This one cruised under our radar during the glitz and glamour of Nvidia’s Game24 event and the GeForce 900 series reveal but, during this year’s Intel Developer Conference and Nvidia’s Maxwell Editor’s Day, Nvidia revealed that DirectX 12’s new rendering features will be coming to Microsoft DirectX 11.3.
Next-generation graphics features including voxel global illumination, advanced sampling, and multi projection will all be coming to DX 11.3, minus the CPU overhead reduction that’s become such a selling point for DX12. The DirectX 11.3 API will be arriving alongside DirectX 12 late next year, prompting fears that DX12 may well be exclusive to Windows 9.
The last time Microsoft attempted something like this was with the arrival of Windows Vista, making DirectX 10 exclusive to its new operating system and leaving Windows XP pressured into an OS upgrade they didn't necessarily want. Microsoft has previously confirmed that all DirectX 11 graphics cards will support DirectX 12, there’s just the question of whether Microsoft intends to tie it into a Windows 9 upgrade. There’s no confirmation of it either way just yet, so for now we’ll just have to make do with the new features and keep our fingers crossed.
When it comes to new rendering features DirectX 11.3 and 12 will feature Rasterizer Ordered Views, Typed UAV Load, Volume Tiled Resources, and Conservative Raster. These technologies allow everything from complex transparent objects to smoke effects and ray-traced lighting. The overall result should be much more realistic lighting effects, and this is just scratching the surface of what the new DX tech will be capable of.
All of these additional effects will be available to anyone with a DirectX 11-capable card; the caveat is that DirectX 11.3 won't be providing any of the CPU performance benefits. DX12 is a low-level API which lowers CPU overheads and increases GPU performance, so to get the most out of DX 11.3 you’re going to need a fairly powerful rig without the necessary optimisations. What do you think of Microsoft’s decision to release DirectX 11.3? Do you think it signifies potential DirectX 12 exclusivity for Windows 9 users? Let us know!