DirectX 12: A Major Stride for Gaming

by Henry Moreton

Microsoft today introduced DirectX 12 at the annual Game Developers Conference (GDC) in San Francisco. DX12 is Microsoft’s latest version of the graphics API that is the dominant standard in the growing, $25 billion PC gaming industry.

Developers have been asking for a thinner, more efficient API that allows them to control hardware resources more directly. Despite significant efficiency improvements delivered by continuous advancement of existing API implementations, next-generation applications want to extract all possible performance from multi-core systems. Developers also want to take direct advantage of advanced GPU hardware features, from which developers are currently insulated to provide fool-proof usage. DirectX 12 was designed from scratch to provide the infrastructure for these advanced applications.

Xbox One racing game Forza running on a PC powered by an NVIDIA GeForce Titan BlackSpeaking to a crowd of about 300 developers and press, Anuj Gosalia, development manager of DirectX at Microsoft, described DX12 as the joint effort of hardware vendors, game developers and his team. Our work with Microsoft on DirectX 12 began more than four years ago with discussions about reducing resource overhead. For the past year, NVIDIA has been working closely with the DirectX team to deliver a working design and implementation of DX12 at GDC.

Gosalia demonstrated the new API with a tech demo of the Xbox One racing game Forza running on a PC powered by an NVIDIA GeForce Titan Black. In addition, our software team has provided a driver to game studios to facilitate further design feedback as well as actual game development.

A critical factor in the adoption of any new API is the size of the available market. In the past, feature adoption has been muted by lack of support in the substantial console market, as well as absence of feature deployment on popular versions of the Windows OS. With DX12, there is an unprecedented convergence of APIs and breadth of support. DX12 will span PCs, XBox One, tablets and even phones.

In addition, NVIDIA will match Microsoft OS support for DX12. Over 70% of gaming PCs are now DX11 based. NVIDIA will support the DX12 API on all the DX11-class GPUs it has shipped; these belong to the Fermi, Kepler and Maxwell architectural families. With more than 50% market share (65% for discrete graphics) among DX11-based gaming systems, NVIDIA alone will provide game developers the majority of the potential installed base. chart

The genesis of DX12 can be found in technology trends. GPUs have continued to rapidly increase in performance, while single-core CPU performance has been gated by power limits. Multi-core CPUs have provided some advancement but still trail GPUs in peak performance. In parallel, applications have embraced task-parallelism, adopting sophisticated scheduling systems to scale performance with the number of CPU cores.

This has in turn driven the need for an API that scales similarly with core count. GPU performance can be exploited three ways: drawing better pixels, more pixels and more objects. We have reaped much of what can be gained from pixels. DX12’s focus is on enabling a dramatic increase in visual richness through a significant decrease in API-related CPU overhead. Historically, drivers and OS software have managed memory, state, and synchronization on behalf of developers. However, inefficiencies result from the imperfect understanding of an application’s needs. DX12 gives the application the ability to directly manage resources and state, and perform necessary synchronization. As a result, developers of advanced applications can efficiently control the GPU, taking advantage of their intimate knowledge of the game’s behavior.

Today’s debut focused on the form of the graphics API, the model. Future Direct3D releases will include new rendering features, in addition to the new driver/application model outlined today. The work presented at GDC is just part of the story for upcoming releases. NVIDIA and Microsoft will continue to invest heavily in the future of gaming on the PC. — Yury Uralsky contributed to this post. 

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  • chris rock

    Possible Forza 5 coming for PC??

  • Kyser Clark

    This is proof that there is a working version of Forza 5 on PC. Hopefully we see it get released to the public.

  • aagocs

    Everything is possible according to quantum mechanics, but it’s very unlikely because it’s an exclusive title with contract.

  • Lars Mueller

    I hope and please up for Forza @PC

  • Crapgamer

    No, just showing how easy it is to port between the two.

  • Rushman

    OpenGL 5 FTW!

  • Stian Aarskaug

    Think about it.

    Both consoles boosts AMD APU, no NVIDIA processors. Why would NVIDIA promote this? They have indeed been working with the developers and MS. And why would MS go into the trouble of making this happen and using it to promote DX12? Maybe because the console developers have been working with it for some time now, but it can’t be all hidden for PC developers either, so if there wasn’t any thoughts of Forza for PC they would most possibly have gone to other developers for their promotion.

