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
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  • Mr Perfect - Sunday, February 8, 2015 - link

    That's not what he's saying though, he said TDP is some measure of what amount of heat is 'wasted" heat. As if there's some way to figure out what part of the 165 watts is doing computational work, and what is just turning into heat without doing any computational work. That's not what TDP measures.

    Also, CPUs and GPUs can routinely go past TDP, so I'm not sure where people keep getting TDP is maximum power draw from. It's seen regularly in the benchmarks here at Anandtech. That's usually one of the goals of the power section of reviews, seeing if the manufacturers TDP calculation of typical power draw holds up in the real world.
  • Mr Perfect - Sunday, February 8, 2015 - link

    Although, now that I think about it, I do remember a time when TDP actually was pretty close to maximum power draw. But then Intel came out with the Netburst architecture and started defining TDP as the typical power used by the part in real world use, since the maximum power draw was so ugly. After a lot of outrage from the other companies, they picked up the same practice so they wouldn't seem to be at a disadvantage in regard to power draw. That was ages ago though, TDP hasn't meant maximum power draw for years.
  • Strunf - Sunday, February 8, 2015 - link

    TDP essentially means your GPU can work at that power input for a long time, in the past the CPU/GPU were close to it cause they didn't have throttle, idles and what not technologies. Today they have and they can go past the TDP for "short" period of times, with the help of thermal sensors they can adjust the power as they need without risking of burning down the CPU/GPU.
  • YazX_ - Friday, February 6, 2015 - link

    Dude, its total System power consumption not video card only.
  • Morawka - Friday, February 6, 2015 - link

    are you sure you not looking at factory overclocked cards? The 980 has a 8 pin and 6 pin connector. You gotta minus the CPU and Motherboard power.

    Check any reference review on power consumption
  • Yojimbo - Friday, February 6, 2015 - link

    Did you notice the 56% greater performance? The rest of the system is going to be drawing more power to keep up with the greater GPU performance. NVIDIA is getting much greater benefit of having 4 cores than 2, for instance. And who knows, maybe the GPU itself was able to run closer to full load. Also, the benchmark is not deterministic, as mentioned several times in the article. It is the wrong sort of benchmark to be using to compare two different GPUs in power consumption, unless the test is run significantly many times. Finally, you said the R9 290X-powered system consumed 14W more in the DX12 test than the GTX 980-powered system, but the list shows it consumed 24W more. Let's not even compare DX11 power consumption using this benchmark, since NVIDIA's performance is 222% higher.
  • MrPete123 - Friday, February 6, 2015 - link

    Win7 will be dominant in businesses for some time, but not gaming PCs where this will be benefit more.
  • Yojimbo - Friday, February 6, 2015 - link

    Most likely the main reasons for consumers not upgrading to Windows 10 will be laziness, comfort, and ignorance.
  • Murloc - Saturday, February 7, 2015 - link

    people who are CPU bottlenecked are not that kind of people given the amount of money they spend on GPUs.
  • Frenetic Pony - Friday, February 6, 2015 - link

    FREE. Ok. FREE. F and then R and then E and then another E.

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