The new low-level API easily outperforms DX11 in Star Swarm benchmark
The latest preview build of Windows 10 includes DirectX 12 and supports a new graphics driver model in the form of Windows Display Driver Model (WDDM) 2.0. Lest you take the new graphic driver architecture lightly, know that this is the most significant WDDM update yet and holds the key to enabling DX12. In fact, its dependence on the hard-to-backport WDDM 2.0 — backporting would require kernel-level changes — is one of the chief reasons DX12 won’t be coming to Windows 8.1/8 and Windows 7. If you plan to stick to your current OS even when Windows 10 is available later this year, we have something that may force you to reconsider your decision.
Oxide Games developer Dan Baker helped answer some questions we had about AMD’s new API. Oxide’s upcoming game, Star Swarm, will support Mantle out of the gate and the company has been very vocal about Mantle which it believes can help all gamers and also start a dialogue about the future of APIs on the PC.
In some ways the Internet is like the digital equivalent of truth serum. It forces people to fess up and spill the beans on their shenanigans, because in some cases, their tricks are caught on video and uploaded to the Web for all the world to see. This happened to Intel at CES when Mooly Eden, general manager of Intel's PC client group, was caught faking a DirectX 11 graphics demo on an Ivy Bridge Ultrabook.
If you're suffering performance issues with Batman: Arkham City on the PC, don't worry, you're not alone. Andy Cataldo, U.S. Community Manger for Turbine Inc. (acquired by publisher Warner Brothers in 2010), said that "after researching the matter, we found that running the game with DX11 is causing the performance issues." The solution? Don't run it in DX11 mode, silly.
Futuremark originally delayed the release of its much anticipated 3DMark 11 benchmark in order to "fix a couple of difficult bugs rather than patching the benchmark immediately after launch." Mission accomplished, as today's update to version 1.01 doesn't quite qualify as "immediately," though it does come just two weeks after the benchmark went live.
"Unfortunately such wide scale use has brought to light a few issues that weren't caught by our own testing," Futuremark told us in an email. "So today we are releasing an update to 3DMark 11 to fix those problems and add a couple of requested features. Note, until Nvidia release new drivers SLI will continue to be unavailable in 3DMark 11."
There are eight fixes and feature additions for all editions for 3DMark 11, three for the Advanced and Professional editions only, and three for the just the Professional edition.
Information on Intel's next-generation Atom platform codenamed "Cedar Trail" has started to leak out, and not all of it is good news.
According to news and rumor site Fudzilla, the next batch of Atom processors still won't support DirectX 11 graphics, not unless Intel is planning to make a surprise announcement at the last minute. Cedar Trail D (for Desktop) and Cedar Trail M (for Mobile) will support DirectX 10.1, however, with a core that will look somewhat similar to Intel's upcoming Sandy Bridge part.
More importantly, early indications suggest that the new Atom chips will have enough horsepower under the hood to handle Full HD decoding and hardware acceleration for MPEG2, VC1, ACV, and H.264. Cedar Trail will also support the Blu-ray 2.0 profile, which includes picture-in-picture functionality and some online goodies.
The bean counters over at Mercury Research just finalized their "PC Graphics Market Share Update" report for the third quarter of 2010, which for the second consecutive quarter shows AMD at the front of the discrete graphics pack, The Inquirerreports.
AMD managed to add 5.6 percentage points to its market share tally and now commands 61.9 percent of the market.
"AMD is the clear leader in DirectX 11 graphics technology with more than 25 million DirectX 11-capable units shipped to date, and the Mercury Research results are indicative of our continued focus on delivering compelling graphics technology to both notebook and desktop markets," said Matt Skynner, corporate VP and general manager of the GPU Division at AMD."
AMD benefited in large part from its mobile graphics unit. Going forward, AMD is banking on its newly released HD 6800 series to end the year on a strong note.
Just because you might be saddled with a tight budget doesn't mean you have to resort to integrated graphics. Hell, you can even equip your system to handle DirectX 11 eye candy without spending big bucks. Enter Nvidia's GeForce GT 430, the latest addition to its Fermi family that costs less than a C-note.
For around $80 (give or take depending on make and model), Nvidia is pitching its GeForce GT 430 primarily at digital media PCs rather than a dedicated gaming box. The GPU comes built on a 40nm manufacturing process and includes 96 CUDA cores, a 700MHz core clockspeed, 1GB of DDR3 clocked at 900MHz, a 128-bit memory bus, 4 ROPs, and 585 million transistors.
It also supports HDMI 1.4a for 3D content, HD 24-bit multi-channel audio up to 192KHz, and of course Nvidia's PhysX technology. And while it's not intended as a gaming powerhouse, Nvidia claims you can expect up to 1.5x the performance of "previous generation products" and "playable framerates in all of today's top 30 games, when compared to integrated graphics solutions."
It seems that AMD intends to have a DirectX 11 part for every price range. As such, the existence of the ATI Radeon HD 5570 isn’t much of a surprise. The low-profile GPU is geared towards gamer types on a budget, or just those concerned with power consumption but are weary of completely sacrificing performance.
The HD 5570 has more than its share of features for a low-profile card. It will deliver full 1080p video playback, and includes ATI Stream technology to improve overall video quality. There’s even support for Eyefinity. Customers will also find an HDMI port and support for Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio. Not bad for a low end part.
AMD claims that customers pairing this card with a new AMD Phenom II X4 905e CPU and AMD 7-Series motherboard can expect a 60% improvement in power efficiency compared to competing products from Intel and Nvidia. If you have a small form factor PC in need of a new GPU, this could be it. Exact price isn’t being announced, but we suspect it will be under $80.
While the world waits for Fermi, AMD continues to target the entry-level with sub-$100 DirectX 11-capable videocards. The newest entrant to this market segment is the just-announced ATI Radeon HD 5570 low-profile graphics card.
"AMD recognizes that small form factor PCs are becoming more popular and low profile graphics upgrade options have been limited to date," said Matt Skynner, vice president and general manager, AMD Graphics Division. "Customers purchasing small form factor PCs are looking for improved performance while gaming, watching HD video, or working with the latest productivity applications. The ATI Radeon HD 5570 graphics card delivers all of this at a price that won't break the bank."
Specs include a 40nm GPU clocked at 650MHz, 1GB of GDDR3 memory clocked at 900MHz, a 128-bit memory bus, and 400 stream processors. And in addition to DX11, the HD 5570 supports Eyefinity and full 1080p HD playback. Finally, AMD rates the TDP at 45W.
Look for this one to sell somewhere between $75 to $80.