    I don’t know about you, but I’ll take this as another sign I gotta scrape some money together and fix my racing sim and upgrade my graphics card to get 120 FPS at decent settings. 🙂

  • Brian Caulfield

    Can’t comment on that.

  • Stian Aarskaug

    Contracts don’t last forever. AND it would be a good thing for Microsoft if there was a PC version. Microsoft’s console/game division may not earn so much from PC games (I have no idea if they have individual divisions), but all in all, it would be positive.

    They of course have contract to not make it a PS4 game, but PC game, who would mind? Other than Sony?

  • Stian Aarskaug

    Source? Reason? 🙂 I’m interested if you know more.

  • Crapgamer

    They were showing a lesser piece of hardware running an Xbox One game at 60fps. Meaning that it helps get added performance from older hardware.

    Why would Microsoft port their biggest racing franchise to PC? They are trying to sell people on the Xbox One, not give them an option to play their games elsewhere…

  • Saliiim

    Forza 5 isn’t exactly exciting, take a look at Assetto Corsa, now that is interesting.

  • Saliiim

    This is all very well, but there better be Windows 7 support. I’m not installing a tablet OS on my lovely desktop, it would be a betrayal of trust.

  • Crapgamer

    1.Forza Motorsport isn’t under contract, it’s made by Turn 10 Studios who is owned by Microsoft
    2.The IP is owned by Microsoft
    3.They were showing lesser hardware is capable of great things with DX12. Showing XB1 game that is 1080p 60fps on that PC is the point.

  • Yowan Rdotexe

    My GTX460 awaits!

  • Turo Orvel

    Would game using directx12 work on both PC and Xbox One “straight out of the box”?

  • Cakefish

    “NVIDIA will support the DX12 API on all the DX11-class GPUs it has shipped; these belong to the Fermi, Kepler and Maxwell architectural families”


  • aagocs

    Sorry for the invalid argument. But I think it’s still unlikely, because console sales are way under than expected, and every exclusive AAA title is a critical thing to make users to buy an Xbox.

  • Brian Caulfield


  • Crapgamer

    Forza isn’t going to PC. Xbox One has sold double what the Xbox 360 did in the same time frame. I do indeed think it wouldn’t make sense to give people less reason to buy your console. They were just showing how DX12 can get a lot out of any hardware.

  • Kayant

    “They were showing a lesser piece of hardware running an Xbox One game at 60fps” – Lmafo…. Wait you’re serious. A $1000 GPU that is 10x or so more powerful than XB1 is lesser hardware.


  • Nicholas Perry

    Hope this isn’t W8/9 exclusive. I am attached by the hip to Windows 7.

  • kokoti zvaly


  • Brad Tarpley

    Lesser hardware? The Titan Black is world’s fastest GPU at the moment. Get your facts straight.

  • Turo Orvel

    I hope they ditch that bloaty os and stick to the lighter and more advanced 8/9

  • Andres Camilo Castano Hernande

    lo que se viene pa los videojuegos y renderizado en tiempo real.. uffff, estará brutal… lo quiero ya!

  • Shatter

    The Titan Black could probably run this game at 1440p 60fps with way higher settings than the xbox one if it became a real PC game.

  • kamranm1200

    Because, consoles are extremely stupid. They ruined PC games.

  • kamranm1200

    No it’s not, because Assetto Corsa probably doesn’t even exist.

  • Angie Fonseca

    Man… You are talking out of your ass buddy. Do you know what kind of hardware they were running that demo on? The 5 teraflop Titan Black edition. That is FAR FAR FAR more powerful then the X1. Get your facts straight my man.

  • Renaud Lepage

    OpenGL Master Race

  • TheRedButterfly

    lol Look at this 12 year old.

    Hate to disappoint you kid, but console gaming was a thing LONG before PC gaming was.

  • daveloft

    They also need help to sell PC’s as people flock to Mac’s & Tablets.

