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

  • nikon133 - Sunday, February 8, 2015 - link

    Windows Mobile was very strong smartphone/PDA OS, back in the pre iOS/Android days. I don't remember how it compared to Symbian, but I do remember that it overtook Palm (marketshare wise) at some point.

    Tablets, true... unless OP considers PDAs an early tablets.
  • sr1030nx - Sunday, February 8, 2015 - link

    Win10 (and 8.1 to a very limited extent) uses universal apps, meaning you write an app once and it works across PC, tablet and phones.
    Also means you only need to buy an app once and you get it everywhere.
  • Christopher1 - Sunday, February 8, 2015 - link

    The only person who is wrong here is you, hwangeruk. There are numerous people who have had that the whole "Free upgrade to Windows 10 from 7 and 8!" is directly due to Microsoft wanting to encourage people to not stay on old code and move to new, safer and faster code.
  • pixelstuff - Sunday, February 8, 2015 - link

    Windows 8 is not old code by any stretch. I think hwangeruk was right. Microsoft wants all Windows 8 users and especially Windows 7 users to upgrade so they can all run the unified apps that will also run on Windows Phone 10 devices. Microsoft eventually wants all developers writing Windows 10 apps even for things like Photoshop and Illustrator. To make that feasible Microsoft really needs to upgrade the majority of their user base.
  • domboy - Monday, February 9, 2015 - link

    But even if they do get everybody to upgrade to 10, that still doesn't guarantee developers are going to switch to the store model, especially the big ones as they'd have to start giving Microsoft a cut of their profits. Same for game developers... Steam is pretty well established at this point. I will probably upgrade since it's free, but really only so I don't get locked out of DirectX 12....
  • Naqoyqatsi - Monday, February 9, 2015 - link

    "In that scenario, you are the product."

    No, you are the laborer.
  • Frenetic Pony - Sunday, February 8, 2015 - link

    I suppose you only use iOS and OSX then as Chrome OS, Linux, and Android are also free?
  • SparkySamza - Tuesday, February 10, 2015 - link

    as the saying i hear still now and when i was a child " there is no such thing as a free lunch" i know microsoft has done something, from gathering data via the operating system or even maybe filling it with micro transactions or even forcing people to use xbox everything even though pc people want to be as far away from xbox as they can.
  • Cygni - Friday, February 6, 2015 - link

    This is a great way to ensure that developers are forced to continue coding for DX11, or just switch to Mantle. Windows 7 is going to continue to be the dominant OS long into the future.
  • Viewgamer - Friday, February 6, 2015 - link

    I'm sorry but does no one find it suspicious that a supposedly "165W" GTX 980 consumes only 14W less than the "290W" R9 290X in DX12 ? and 19W less in DX11.

    No matter how you slice it, it's abundantly clear that the 165W power figure from Nvidia is pure PR fabrication. Just like the fabricated specs for the GTX 970.

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now