last Updated: March 24, 2014

83 Comments

  1. Macethy

    March 24, 2014 at 11:36

    Wait so DX12 optomises CPU performance while Mantle allows better access to GPU architecture and memory.
    Am I missing something or are these two APIs doing completely different things now?

    Reply

  2. Alien Emperor Trevor

    March 24, 2014 at 11:36

    Unless you’re counting those barely visible foreheads too, that’s only DX10 in the header image 😛

    Reply

    • Hammersteyn

      March 24, 2014 at 11:54

      hehehe

      Reply

    • Exalted Overlord Geoffrey Tim

      March 24, 2014 at 12:11

      The foreheads count. To 3, presumably.

      Reply

      • Alien Emperor Trevor

        March 24, 2014 at 12:40

        I dunno, apparently they only have 2 words for ya!

        Reply

  3. ToshZA

    March 24, 2014 at 11:37

    This basically tells us nothing of the real-world gains we’ll see from DX12. Just more of the big showboating of the best of the best, which already rand at ridiculous settings before DX12.

    Reply

    • Skyblue

      March 24, 2014 at 16:58

      Yeah and let’s be honest here, Forza 5 even runs on an X1 so it can run on anything!

      Reply

      • ToshZA

        March 24, 2014 at 17:12

        Ouch!!!

        Reply

  4. Alien Emperor Trevor

    March 24, 2014 at 11:39

    They demoed efficiency while using a Titan? That’s like demonstrating how to drive 60km/h in a Ferrari. Why?

    Reply

    • Sk3tz0

      March 24, 2014 at 11:54

      Just to prove how much of a Master race the Pc is not 😛 … (runz)

      Reply

      • PsyKo

        March 24, 2014 at 13:01

        Hope you’re really fit, with a comment like that here

        Reply

    • geelslang

      March 24, 2014 at 12:42

      Would like to kown what fps a titan black can achivee running Forza 5 if its not capped.

      Reply

  5. TiMsTeR1033

    March 24, 2014 at 11:42

    The video of forza 5 using DX 12

    Reply

  6. TiMsTeR1033

    March 24, 2014 at 11:42

    • Macethy

      March 24, 2014 at 11:54

      Does anyone understand anything that he is saying?

      Reply

      • TiMsTeR1033

        March 24, 2014 at 11:55

        I dunno, I got no sound at work.

        Reply

        • Sk3tz0

          March 24, 2014 at 11:56

          All the Youtube Videos the Same to me here at work.. ERROR The Request URL could not be retrieved.. ACCESS DENIED!!!!!! get back to work lazy fkr..

          Reply

          • TiMsTeR1033

            March 24, 2014 at 12:00

            Thankfully I have no restrictions on internet at work, despite the fact its often slow, as boss downloads music all day long using utorrent.

          • Brenz

            March 24, 2014 at 12:01

            inconsiderate asshole, doesnt he know you also need to do no work

          • TiMsTeR1033

            March 24, 2014 at 12:06

            I know right! what’s worse is I am subjected to his poor choices in music most of the day, sure I don’t mind some ACDC and Black sabbath but not when its on constant loop the same song for 2 hours at a time.

          • Brenz

            March 24, 2014 at 12:07

            ACDC on loop is not my idea of a good time

          • TiMsTeR1033

            March 24, 2014 at 12:07

            try hearing thunderstrike for 3 hours straight.

          • Brenz

            March 24, 2014 at 12:08

            mother of god.
            bring own earphones to work.

          • TiMsTeR1033

            March 24, 2014 at 12:09

            I do, but the days I forget my ears bleed lol

          • Sk3tz0

            March 24, 2014 at 12:16

            Atleast its not Man o War all day.. or that one song THE ACE OF SPADES!!!

          • Brenz

            March 24, 2014 at 12:20

            holy fuck i hate that song

          • TiMsTeR1033

            March 24, 2014 at 12:24

            oh thats been done before. Ace of spades hit all time high on a rainy winters day last year with clocking around 4 hours or more, with The Spanish train, and kyrponite for the remaining hours of the day.