  • madbads

    Ofc , not. Why would anyone by and X1 then

  • madbads

    lol i was like ” WTF is guy smokin’ ” They didn’t show it on gt240

  • madbads

    Yeah buddy, kiss your boss XD

  • tu torrent games

    Possible GTA V confirmed in pc


    Half-life 3

  • Stian Aarskaug

    Yep, but still interesting enough. I wouldn’t call it a real sim-racer, and I haven’t played Forza in many, many years. O.o So don’t know the series.

  • Toni D

    I read that it’s about one day of work to convert a game from PC to Xbox One.

  • Stian Aarskaug

    It does. Only, it’s in alpha. So, it surely exist.

  • Stian Aarskaug

    So they are not bound to Xbox One? They can do whatever they want? There must be some exclusivity deal?!

  • Stian Aarskaug

    Titan Black could run this in many configurations. With the same settings as console and some optimalisations for PC, it would run it in a pretty high resolution and easily 120 FPS. But for high settings, as always, you’d get a huge FPS hit.

  • Stian Aarskaug

    Not in the beginning, but with time maybe.

  • Mafiaso

    there will be no Half Life 3 so you can get a life in real world.

  • Mafiaso

    hope there will be more Dx12 games in nowadays there are lack of Dx11 games and there are more dx9 games.

  • Mafiaso
  • Stian Aarskaug

    Consoles did also help PC gaming a big bunch, and made it possible for PC games to live.

    Consoles have its big downsides, but please look at it from more than one angle. And when I say that, do that always. Look at things generally from several angles. Most people are not very good at this (read: terrible).


    That game “real world” is bad as f* , i’ve played 1 hour and quit then


    God bless you for that comment.

  • Turo Orvel

    Forget windows 7. Windows 8 is better desktop and gaming os in almost every way possible. Can’t wait for 9 though!

  • Nicholas Perry

    No reason they can’t coexist.

  • Turo Orvel

    Sure, but that’s another older os to worry about.

  • Jessie Tomich

    @Crapgamer, when is a GF Titan Black “Lesser Hardware”? You obviously have no idea what you are talking about.

  • Silithas

    If only forza 5 wasn’t just a tech demo for titan black on pc 🙁

    And i wonder what dx12 can deliver which dx11 aint already got :S (plus there arent even that many games which are buildt on dx11 o.O

  • Erwin Munkle

    Too little too late, Microsoft. It would be a huge surprise to me if software support finds its way into Windows 7 or anything before that. It would be an even bigger surprise to me if it found its way on to Linux, which is going to become increasingly important the way Valve is pushing it

    If Microsoft thinks they can have widespread adoption of this beyond Xbox One exclusives, keeping it as closed off as they historically have, I think they’re going to have a rude awakening. Why waste the time developing a game that can only be run by a tiny fragment of the market?

  • Karthikeyan

    May i know what is the font used in this post?

  • Martin Sundhaug

    New DX probably requires a newer kernel, so atleast W8.1.1, if not W9-exclusive.

  • gecimano

    Lol… Its just a sticker…
    Nv support dx12 just like 11.2, noway…

  • John Mellinger

    Nvidia I always knew there was a real reason why you kept silent when AMD’s Mantle was 1st talked about. And now I see Why. Good Job with all your hard work making all those low lvl dx exts under 11/11.1 ps keep up the good work for opengl as well.

  • TheSuperiorTriggRNC

    Can someone explain this to me, I’m 99.99999999999%
    certain of what it means but I don’t see an obvious new GPU cash grab
    by Nvidia. There has to be a catch right ?

  • dellers

    I agree with the second sentence. I really hope that Metro will be optional in Windows 9. I just can’t stand that UI, there’s nothing positive about it for me. I don’t have a flippin’ touch screen, and never will.

  • James C Murphy

    Yer well with 4k over the horizon we gonna need more powerful cards anyway. Also the new maxwell architecture is super energy efficient so looking grab some of the litecoin market. Plus getting into bed early with Microsoft early on this means they will have an edge over AMD since they made work on loads of there cards.

  • Antony Derham

    Forget Windows and DX. We won’t need to be locked into Micro$hit any longer thanks to the massive leaps in OpenGL and Valve pushing Linux support 😀

  • Antony Derham

    Linux/OpenGL master race. DirectX is the past.

