DirectX 12: What exactly is it and why is it important to PC gamers
DirectX 12: What exactly is it and why is it important to PC gamers

For the average gamer, PC game growth must appear a tricky business -- because it's.

With consoles, programmers have a single hardware set for every brand (Xbox, PlayStation, Nintendo): a single processor, a single graphics processor, fixed memory, input options and other standard hardware components.

For the PC, nevertheless, game programmers face an endless number of hardware configurations. Getting games to work properly over a huge world of graphics cards, motherboards etc seems just like pulling a rabbit out of a magician's hat.

That is the reason, according to what has been whispered throughout the previous ten years, programmers have swarmed round the consoles: they have adequate hardware on the cheap, piracy is reduced and programmers virtually have immediate access to the hardware components when programming their software.

This latter feature is key, as programmers may squeeze every ounce of performance out of hardware in addition to make the most of built-in component features. That is the reason Microsoft's DirectX is indeed important for PC gaming.

What is DirectX?

DirectX, to put it simply, is software created by Microsoft that speaks into a PC's hardware components. Specifically, it is a set of application programming interfaces, or APIs, designed to handle tasks associated with creating 2D and 3D vector graphics, producing video and playing audio on the Windows platform.

Nvidia:'DX12's focus is about empowering a dramatic increase in visual wealth through a significant reduction in the API-related CPU overhead'

It rivals OpenGL, another graphics-oriented API bundle introduced in 1992, that's open source and in constant development from the Khronos Group technology consortium. And, while OpenGL is a cross-platform API, it does not have the benefit of being native to the Windows platform.

DirectX first appeared in Windows 95. At the moment, most PC games conducted on the older DOS platform, which allowed developers to"speak" directly to PC components like the audio card, video card, mouse and much more.

Many veteran PC players should recall the old times of editing the Config.sys file along with the Autoexec.bat file to prepare the appropriate settings surroundings so that a specific game may get the job done properly (IRQs and DMAs were edited also, but that's another story).

Windows 95 did not have this direct line of communication -- before Microsoft developed its DirectX package of APIs.

At first, DirectX did not take off, as programmers mostly relied upon OpenGL in the time and programmed economically in the DOS environment. Microsoft's graphics API bundle gained momentum with time once programmers figured out it would not go away.

Therefore, DirectX seemingly pushed OpenGL out of the way by the time version 9 (DX9) struck the PC gaming arena in 2002. Windows XP probably hastened DirectX's expansion, as that specific platform was exceptionally stable and remains in use throughout the planet. Windows 10 is thought to be equally as hot, and it stems the most up-to-date from the DirectX series, DirectX 12.

XBox One DirectX 12

What DirectX 12 can do for your games ?

The downside with DirectX earlier this newest release is that it didn't provide"non invasive" access to hardware components seen with the consoles. To deal with this, AMD introduced its Mantle API package, so that programmers could better optimize their software to AMD chips.

We have seen no reason for Microsoft to deliver DX12 support to old versions of Windows.

Basically, graphics chips are now just as strong as the primary processor, shooting on computing tasks other than graphics rendering.

AMD's Mantle enabled developers to use this electricity in harmonious Radeon graphics processors. Mantle was seemingly well-received and played , however it was short lived, as Microsoft quickly released a version of DirectX that gave programmers greater access to hardware.

"DX12's focus is about empowering a dramatic increase in visual wealth through a significant reduction in API-related CPU overhead," stated Nvidia's Henry Moreton past year. "Historically, drivers and OS software have handled memory, state, and synchronization on behalf of programmers. But, inefficiencies result in the imperfect comprehension of an application's requirements. DX12 gives the application the ability to instantly control resources and state and execute the necessary synchronization. As a result, developers of innovative applications can effectively control the GPU, making the most of their intimate understanding of the match behaviour."

By changing more tasks on the graphics processor, the main processor has less to perform, thus the game is not bogged down by what is going on in the operating system's background. The further cores the greater, meaning that a processor with two cores (aka two processors packed into a single bundle ) is not quite as perky as a processor with four cores.

The exact same is true with a graphics processor, and you're able to get a speed increase if you install a couple of the very same graphics chip to some platform (called SLI through Nvidia and CrossFire through AMD). Together with DirectX 12, games will probably see much better performance because the load is pitched between the numerous cores concurrently instead of ditching loads onto a single core at one time.

This is a major deal, as DirectX 11 does not take advantage of multiple cores in this manner, thus one core is performing all the work while the others remain idle. The days of having one CPU core and one GPU core went out in the early aughts, and Microsoft is finally getting up to speed with this newest DirectX release.

Consider it this way: computers have transferred out of a single-lane into a eight-lane superhighway, enabling the CPU to throw manufacturing and compute commands into the GPU quicker than previously. For the gamer, that means better framerates and a greater picture quality.

Do you want DX12 ? Let's install Windows 10

Do you want DX12 ? Let's install Windows 10

The attractiveness of DirectX 12 is that it is a native API of Windows 10. Subsequently, Windows 10 can be used on plenty of devices from desktops, to laptops, to tablets, to phones and even on the Xbox One. DirectX 12 can also be backwards-compatible to a level, permitting PC gamers to play their favorite names without needing to tear out their graphics card to get a new"compatible" model (normally ).

If you'd like a more sophisticated explanation of DirectX 12's three key few places, check out Microsoft's DirectX 12 site here, composed by Matt Sandy. In brief, he outlines what is called a pipeline state representation, job entry, and resource access.

In addition, he provides a graph showing that DirectX 12 provides a 50% improvement in CPU usage over DirectX 11, along with a much better distribution of work over multiple sequences of programmed directions, or threads.

The good news is that there are a range of PC games that are already taking advantage of DirectX 12. These include Ashes of the Singularity, The Elder Scrolls Online, Rise of the Tomb Raider, Gears of War: Ultimate Edition and Hitman among others. Quantum Break is expected to support the new API in Addition to Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, Star Citizen, Forza Motorsport 6: Apex and others.

Please remember that this is a extremely simplified explanation of exactly what DirectX 12 brings into the PC gaming desk. Basically, this API should provide much better performance in games that support it, but that also means programmers will probably have to shell out spots to deliver their names around DirectX 12 rate, if at all possible.

GPU providers AMD and Nvidia are already knee-deep in support with their drivers, so it is only a matter of time until we see the advantages of what DirectX 12 offers.

In case you have yet to update to Windows 10, DirectX 12 is as good a reason as any to do so. We have seen no reason for Microsoft to deliver DX12 support to old versions of Windows. Consequently, if you would like to play the hottest games at their best, you may not have an option no matter.

Then again, given that it is absolutely free and is basically a souped-up Windows 7, it should not be that hard of a transition -- particularly in the title of greater games.