          • Admiral Chief of Auraxis

            March 24, 2014 at 12:27

            But, but, WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY

          • TiMsTeR1033

            March 24, 2014 at 12:29

            Hey man, I don’t know. My boss is a very odd guy. The type when he likes a song he kills it and then moves on to another song, worst thing is the entire collection of nightwish gets played to death every now and again.

          • Sk3tz0

            March 24, 2014 at 13:22

            Atleast he not a Rebecca Black fan..

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            March 24, 2014 at 12:39

            If you’ve heard it for 3 hours straight you’d know it’s Thunderstruck.

          • TiMsTeR1033

            March 24, 2014 at 12:41

            Dude I’m sick, can’t be bothered thinking too much today.

          • Skyblue

            March 24, 2014 at 16:55

            Or any other day ;-p

            Get well soon!

          • Skyblue

            March 24, 2014 at 16:55

            Hehe

          • Skyblue

            March 24, 2014 at 16:54

            Your boss is an ass and he’s gonna get busted.

          • Brenz

            March 24, 2014 at 12:02

            maybe one of the master race commenting in this article could enlighten you on how to get around that block….

    • geelslang

      March 24, 2014 at 12:38

      I wish they would release Forza 5 on pc.

      Reply

      • Mark Treloar

        March 24, 2014 at 14:49

        Microsoft has a PC gaming announcement for Summer they said……watch this space you may well get your wish.

        Reply

      • ToshZA

        March 24, 2014 at 17:15

        PC has outgrown Forza 5. It’s not next-gen enough.

        Reply

    • Skyblue

      March 24, 2014 at 16:59

      Forza 5 even runs on an Xbox One Timmeh, how is that a benchmark?

      Reply

  7. Kromas

    March 24, 2014 at 11:42

    DX12 … Yawn.

    Reply

  8. Hammersteyn

    March 24, 2014 at 11:43

    Saw this and immediately thought of PC gamers when they beat their chests on how superior they are. Not all of them are like this though
    http://awegif.com/gifs/1261.gif

    Reply

    • Ottokie

      March 24, 2014 at 11:50

      I might love my PC but this still brings a tear to my eye…

      Reply

      • Hammersteyn

        March 24, 2014 at 11:53

        Now that was truly next gen. I’m still a draadsitter but when games like Infamous and Stick of Truth comes out it keeps pulling me back to console.

        Reply

    • Rince

      March 24, 2014 at 11:59

      Hahaha 🙂

      Reply

      • Alien Emperor Trevor

        March 24, 2014 at 12:08

        That’s not funny. Safe sex isn’t a joke & condoms are an essential component.

        Reply

        • Admiral Chief of Auraxis

          March 24, 2014 at 12:12

          …you need to HAVE it first Trev…….

          Reply

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            March 24, 2014 at 12:37

            I have a condom :/

          • Admiral Chief of Auraxis

            March 24, 2014 at 12:38

            XD, well played

        • Brenz

          March 24, 2014 at 12:12

          Feminist

          Reply

          • Admiral Chief of Auraxis

            March 24, 2014 at 12:12

            XD

        • Rince

          March 24, 2014 at 12:15

          • Admiral Chief of Auraxis

            March 24, 2014 at 12:20

            Heh, whole new meaning to “giving head”

          • TiMsTeR1033

            March 24, 2014 at 12:27

            would of been more funny if the guy passed out from lack of air lol.

  9. Norm

    March 24, 2014 at 11:44

    Haha @ the header image.

    Reply

  10. Alien Emperor Trevor

    March 24, 2014 at 11:45

    I’m thinking Nvidia is really excited for DX12, because they’ll be able to charge a premium for DX12 compatible cards.

    Reply

    • Rags

      March 24, 2014 at 11:46

      All Nvidia DX11 cards are DX12 compatible 🙂

      Reply

      • TiMsTeR1033

        March 24, 2014 at 11:46

        That’s good news!