  • Supun Anjana Lakshan

    Will nVidia directX 11 supported GPU’s support directX 12 technology. Or will they abandon all shader 5.0 , open GL 4.1 graphic cards and make directX 12 graphic cards for market. If it was like that AMD will grab some opportunity and all nVidia GPU users will be disappointing.

  • James C Murphy

    no point supporting an OS which isnt making any money

  • Basement Dweller

    When will dx12 games apper in Steam 😀 ?

  • Joe_HTH

    The problem is Forza 5 was already 1080p at 60fps on the Xbox One, before the DirectX 12 announcement.

  • Joe_HTH

    Gaming doesn’t have that kind of impact on PCs. PC gamers are an incredibly tiny percentage of the 1.5 billion Windows users worldwide. Games aren’t going to keep people from flocking to tablets.

    As for Macs, nobody is flocking to those. OSX is at about 6-7% market share, which is where it has always been. Windows is at 92%. Mac are too ridiculously expensive anyway.

  • Joe_HTH

    What are you, 12? Do you think anyone is going take your ridiculous ass seriously when you use juvenile terms like Micro$hit? Grow the hell up. Nobody cares that you hate Microsoft.

    As for massive leaps in OpenGL, give me a break. That is nothing more than marketing speak. OpenGL is no better than DirectX, and far worse in terms of support, dev tools, and documentation.

    As for Valve’s Linux support, that’s DOA as well. Nobody is going to buy a Steambox, because there is no market for that product. Casual consumers will never give a damn about Steam or PC gaming. PC gamers already have a Steambox called a Windows PC.

  • Joe_HTH

    They run on the same kernel, NT.

  • Joe_HTH

    “It would be an even bigger surprise to me if it found its way on to
    Linux, which is going to become increasingly important the way Valve is
    pushing it”

    If you mean Steambox, that is DOA. There is a reason Linux has barely 1% of the market after 20 years. The only people who would put up with that pain in the ass are Microsoft haters.

    “Why waste the time developing a game that can only be run by a tiny fragment of the market?”

    ROTFLMAO! Thanks for the laugh. Windows is 99% of the gaming market you idiot.

  • Brian Caulfield

    I’ll pass along your feedback!

  • Brian Caulfield


  • Brian Caulfield

    Just to be clear, that was a technology demo only. Thanks!

  • I Eat Your Face

    Cuz DX9 kicks ass instead of being just a refresh of an already existing DX API (DX10->DX11: Only difference, with DX11 you get everything of DX10 a bit faster)

  • Erwin Munkle

    No, I mean Linux. You can run Steam on Linux without SteamOS or a Steambox. The push for getting games to run native on Linux by valve is independent of the SteamOS and Steam Machine projects.

    When you consider that OpenGL can run on XP, Vista, 7, 8, 8.1, Mobile devices, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS3, PS4, OSX, and Linux and DirectX 12 will likely only run on Windows 8.2, Windows 9, and Xbox One, yeah, it is pretty limiting being so closed off.

    According to the latest Steam survey, only 22.14% of users are running on any variant of Windows 8. That’s a pretty small fragment of the market.

    Windows is currently 95.17% of the PC gaming market, but as I stated in my initial post, that’s likely to change with all the tools, help, and encouragement Valve is throwing at developers to get their games on Linux.

  • Mafiaso

    no DirectX 9 is more CPU limited where Dx11 is more into GPU. so those who have good GPUs but weak CPUs gain nothing out of most of Dx9 games.

  • PKM

    Death to DirectX! OpenGL is faster and makes it easier to port to different platforms.

  • PKM

    I’m not willing to use a tablet OS on my PC, especially since Microsoft is making their software more of a closed platform with each release, threat to gaming overall.

  • netcafix
  • Martin Sundhaug

    Yes, but NT 6.3 is newer, it is presumable that the changes are not easy to backport.

  • Martin Sundhaug

    How is W8 more closed? W8 supports Origin, Steam, Windows Store, any W7 program and more, how is that closed??

