If you’re like me, you’re probably left wondering: Exactly how much power does the game developer have? DirectX® 12 is a new, “console-like” graphics API from Microsoft® that empowers game developers with more direct and obvious control of PC hardware. This direct or “explicit” control better exposes the hardware resources of AMD FX CPUs, AMD APUs, and AMD Radeon™ GPUs to yield higher hardware throughput and, ultimately, more performance for users.
Simply put, DirectX® 12 allows for new game designs previously considered impossible due to limitations of past DirectX® APIs.
DirectX® 12 is not just for high-end gaming PCs, either. AMD FX processors, AMD APUs and AMD Radeon™ GPUs based on the Graphics Core Next architecture are already DirectX® 12-compliant in Windows® 10. These AMD products found in a range of devices, including the Xbox One™, everyday PCs, thin and light notebooks, and more. AMD-based products big and small can take advantage of the exciting features DirectX® 12 has to offer.
There are three major features of the DirectX® 12 API specification that will have a significant impact on millions of gamers, particularly those with AMD Radeon™ GPUs, AMD APUs, or AMD FX CPUs. These features are:
Async Shaders allow a game engine to execute GPU compute or memory activities during “gaps” in the graphics workload presented by a game. Async Shaders are a new feature in DirectX® 12 that allow complex graphics tasks to use all available AMD Radeon™ graphics resources simultaneously. Breaking one big job into many small pieces allows the work to be done more quickly, yielding greater performance. AMD’s Graphics Core Next architecture has dedicated hardware, called Asynchronous Compute Engines (ACE), which are specifically designed to do this job at very high speed.
MULTI-THREADED COMMAND BUFFER RECORDING
Previous versions of DirectX® were not capable of fully utilizing a multi-core CPU like the AMD FX 8-core processor. Much of the graphics API work in a PC game would overload one or two CPU cores, ultimately stifling performance. With DirectX® 12, however, the work of a game’s graphics engine can easily be spread over all eight cores, leading to more work done in a shorter amount of time. This feature is already being used by AMD Gaming Evolved technology partner Oxide Games in Ashes of the Singularity, which offers image fidelity that was considered impossible on DirectX® 11.
Previous versions of DirectX® did not directly support multi-GPU configurations. Developers designed their own support in games and drivers, but there were often limitations: minimal control over the hardware, restricted GPU combinations, and difficulty optimizing graphics workloads for multiple GPUs. DirectX® 12’s explicit multi-adapter adds multi-GPU support to DirectX® for the first time, giving game developers a much finer and more direct level of control over PC hardware. This control can enable DirectX® 12 game engines to extract more performance from multiple GPUs, and use multi-GPU configurations that were not possible in DirectX® 11.
Make sure to check out the latest Diamond AMD Radeon R9 390X Graphics Card that features DirectX® 12 support at