        Reply

      • Alien Emperor Trevor

        March 24, 2014 at 11:47

        That wasn’t really my point, but it dents my cynicism regardless 😉

        Reply

        • Rags

          March 24, 2014 at 11:49

          I hear ya. At least they know a lot of us are suckers for punishment(including me) ;D

          Reply

  11. Admiral Chief of Auraxis

    March 24, 2014 at 11:48

    🙂

    Reply

    • Hammersteyn

      March 24, 2014 at 11:49

      I take it you use Nvidia?

      Reply

      • Alien Emperor Trevor

        March 24, 2014 at 11:53

        lol you troll 😉

        Reply

      • Admiral Chief of Auraxis

        March 24, 2014 at 12:03

        Smiling because of header, and smiling about the order that the XBone was rated : “tablets, phones and then only XBone…”

        Reply

        • Hammersteyn

          March 24, 2014 at 12:04

          The word count is too high. I fell asleep during the article 😛

          Reply

  12. Uberutang

    March 24, 2014 at 11:58

    Good news. This means I wont need to upgrade for many more years. Running Kepler all ready, was a bit worried about my CPU over the next 5 years…but if this pushes more stuff to the GPU’s I have…Bonus!

    Let us hope they make it work on Win7 and 8 and not just Win 9, or we will have a VISTA/DX10 thing all over again.

    Reply

    • Hammersteyn

      March 24, 2014 at 12:00

      Pardon my cynicism, but isn’t DX 11 restricted to Win8?

      Reply

      • Uberutang

        March 24, 2014 at 12:03

        Nope.

        DX11.1 is Windows 8 only

        Reply

        • Hammersteyn

          March 24, 2014 at 12:03

          Thanks

          Reply

          • Uberutang

            March 24, 2014 at 12:06

            And I think it was only for AMD cards also? So very limited use (Only BF4 so far as I can tell, and there you can also MANTLE)

          • Uberutang

            March 24, 2014 at 12:10

            LOL it gets more complicated:

            Direct3D 11.1, which is included with Windows 8, Windows RT, and Windows Server 2012. Partial support for Direct3D 11.1 is available on Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 via thePlatform Update for Windows 7, which is available through the Platform Update for Windows 7.

          • Hammersteyn

            March 24, 2014 at 12:28

            So, buy windows 8?

          • Uberutang

            March 24, 2014 at 13:07

            LOL 0.1 DX does not offer enough to go through that pain. And BUY?

          • Hammersteyn

            March 24, 2014 at 13:42

            Ssssssssh. Pirates aren’t supposed to attract attention.

          • Uberutang

            March 24, 2014 at 13:46

            Hehehehe. Always legit on Windows here. I just never pay for them. Job perks.

          • Hammersteyn

            March 24, 2014 at 13:56

            Lucky you 😛

  13. Ultimo_Cleric N7

    March 24, 2014 at 12:01

    SUCH a header win Geoff

    Reply

  14. Rags

    March 24, 2014 at 12:21

    Weee, hope it can make UE4 run faster at Epic settings. 🙂

    Reply

  15. UltimateNinjaPandaDudeGuy

    March 24, 2014 at 12:25

    If it really does what it is promising I will be making a move over to the needed OS.

    I see it too many times that a game utilizes only one core and that irritates the crap out of me.

    Reply

  16. kkaushar2007

    March 24, 2014 at 13:07

    Bihar me fir laalu ki chalti aane ki sambhaona ‘

    Reply

  17. MakeItLegal

    March 24, 2014 at 14:27

    as some one who has recently purchased a pc , with all the bells and whistles , i for one hope , my brand new shit will work with the brand new shit , and 2nd , all my brand new shit will work with MS brand new shit

    just saying ..

    i bought the MSI N670 4gig Oc card , that should be DX12 capable right ?

    Reply

  18. Gethyn ThomasQuail

    March 24, 2014 at 21:04

    OpenGL is already (will always be) better than any version of DirectX, no matter how high you make the number on it.

    Reply

  19. Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

    March 25, 2014 at 09:35

    But I thought the cloud was supposed to bring on a gaming revolution…. Oh Microsoft…

    Reply

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