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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  • blaktron - Wednesday, July 29, 2015 - link

    I have a WDDM1.2 and WDDM2.0 setup working in tandem right now, and it seems to be working OK with DXdiag reporting DX12 support.

    Intel HD3000 + Radeon HD7970 Ghz with hardware Lucid Virtu support on my motherboard.
    Reply
  • Ryan Smith - Wednesday, July 29, 2015 - link

    Mixed mode will work with heterogeneous GPUs. However you can't do mixed mode when both GPUs are from the same vendor, because you only have one driver instead of two. Reply
  • yannigr2 - Wednesday, July 29, 2015 - link

    Thanks for the clarification.
    I am using an HD7850 and an GT 620 Fermi based and I was about to write a comment like blaktron's before reading your post.
    Reply
  • blaktron - Wednesday, July 29, 2015 - link

    Sorry, wasn't challenging your article, its just made clear in the Nvidia blog post and wanted to reassure other Optimus/lucid/whatever users. It did take a little work to get the Catalyst 15.7 drivers installed instead of the 200/7900 series windows update drivers though. Reply
  • mateau - Wednesday, August 12, 2015 - link

    Ryan;

    DX12 Benchmark for Ashes of the Singularity are coming out this week.

    "Ashes will give you a real preview of DirectX 11 vs. DirectX 12 in terms of real world performance. What matters in particular is that Ashes is being optimized for both DirectX 11 and 12. We need it to run extremely well on DirectX 11. You can also compare it to Mantle which will give you a preview of how it will run on Vulkan in the future.

    DirectX 12 Benchmark Release Schedule: [UPDATE]

    •Officially released to the media: August 13

    •Released to the Founders: August 20"

    http://www.littletinyfrogs.com/article/469403/Ashe...
    Reply
  • Shadowmaster625 - Wednesday, July 29, 2015 - link

    Why are radeon 4800, 5800, and 6800 series not even in that table? There are thousands of perfectly good 6850s out there that can play modern games.... Reply
  • jeffkibuule - Wednesday, July 29, 2015 - link

    They don't support DirectX 12? Did you read the article? Reply
  • Mr Perfect - Wednesday, July 29, 2015 - link

    AMD announced a while back that anything pre-GCN isn't receiving X12 support. A little annoying, but my 6870 is getting more then a little stressed these days. Reply
  • StevoLincolnite - Wednesday, August 05, 2015 - link

    I am running triple Radeon 6950 2Gb cards unlocked into 6970's. They still have ample punch, I don't think I have had an unplayable game yet at 1080P.

    The main benefit that Direct X 12 brings though is performance... Which ironically is what older systems will need the most.

    Still, I'm going to wait for AMD's next lot of GPU's before I upgrade my 6000 series cards, by then we might have the software to take advantage of the hardware.
    Reply
  • AndrewJacksonZA - Wednesday, July 29, 2015 - link

    My 6670 runs perfectly fine on Windows 10. However, this list is for DX12 GPUs. Reply

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