DirectX 12 will allow for high frame rates in Windows games while also cutting power use

Microsoft's DirectX 12 API for 3D graphics in games and other applications was first announced in March, but since then the company has been pretty quiet about its status. That changed this week as Microsoft and Intel teamed up to show that games that will use DirectX 12 will maintain high frame rates while also cutting the power consumption of a PC's CPU.

As part of the annual SIGGRAPH 2014 computer graphic conference, Microsoft and Intel showed a DirectX 12 demo running on a Surface Pro 3 tablet with a Intel HD4400 graphics chip. The demo itself was of an fictional asteroid field with 50,000 unique space rocks. The demo could be switched from using the current DirectX 11 to DirectX 12. Using DirectX 12 allowed the asteroid demo to keep the same framerate as it did under DirectX 11, but it cut the Surface Pro 3's CPU power consumption by 50 percent.

The demo could also be changed to show that framerates under DirectX 12 could be increased by over 50 percent compared to using DirectX 11 without the CPU using any extra power. Microsoft says:

"The power savings are coming directly from the efficiency improvements that inherently come with using the DirectX 12 API. Lower level access to the hardware than ever before allows applications to significantly improve their CPU utilization, enabling them to draw extremely complex scenes at a significantly reduced energy cost. Like the Surface Pro 3, all devices which support DirectX 12 can benefit from DirectX 12 reduced power consumption, either in the form of longer battery life, increased performance, or some combination of the two."

Intel plans to release the asteroids demo when DirectX 12 is officially made available to the public. That won't likely happen until the company launches Threshold, the next version of Windows that is expected to officially be released sometime in the spring of 2015. What do you think of this latest DirectX 12 demo?

Source: Microsoft, Intel

John Callaham