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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  • Andrew LB - Saturday, August 1, 2015 - link

    The vast majority of problems i've seen people have are user error. Some common issues are trying to upgrade with incorrect drivers installed, or while overclocked, and things never install right if your PC has a virus/malware that your antivirus software doesn't detect.

    - Before moving to Windows 10, one should always run multiple stand-alone virus/malware scanners like TDSSKiller, Stinger, HijackThis, etc. And don't even think about using ComboFix unless you REALLY know what you're doing. That program will FUBAR your PC faster in an instant.
    - Also, if you have any software that is windows version specific like for example "windows 7 manager"... uninstall it before upgrading.
    - Reset your BIOS to default performance settings if you're overclocking.
    - Restore default clock speeds on any graphics cards if overclocked
    - Re-enable all disabled Windows Services (click start > Run > type "services.msc") Don't do it through msconfig.exe
    - Disable any programs that have an overlay or OSD
    - If you have tons of devices plugged into your PC, unplug them

    I made the upgrade to Win 10 Pro today and didn't have a single problem because I followed these guidelines. And considering how much stuff I have in my PC, I'm guessing my setup would be at higher than normal risk of an issue. SLI GTX 780ti, X-Fi Titanium HD, 1xSSD, 2x Raid-0 pairs (4 drives), dual displays, 5 partitions, 1x external 1tb ESATA, laser printer, scanner, tablet, etc.
    Reply
  • piiman - Saturday, August 1, 2015 - link

    "I made the upgrade to Win 10 Pro today and didn't have a single problem because I followed these guidelines."

    Also upgraded without a single problem and I didn't follow a single item on your list. You wasted a ton of time :-)
    Reply
  • Impulses - Wednesday, July 29, 2015 - link

    You can download install media at any time here:

    https://www.microsoft.com/en-gb/software-download/...

    I'm still unsure how the process of upgrading keys is best carried out tho (specially in my case where I have a bunch of Win 7 academic keys and I'd like upgrade them all, might have to play around in a VM).

    AFAIK once you actually upgrade you can't go back and activate the old OS with the same key tho, since it'll now be a 10 key... You got a year, waiting a bit won't hurt anything.
    Reply
  • hulu - Wednesday, July 29, 2015 - link

    Actually you have one month to revert back to Windows 7/8. If you don't do it by then, you're stuck with Windows 10. Reply
  • toyotabedzrock - Wednesday, July 29, 2015 - link

    Revert? I think he is talking about waiting to upgrade. Reply
  • Impulses - Wednesday, July 29, 2015 - link

    He was probably referring to my reply where I mentioned that you can't go back, but you can always wait up to a year. Reply
  • YukaKun - Wednesday, July 29, 2015 - link

    What about notebook re-brands?

    Should I guide my upgrade decision by code name or OEM branding? Case in point: I have a GTX675M (GTX580M) in my lappy.

    Cheers!
    Reply
  • olafgarten - Wednesday, July 29, 2015 - link

    As your chip is Fermi, it won't support DX12, but if it works in 8.1, it will work in 10. Reply
  • HighTech4US - Wednesday, July 29, 2015 - link

    GeForce Windows 10 Driver 353.62 - WHQL Released Today :

    http://www.geforce.com/drivers/results/87789

    Clearly shows that Fermi are supported on DX12
    Reply
  • Ryan Smith - Thursday, July 30, 2015 - link

    If you check the driver, you should find that Fermi cards are using a WDDM 1.3 path. Reply

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