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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  • HighTech4US - Wednesday, July 29, 2015 - link

    Ryan when can we expect a report of DX12 performance on these GPUs? Reply
  • Ryan Smith - Wednesday, July 29, 2015 - link

    Once there are retail DX12 games to test. Reply
  • HighTech4US - Wednesday, July 29, 2015 - link

    How about running some of the available DX12 synthetic tests before then? Reply
  • tuxfool - Wednesday, July 29, 2015 - link

    I think it would be interesting. One could possibly gauge driver development as more games start appearing. Reply
  • Cryio - Thursday, July 30, 2015 - link

    Synthetic tests were testing driver and CPU performance, so testing GPUs for DX12 using 3DMark's test is useless. Reply
  • Despoiler - Wednesday, July 29, 2015 - link

    Ashes of the Singularity will have their DX12 benchmark available to the press on August 13th.

    http://www.littletinyfrogs.com/article/469403/Ashe...
    Reply
  • mateau - Wednesday, August 12, 2015 - link

    Ryan;

    You have Starswarm. And you have 3dMark API Overhead Feature Test. Why not run those benchmarks?

    API Overhead is a test that highlights AMD Asynchronous Shader Pipelines and Compute Engines.

    Why not run what you have available?

    Consumers read your reports to try an make an educated choice about buying graphics APUs and dGPUs.

    You can not render what you have not drawn. 3dMark is extremely relevant.
    Reply
  • azazel1024 - Wednesday, July 29, 2015 - link

    I suppose the answer is no, but out of curiosity, any ability or plans to support Ivy? Also what about the state of Atom support? IIRC Braswell/Cherry Trail carries Gen 8 graphics, so I'd imagine DirectX 12 COULD support it, but will it/does it? What about older Bay Trail? I assume no/won't. Reply
  • looper - Wednesday, July 29, 2015 - link

    Win10 gets DL'd to one's PC, but not installed, correct? This PC is for gaming primarily, and we love Win 7's stability with Battlefield 4, and I'm concerned that Win 10 will have issues.... Reply
  • HighTech4US - Wednesday, July 29, 2015 - link

    It does have issues, some are even critical

    http://techreport.com/news/28714/windows-10-arrive...
    Reply

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