DirectX 12 - It's The Future
DirectX 12 is the future of PC gaming without a doubt, but it is something that was brought up to speed thanks to AMD introducing Mantle. Mantle 1.0 is all but dead now, with AMD recommending that developers start pushing into Vulkan and DirectX 12, so it was good to see AMD have a lengthy discussion on all things DX12 while we were in Sydney.
AMD wants to address this, and they know it's an industry-wide problem as "modern CPUs [are] unable to keep up with performance growth of video cards" and that "API/driver overhead [is a] serious problem; preventing new game designs from being explored". AMD elaborates, adding that "developers want direct hardware access to recover performance lost or obscured by past graphics APIs".
We were then shown a chart where we can easily see just how much delay that the current DirectX 11 driver is pushing onto an 8-core CPU. As you can see in the image above, it's quite a lot, actually more than the entire game code, DirectX runtime, and the present to user aspect of the game.
But compare that image above, with this new image, powered by DX12. We see that the DX12 driver is reduced from 13ms of time, to just 2ms - a massive reduction. Not only that, but we see a massive increase of performance, with 66FPS under DX12 compared to just 34FPS under DX11. Not only that, but instead of just six of the eight cores being used, all eight cores are fully utilized. DX11 renders the frame in 29ms, while DX12 halves that to just 15ms.
The benefit to gamers is huge, as it will result in more performance, squeezing as much performance out of your CPU and GPU as possible. More CPU time is spent on the game code, using your CPU to finish work faster, and using all of your available CPU cores to "speak to [the] GPU simultaneously". More efficiency between the GPU, CPU and API will also see reduced power consumption, which increases the all-important performance-per-watt part of the scenario.
AMD was quick to point out that its GCN architecture, which is found in everything from tablets right up to the latest and greatest gaming PCs, is ready for DirectX 12.
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