Microsoft's DirectX 12 to boost gaming on PCs, mobile devices

Microsoft unveils DirectX 12, with games based on the new API available at the end of 2015

DirectX 12 benchmarking

DirectX 12 benchmarking

Windows and Xbox games will receive a significant graphics and performance boost with Microsoft's new DirectX 12, a set of application programming interfaces and tools used in PC games.

Users can expect better-quality games with DirectX 12, Microsoft said Thursday. The company announced DirectX 12 at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco.

DirectX tools work in the background to power games on PCs, tablets and smartphones using Windows operating systems. DirectX 12 will also be used to author games for Xbox One. Most games are already based on DirectX 11, but higher-quality games based on DirectX 12 will be out by the end of 2015, Microsoft said.

One of the most important updates in DirectX 12 is Direct3D 12, which "enables richer scenes, more objects, and full utilization of modern GPU hardware," Microsoft said.

DirectX 12 will work across all Microsoft devices and make game programming easier. It will harness the computing power of graphics processors and CPUs to deliver better gaming quality.

The company demonstrated the "Forza Motorsport 5" game at GDC to show the improvements in multicore GPU utilization by DirectX 12.

Microsoft also said it would "abstract" hardware, which would make it easier for programmers to write games. In essence, DirectX 12 will make the CPUs and GPUs transparent and programmers will have to worry less about writing code to specific hardware. However, most graphics rendering is done through GPUs, so Direct3D 12 has new pipeline, execution and rendering features that make processing via GPUs more efficient.

Users won't have to wait to buy new hardware to support DirectX 12, Microsoft said. More than 80 percent of gaming PCs being sold now will support DirectX 12.

Nvidia, Intel, Qualcomm and Advanced Micro Devices announced support for DirectX 12 before it was announced.

DirectX 12 will compete with AMD's low-level Mantle API (application programming interface), which is designed to take advantage of specific features in its Radeon GPUs to deliver a better gaming experience. However, AMD has said it will fully support DirectX 12.

Graphics chip maker Nvidia has its own low-level APIs, but said its latest graphics cards will support DX 12.

"Our work with Microsoft on DirectX 12 began more than four years ago with discussions about reducing resource overhead," said Nvidia spokesman Ken Brown in an email.

In addition to working closely with Microsoft, Nvidia has provided drivers and a DirectX 12 development kit to more than 15 game developers.

Developers have been asking for a leaner API that allows them to control hardware resources while extracting more performance from GPUs, Nvidia said Thursday.

"DirectX 12 was designed from scratch to provide the infrastructure for these advanced applications," Nvidia said.

Microsoft will share more details on DirectX 12 at the Build 2014 conference in San Francisco early next month. Meanwhile, game developers can sign up for an early access program to get DirectX 12 tools.

Agam Shah covers PCs, tablets, servers, chips and semiconductors for IDG News Service. Follow Agam on Twitter at @agamsh. Agam's e-mail address is agam_shah@idg.com

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags application developmentgdcMicrosoftAdvanced Micro Devicesgamesnvidiasoftware

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Agam Shah

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?