Picking up from where we left off with last week’s discussion of GDC presentations, Microsoft has released a short teaser regarding their GDC presentation. The previously mentioned “DirectX: Evolving Microsoft's Graphics Platform” session isn’t just a session on low-level APIs, as we first surmised, but will in fact be the formal unveiling of DirectX 12.

Just what DirectX 12 will contain remains to be seen. Given the session descriptions for this and other sessions, low-level (ish) interfaces for Direct3D seems likely. But it’s not clear if there are updates in store for any of the other components of DirectX.

Historically speaking, Microsoft has been overdue for a new DirectX announcement. Other than the various point updates over the last couple of years, Microsoft hasn’t had a major DirectX announcement since DirectX 11 in 2009, with DirectX 10 coming 3 years before that in 2006.

In the meantime it’s interesting to note who’s listed as a participating partner in Microsoft’s tease. The big 3 – AMD, Intel, and NVIDIA – are included, but so is Qualcomm. Qualcomm of course is not a player in the traditional dGPU or x86 iGPU spaces, but they are a significant vendor in the Windows on ARM space, having their SoCs in products such as the Nokia Lumia tablets. Consequently, with Microsoft continuing to push into the tablet space with Windows RT, it stands to reason that some of DirectX 12's functionality will be tuned for tablets too.

Anyhow, we’ll have more details on March 20th when Microsoft makes their formal presentation.

Source: Microsoft

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  • Sabresiberian - Wednesday, March 5, 2014 - link

    It's just an announcement, and not being certified for a later version of DX has never made a video solution "obsolete".
  • meacupla - Wednesday, March 5, 2014 - link

    not if you run a 2560x1440 monitor.
  • HaeHei - Wednesday, March 5, 2014 - link

    So if i get a 780ti will it be compatible with directx 12 or should i just wait ?
  • Gigaplex - Wednesday, March 5, 2014 - link

    It's not even compatible with 11.2.
  • anandreader106 - Wednesday, March 5, 2014 - link

    Or 11.1...
  • inighthawki - Thursday, March 6, 2014 - link

    Kepler is partially 1..2 compliant (has support for tier 1 tiled resources), but it's cricial we make an important distinction. Many people do not understand the difference between the API, and the feature level.

    Each version of DirectX exposes new hardware features that are required on the hardware to make it "DirectX N compliant." This would be, for example, geometry shader support in DirectX10, and Compute/Tessellation in DirectX11. However, what a lot of people do not always understand is that the DirectX API supports what they refer to as "hardware downleveling." This is the fancy way of saying that your game written on DirectX11 will run on your DirectX9 hardware, as long as the game does not enable any features that require hardware support. A DX11 game might run fine on a DX9 compatible card, but you won't be able to enable hardware tessellation.

    Assuming that the primary goal of DX12 is to be "closer to the metal," we are likely looking at primarily API changes to remove overhead, whcih means it should continue to support older video cards. In almost all certainty, your DX11 compliant 780Ti will absolutely work on DX12. You may just be missing a couple high end features, of which most developers probably won't even use for a few years. Even DX11's hardware tessellation is fairly uncommon these days, and DX11 has been out for 4+ years.

    My point being, please do not make generic comments like "It's not even compatible with 11.2" because you are likely just confusing someone who does not know the distinction. A 780Ti is 100% compatible with 11.2, just not all of the 11.2 feature set.
  • haukionkannel - Thursday, March 6, 2014 - link

    Well DX12 is not MS Mantle answer. DX12 is new DX version and that is that. But DX12 serie (or DX13) can be a base to develop close metal extensions to DX family.
    The MS has said that they are considering of using closer metal in future DX versions, so maybe we will see DX12.1 or DX13 that does support it, but it definitely is not ready for it with DX12 release!
    The interesting is, when there are/will be GPU that support whole DX12 feature set? Maybe at the end of this year... Then we wait 3-4 years to see those features used in games... so that is not so interesting thing to do... like watching how the paint dry...
  • inighthawki - Thursday, March 6, 2014 - link

    Sorry I'm a little confused. I had a hard time reading your post. Why do you think DX12 isn't going to be close to the metal? They said right in their GDC summary that that's what they are doing. I expect DX12 to absolutely be an answer to Mantle (maybe not in a direct response to Mantle's existence, but certainly a competitor).
  • chizow - Thursday, March 6, 2014 - link

    That's interesting Nvidia isn't DX11.2 compatible, someone should probably explain that to Microsoft since they were in fact, demonstrating DX11.2 on Nvidia hardware at \build\ last year. ;)


    Nvidia was supporting tiled resources 2.5 years ago btw in OpenGL with Rage just as an FYI.
  • inighthawki - Wednesday, March 5, 2014 - link

    This is a tricky question to answer. It depends on what you're asking. DirectX is a software API that also standardizes features. DX11 for example, exposes compute and tessellation, but the DX11 API itself runs downlevel on 9.0a and above hardware.

    So will it work on a 780Ti? Almost guaranteed. Will there be new features in DX12 that the 780Ti won't support? Probably. The question you really need to ask yourself is, what kind of investment do you want to make? Putting the facts together:

    1) DX12 likely won't ship for another year or whenever Windows 9 gets released. That's a good solid 12+ months of you holding out on buying a new card and waiting before the API itself ships
    2) After it ships, how long until official DX12 hardware ships? Maybe right away, maybe another 6-12 months.
    3) In addition to that, how long before anyone ships a game that uses it? It took DICE quite a while to port frostbite and they got delayed a couple months after a decent head start.
    4) Since you are considering a 780Ti, you don't sound like the kind of person where money is a huge issue, otherwise you'd probably realize the horrible price/performance ratio you're getting out of that card. It sounds like when the time comes you won't have an issue upgrading again. Maybe even go halfway - get a cheaper card now, and the more expensive one later.

    My advice? Just get a card now. By the time a DX12 title ships using DX12 features with DX12 hardware and drivers available, your 780Ti will probably be considered old.

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