  • DarkSidePro

    “NVIDIA will support the DX12 API on all the DX11-class GPUs it has shipped; these belong to the Fermi, Kepler and Maxwell architectural families”

    Of course Cakefish, It is a HUGE new.

  • mohihehi

    Doesn’t it make more sense to only make DX12 available to post-maxwell GPUs and leave the older card owners to pick up the scraps? I mean, it’s what AMD is doing by only supporting their GCN GPUs, even though according to this blog, any DX11 compatible GPU should work.
    I wish I had an NVidia GPU, not very encouraging news for a 5870 owner.

  • johnBas5

    Does this make draw calls obsolete?

    Allows for Minecraft like streaming maps where you have almost no GPU call overhead?
    Only a call for rendering and a one with some data about what data from main memory to load or add to what chunks, memory objects are rendered?

    Thus enabling a few GPU calls per frame?

  • Ilya Mikhajlov

    PC is not only a gaming platform.
    Production work on the PC, the old external devices and license software eliminates switching to Windows 8

  • lou

    I have windows 8.1 and it’s nowhere near as bad as some of you all make it out to be. Almost all applications I use are in desktop mode anyway, so the only time i’m in the metro UI is when I first start up my PC. It’s faster and to me more efficient if you take the time to learn how to use it.

  • Zebedee

    What a hater 😀 Are you a microsoft lover? Or just a mainstream critic x] Everyone has the right to show/express opinion, why you have to write stuff like “nobody cares that you hate microsoft” xD
    Linux is and will be used, because it is the most secured system. So everyone who have their (wide) reasons to hide, use it 🙂 Even a lot of people who dealt with Linux were involved in the making of Windows 8, that’s why in terms of stability and performance it is better.
    And it’s always better to have more alternatives of a product. When there is higher competition, the end-consumer is happier, has more choice, better options… When there is monopoly, the corporation does whatever it wants, and main goal is one – profit + maintaining market share…
    anyway, just don’t like people who judge too much xD no offence!

  • Turo Orvel

    I do programming and graphics on my PC. Windows 8 is definitely better os there too.

  • Elliot Hicks

    Yeah, I don’t have a touchscreen & I’m yet to find a reasson with Windows 8.1 to get one.
    Its a great OS, and I prefer it a lot more over Windows 7.

  • Ilya Mikhajlov

    I’m glad to hear it:)
    I am an engineer and a half of my hardware and third of my software is not supported or is not working correctly in Windows 8

    ps I have installed Windows in a VMPlayer and tested critical things for me.

  • nashathedog

    “Why waste the time developing a game that can only be run by a tiny fragment of the market?”

    That sounds more relevant to Mantle..

  • nashathedog

    Mantle isn’t going to go that far anyway, As soon as it loses any low level access advantage it has to DX12 developers won’t feel the need to work on an extra api in development for AMD’s market share when there gpu’s can also use the DX12 api.

  • Jamie Stevens

    No. Dx10 does not support tesselation. Dx11 was a big imorovement in game graphics and speed . You are prob thinking of dx9 and dx10 where the only real difference was getting everything a bit more shiney. But slow.

  • Jamie Stevens

    Actually the titan z is the worlds fastest.

  • Jamie Stevens

    Anything will run this game faster than a console

  • Brad Tarpley

    At the time of this article the Titan Z did not exist.

  • Beep Boop

    dx9 kicks ass? Look at the crysis 2 dx11 add on

  • Beep Boop

    you are the world’s stupidest person

  • Beep Boop

    “Consoles did also help PC gaming a big bunch, and made it possible for PC games to live.”

    Lol are you serious? Were you a PC gamer before 2007? There were A-Grade high budget PC-first games always raising the bar for graphics and gameplay (Return to Castle Wolfenstein, Call of Duty 1 and 2, Painkiller, Black and White Series, Populous, Crysis 1, Doom 3, Age of Empires 1,2,3, Empire Earth) What do we have post 2007? Console ports. I understand this as an economic reality and still consider PC gaming to be a great and fun platform, but consoles are almost directly to blame for the extinction of flagship AAA pc games that aren’t MMOs or developed primarily for consoles.

  • Ty NES

    Will win 7 be supported?

