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Oct 14, 2011

Windows 8 DirectX Feature Evolution

Windows 8 will not bring to the table an evolution of the underlying graphics platform of the same magnitude as the move from DirectX 10 to DirectX 11, as in fact, the OS still features DirectX 11. 

But this doesn’t mean that there aren’t improvements to speak of, because this is not the case. 

In fact, according to the software giant, the Windows 8 DirectX 11 feature enhancements will end up benefiting not only developers, but also end users and system manufacturers. 

The Redmond company published a whitepaper titled “Windows Display Driver Model Enhancements in Windows Developer Preview” on the Windows Dev Center, the hub set up especially for Windows 8, and launched with the release of Build 8102 Milestone 3 (M3). 

Microsoft stresses that even on lower-power hardware, applications designed to take advantage of DirectX will be able to deliver higher performance, pointing to configurations such as pixel formats (5551, 565, 4444) as an example. 

There are additional improvements that Microsoft highlighted for Windows 8 DirectX, including:
  • “High Level Shader model performance improvements that can enable developers to do more on the GPU without involving the CPU: Double-precision shader functionality 
  • Higher performance anti-aliasing path for D2D applications: Target-independent rasterization 
  • Higher performance for Direct3D11.1 applications on mobile platforms and power constraint devices that use tile-based renderers: No overwrite and discard
  • Added capabilities to enable shader debugging at all shader stages on DirectX 11.1 hardware: UAVs at every stage
  • Enabling Direct3D 11 applications to implement high-quality rendering algorithms without needing to allocate memory for large numbers of samples: Unordered access views with multi-sample anti-alias sample access
  • Improvements to deferred shading techniques: Logic ops
  • Efficient buffer management for game developers: Improved control of constant buffers.”

Early adopters can of course download the whitepaper dealing with WDDM 1.2, and get additional details about all Windows 8 DirectX enhancements. More importantly, they can also grab Windows 8 Developer Preview and test the release themselves, while remembering that this is still in pre-Beat stage and issues are inherent, including driver problems.

Windows 8 Developer Preview Build 8102 Milestone 3 (M3) is available for download here.


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