First Thoughts

Bringing our preview of DirectX 12 to a close, what we’re seeing today is both a promising sign of what has been accomplished so far and a reminder of what is left to do. As it stands much of DirectX 12’s story remains to be told – features, feature levels, developer support, and more will only finally be unveiled by Microsoft next month at GDC 2015. So today’s preview is much more of a beginning than an end when it comes to sizing up the future of DirectX.

But for the time being we’re finally at a point where we can say the pieces are coming together, and we can finally see parts of the bigger picture. Drivers, APIs, and applications are starting to arrive, giving us our first look at DirectX 12’s performance. And we have to say we like what we’ve seen so far.

With DirectX 12 Microsoft and its partners set out to create a cross-vendor but still low-level API, and while there was admittedly little doubt they could pull it off, there has always been the question of how well they could do it. What kind of improvements and performance could you truly wring out of a new API when it has to work across different products and can never entirely avoid abstraction? The answer as it turns out is that you can still enjoy all of the major benefits of a low-level API, not the least of which are the incredible improvements in CPU efficiency and multi-threading.

That said, any time we’re looking at an early preview it’s important to keep our expectations in check, and that is especially the case with DirectX 12. Star Swarm is a best case scenario and designed to be a best case scenario; it isn’t so much a measure of real world performance as it is technological potential.

But to that end, it’s clear that DirectX 12 has a lot of potential in the right hands and the right circumstances. It isn’t going to be easy to master, and I suspect it won’t be a quick transition, but I am very interested in seeing what developers can do with this API. With the reduced overhead, the better threading, and ultimately a vastly more efficient means of submitting draw calls, there’s a lot of potential waiting to be exploited.

Frame Time Consistency & Recordings
Comments Locked


View All Comments

  • akamateau - Thursday, February 26, 2015 - link

    I think that Anand has uncovered something unexpected in the data sets they have collected. The graphs showing frame time and consistency show something else besides how fast Dx12 and Mantle generate frames.

    Dx12 and Mantle frame times are essentially the same. The variation are only due to run-time variations inside the game simulation. When the game simulation begins there far more AI objects and draw calls compared to later in the game when many of these objects have been destroyed in the game simulation. That is the reason the frame times get faster and smooth out.

    Can ANYBODY now say with a straight face that Dx12 is NOT Mantle?

    Since Mantle is an AMD derived instruction set it acts as a performance benchmark between both nVidia and AMD cards and shows fairly comparable and consistant results.

    However when we look at Dx11 we see that R9-290 is serious degraded by Dx11 in violation of the AMD vs Intel settlement agreement.

    How both nVidia and AMD cards be essentially equivalent running Dx12 and Mantle and so far apart running Dx11? That is the question that Intel needs to answer to the FTC and the Justice Department.

    This Dx11 benchmark is the smoking gun that could cost Intel BILLIONS.
  • Thermalzeal - Wednesday, March 4, 2015 - link

    Looks like my hunch was correct. Microsoft reporting that DX12 will bump performance on Xbox One ~20%.
  • Game_5abi - Monday, March 9, 2015 - link

    so if i have to build a pc should i go for fx series due to their more cores or there is no benefit of having more than 4 cores (and should buy a i5 processor)?
  • peevee - Friday, March 13, 2015 - link

    "The bright side of all of this is that with Microsoft’s plans to offer Windows 10 as a free upgrade for Windows 7/8/8.1 users, the issue is largely rendered moot. Though DirectX 12 isn’t being backported, Windows users will instead be able to jump forward for free, so unlike Windows 8 this will not require spending money on a new OS just to gain access to the latest version of DirectX. "

    But this is not true, Win10 is only going to be free for a year or so and then you'll have to pay EVERY year.
  • Dorek - Wednesday, March 18, 2015 - link

    "But this is not true, Win10 is only going to be free for a year or so and then you'll have to pay EVERY year."

    Wrong. Windows 10 will be free for one year, and after that you pay once to upgrade. If you get it during that one-year period, you pay 0 times.

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now