With Windows 10 launching today, the first half of the path to DirectX 12 has at last been laid down. The GPUs have been here for some time, and now Windows, its graphics APIs, and its driver stack are all ready to support DirectX 12 and the advanced graphics capabilities it brings to the table. Now all we need are some DirectX 12 games to complete the rest of the path, and those should start rolling out later in Q4 of this year.

In the meantime we wanted to quickly cover the state of driver support for Windows 10 and DirectX 12, as matters have evolved slightly differently than we were expecting. Around the time of DirectX 12’s announcement, it was announced that AMD’s GCN GPUs, Intel’s Haswell (Gen 7.5) and newer, and NVIDIA’s Fermi and newer GPUs would all support the technology. And while those plans have not changed, we’ve learned this morning that schedules have shifted slightly, and as a result not every GPU slated to get DirectX 12 support will have that support available today.

DirectX 12 Support Status
  Current Status Supported At Launch
AMD GCN 1.2 (285/380/Fury Series) Working Yes
AMD GCN 1.1 (290/260/390/360 Series) Working Yes
AMD GCN 1.0 (7000/200/370 Series) Working Yes
NVIDIA Maxwell 2 (900 Series) Working Yes
NVIDIA Maxwell 1 (750 Series) Working Yes
NVIDIA Kepler (600/700 Series) Working Yes
NVIDIA Fermi (400/500 Series) Not Available Delayed
Intel Haswell (4th Gen Core) Working Yes
Intel Broadwell (5th Gen Core) Working Yes

Earlier this morning NVIDIA posted a knowledge base article entitled “Windows 10 will not load the NVIDIA display driver for my older graphics card in my PC that has multiple graphics cards”, which addresses the use of mixed generations of GPUs in a single system. In the article NVIDIA notes that WDDM 2.0 drivers – being necessary for DirectX 12 support – are not currently available for their Fermi GPUs. Instead Fermi cards are still using WDDM 1.3 drivers, or in other words the driver base for Windows 8.1.

The article itself is focused on the compatibility issues that can occur mixing WDDM 2.0 and WDDM 1.3 products – basically, you can only have one or the other active at once within a single driver since both modes can’t be used at the same time – however the more important outcome of this article is that it confirms that Fermi DirectX 12 support is behind schedule. NVIDIA is still committed to bringing DirectX 12 support to Fermi, however it will not be available for today’s Windows 10 launch, and NVIDIA has not announced a specific availability date (though if I had to take a guess, I’m thinking the next driver branch).

Ultimately what this means is that only NVIDIA’s Kepler and Maxwell GPUs (the 600 series and newer) will support DirectX 12 as of today’s launch. Meanwhile in committing to supporting Fermi, NVIDIA will be offering DirectX 12 for GPUs about a year and a half older than anything AMD or Intel are supporting, so it’s hard to be too cross with them, but it is at least a minor disappointment that NVIDIA hasn’t been able to adhere to their original schedule. From a gaming perspective NVIDIA still has a few months before any retail games are available, so NVIDIA still has time, though in the meantime this means we’re going to have to wait a bit longer to see what DirectX 12 can do for NVIDIA’s oldest lineup of GPUs.

Finally, support for Intel and AMD GPUs has rolled out as expected. AMD’s Catalyst 15.7 driver offers working DirectX 12 support for all GCN 1.0, 1.1, and 1.2 GPUs, including the newly launched Fury series. And Intel’s latest driver sets for Haswell and Broadwell respectively also enable the necessary driver functionality.

Update (7/29)

Speaking of GPUs, all three vendors have released new driver versions today to coincide with the launch of Windows 10. So without further adu:

AMD: Catalyst 15.7.1

Intel: 15.40.4.64.4256

NVIDIA: Release 353.62

Windows Update should also be distributing these drivers directly.

Source: NVIDIA (via SH SOTN)

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  • siriq - Thursday, July 30, 2015 - link

    Won't be any plan from AMD to support DX 12 to 5xxx or 6xxx series cards. Reply
  • MrCommunistGen - Wednesday, July 29, 2015 - link

    Like the Fermi cards mentioned in the article, cards that have WDDM 1.3 drivers will continue to use those drivers in Windows 10. Reply
  • tipoo - Wednesday, July 29, 2015 - link

    No DX12 support, but they'll work fine otherwise in 10, just like they do in 8.1 Reply
  • postembr2 - Wednesday, July 29, 2015 - link

    Im still deeply concern about game compatibility within Windows 10.
    Several games had troubling issues, with BF4 constant crashes, and Total war, while worked, always crashed on end turn, regardless of visual settings or shader engine; it suggests more things changed within Windows internal memory or library management that is causing issues.
    Reply
  • Achaios - Wednesday, July 29, 2015 - link

    Only n00bs and fanbois will rush to install Windows 10 today. Tech savvy ppl will do so after 6 months, so that M$ have got time to iron out all the inevitable bugs. Reply
  • BMNify - Wednesday, July 29, 2015 - link

    Using language like M$ makes you a n00b not tech savvy as you imagine yourself. Reply
  • Notmyusualid - Wednesday, July 29, 2015 - link

    ^^ This.

    I have it only on my spare machine. My main rigs - not yet, no way. And for the gaming one, maybe I'll wait out the whole 12 months.

    Depends on what DX12 stuff I'm missing, I guess...
    Reply
  • Gigaplex - Wednesday, July 29, 2015 - link

    Some tech savvy people like myself are software developers. The software won't be fixed if we don't get in there early and fix it. We're not all n00bs and fanbois. Reply
  • warmon6 - Thursday, July 30, 2015 - link

    Well... You must of proved yourself as not being much in the way of "tech savvy".

    REAL tech savy people that have the time and patience for this (not everyone will have the time to do this), will be either running VM's or Running it on a spare system to verify what works for them, what doesn't, what still is rough around the edges, and report back to hopefully fix these issues.

    Also, tech savy people need to get into a new OS to figure out the in and outs of it. As guess what, without tech savy people, those non-tech savvy people will have no one to turn to when a problem does arise.

    and lastly what has already been pointed out, Not all tech savvy people are just people that builds systems for themselves. They also include hardware engineers and software programmers. If they followed what you said, we would still be on windows ME (shutters).
    Reply
  • piiman - Saturday, August 1, 2015 - link

    "Tech savvy ppl will do so after 6 months,"
    Tech savvy people would have been running the Insider preview for many months by now, guess you aren't as tech savvy as you think.
    Reply

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