It’s day two of GDC in San Francisco and, as promised, Microsoft has announced the newest version of its DirectX gaming API. A sponsored GDC session dubbed "DirectX: Evolving Microsoft's Graphics Platform" was revealed earlier this month and Microsoft showed off DirectX 12 this morning alongside partners including Nvidia and AMD.
With DirectX 12 comes a new version of the Direct3D API. Microsoft promises it’s faster and more efficient than ever and is calling this ‘the API [we’ve] been waiting for.’ With support for PCs, laptops, Windows Phone devices, and Microsoft’s own Xbox One console (of course), Direct3D 12 boasts a lower level of hardware abstraction for improved multithread scaling and CPU utilization. There’s also reduced GPU overhead and a set of new rendering pipeline features that improve algorithm efficiency. Microsoft offered verification of performance improvements via 3DMark. That showed a 50 percent improvement in CPU utilization as well as improved distribution of work among threads.
Nvidia says it will support the DX12 API on all the DX11-class GPUs shipped so far, including those belonging to the Fermi, Kepler and Maxwell architectural families. Though DX12 will compete with AMD’s own Mantle API, AMD was at Microsoft’s session and Raja Kadouri did confirm DirectX 12 support for AMD’s GCN hardware.