  • Lieutenant Dan Taylor

    At least AMD gpus since HD 2000 series had very primitive Tesselators (but with very limited amplification compared with today’s gpu tesselators) that weren’t used as far as I know;

  • Erwin Munkle

    I think Mantle can be run by a larger fragment of the market than DX12 will be able to.

  • nashathedog

    I’m shocked if you can’t see how stupid that comment is..

  • khizar_07

    I just wonder, how cool will DirectX games look running on a Real Mode processor!

  • BDK

    DX10 was a major super overhaul according to hardware manufacturers, it wasn’t.
    DX11 was a major super overhaul according to hardware manufacturers, it wasn’t.
    DX12 is going to be a major overhaul according to hardware manufacturers, it isn’t.

    Mantle is where it’s at. You know it and I know it.

  • Cryio

    DX10 can be faster than DX9 if developers know how to code properly.

    Most developers ignore DX10’s most important addition to the API: Geometry Shaders.

  • Cinnamon267

    Lesser hardware? Read the article. Titan Black, dude.

  • pontifexa

    DX10s most important addition by far was constant buffers.

    GSs aren’t used much because there are horrible performance penalties if you emit primitive expansion counts beyond hidden, magic, device/vendor specific numbers.

  • Cryio

    Especially with Maldo’s texture mod, which really shows what an optimized version of Crysis can do. (it wipes the floor with Crysis 1 and 3 in my opinion)

  • John Kiser

    Lesser hardware? Titan Black edition is ridiculously high end…

  • Stian Aarskaug

    Consoles are where they get the big money from. You need money in this world to get somewhere. Consoles are also about optimalisation (that’s a good thing). I know all about the port story, but that’s just where we are now, hopefully the new generations will make this much better. Consoles are a two headed creature where one of them is bad and the other good.

    Don’t tell me you think this subject has only one side, one conclusion. Ideally I would want a fully functioning PC market on its own, but we can’t have that. You should know this, PCs don’t sell very good anymore.

  • Qwertywitter

    But DX 11 was a major overhaul….

  • bsrocky

    according to quantum mechanics Lol the sarcasm kills me

  • TeemoNoob

    You have to deal with Metro for 2 seconds when you first turn your computer on, other than that it’s not really any different than windows 7, except MUCH MUCH faster, even games see 5% or better performance boost in Windows 8 and my HDD even got a 15% boost from switching. If you REALLY want to live with Windows 7 you can pay $5 for Start8 which can be set up to act just like windows 7 with the start button and everything and the only way to even get to metro is a hotkey combination. I know you’re going to probably bitch about spending $5 but that just shows how ignorant you are…

  • hahmed330


  • Nick Smith

    actually it’s not, the GTX 690 is still the fastest. as seen on Nvidia’s own titian black performance graph at

  • Brad Tarpley
  • Bradley Parsons

    Only more dx9 games as most of the games are on steam and are done by small-time developers. It is much easier to program and develop in dx9 than it is dx11.

    Biggest thing that came in in dx11 is tessellation.

  • Bradley Parsons


  • Bradley Parsons

    So skip the UI like most people did. 😛

  • Bradley Parsons

    Look at the OUYA console based on android design.

  • Blastergamer

    you don’t even have to be in metro UI. You can put your folders, software and games shortcut on the desktop screen. The Metro UI for me, is really good place to store your programs and apps in there, also the taskbar, which makes the desktop screen clean!

  • Blastergamer

    and yet you play a lot of DirectX games…

  • Renaud Lepage

    I seriously doubt that, with not having any Xbox, X360 or X1 and running Linux exclusively.

  • StrongForce

    I just can’t wait for the GTX 880 etc to come out :).

  • todemanjack

    The gaming PC market is growing. So Microsoft might see the value of offering their games on both. Consoles are for people who want it all done for them. So they don’t have to keep a PC in good running order.

  • Thant Shin Naing

    I’ve some problem with World of Warcraft after installing dota2,Now i can’t play the WOW,
    when i loggon my account critical error apper, anyone know what is it?

  • Chris915

    Let me guess, it won’t be supported on Windows 7… right?

  • Chris915

    I doubt it. Considering DirectX 11.1 and DirectX 11.2 were on Windows 8.