Developer's View on DirectX 12 Alongside Maxwell Launch

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | September 20, 2014 - 09:06 AM |
Tagged: unreal engine 4, nvidia, microsoft, maxwell, DirectX 12, DirectX

Microsoft and NVIDIA has decided to release some information about DirectX 12 (and DirectX 11.3) alongside the launch of the Maxwell-based GeForce GTX 980 and GeForce GTX 970 graphics cards. Mostly, they announced that Microsoft teamed up with Epic Games to bring DirectX 12 to Unreal Engine 4. They currently have two demos, Elemental and Infiltrator, that are up and running with DirectX 12.

epic-ue4-infiltrator.jpg

Moreover, they have provided a form for developers who are interested in "early access" to apply for it. They continually discuss it in terms of Unreal Engine 4, but they do not explicitly say that other developers cannot apply. UE4 subscribers will get access to the Elemental demo in DX12, but it does not look like Infiltrator will be available.

DirectX 12 is expected to target games for Holiday 2015.

Source: Microsoft

Khronos Announces "Next" OpenGL & Releases OpenGL 4.5

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards, Shows and Expos | August 15, 2014 - 05:33 PM |
Tagged: siggraph 2014, Siggraph, OpenGL Next, opengl 4.5, opengl, nvidia, Mantle, Khronos, Intel, DirectX 12, amd

Let's be clear: there are two stories here. The first is the release of OpenGL 4.5 and the second is the announcement of the "Next Generation OpenGL Initiative". They both occur on the same press release, but they are two, different statements.

OpenGL 4.5 Released

OpenGL 4.5 expands the core specification with a few extensions. Compatible hardware, with OpenGL 4.5 drivers, will be guaranteed to support these. This includes features like direct_state_access, which allows accessing objects in a context without binding to it, and support of OpenGL ES3.1 features that are traditionally missing from OpenGL 4, which allows easier porting of OpenGL ES3.1 applications to OpenGL.

opengl_logo.jpg

It also adds a few new extensions as an option:

ARB_pipeline_statistics_query lets a developer ask the GPU what it has been doing. This could be useful for "profiling" an application (list completed work to identify optimization points).

ARB_sparse_buffer allows developers to perform calculations on pieces of generic buffers, without loading it all into memory. This is similar to ARB_sparse_textures... except that those are for textures. Buffers are useful for things like vertex data (and so forth).

ARB_transform_feedback_overflow_query is apparently designed to let developers choose whether or not to draw objects based on whether the buffer is overflowed. I might be wrong, but it seems like this would be useful for deciding whether or not to draw objects generated by geometry shaders.

KHR_blend_equation_advanced allows new blending equations between objects. If you use Photoshop, this would be "multiply", "screen", "darken", "lighten", "difference", and so forth. On NVIDIA's side, this will be directly supported on Maxwell and Tegra K1 (and later). Fermi and Kepler will support the functionality, but the driver will perform the calculations with shaders. AMD has yet to comment, as far as I can tell.

nvidia-opengl-debugger.jpg

Image from NVIDIA GTC Presentation

If you are a developer, NVIDIA has launched 340.65 (340.23.01 for Linux) beta drivers for developers. If you are not looking to create OpenGL 4.5 applications, do not get this driver. You really should not have any use for it, at all.

Next Generation OpenGL Initiative Announced

The Khronos Group has also announced "a call for participation" to outline a new specification for graphics and compute. They want it to allow developers explicit control over CPU and GPU tasks, be multithreaded, have minimal overhead, have a common shader language, and "rigorous conformance testing". This sounds a lot like the design goals of Mantle (and what we know of DirectX 12).

amd-mantle-queues.jpg

And really, from what I hear and understand, that is what OpenGL needs at this point. Graphics cards look nothing like they did a decade ago (or over two decades ago). They each have very similar interfaces and data structures, even if their fundamental architectures vary greatly. If we can draw a line in the sand, legacy APIs can be supported but not optimized heavily by the drivers. After a short time, available performance for legacy applications would be so high that it wouldn't matter, as long as they continue to run.

Add to it, next-generation drivers should be significantly easier to develop, considering the reduced error checking (and other responsibilities). As I said on Intel's DirectX 12 story, it is still unclear whether it will lead to enough performance increase to make most optimizations, such as those which increase workload or developer effort in exchange for queuing fewer GPU commands, unnecessary. We will need to wait for game developers to use it for a bit before we know.

Intel and Microsoft Show DirectX 12 Demo and Benchmark

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards, Processors, Mobile, Shows and Expos | August 13, 2014 - 06:55 PM |
Tagged: siggraph 2014, Siggraph, microsoft, Intel, DirectX 12, directx 11, DirectX

Along with GDC Europe and Gamescom, Siggraph 2014 is going on in Vancouver, BC. At it, Intel had a DirectX 12 demo at their booth. This scene, containing 50,000 asteroids, each in its own draw call, was developed on both Direct3D 11 and Direct3D 12 code paths and could apparently be switched while the demo is running. Intel claims to have measured both power as well as frame rate.

intel-dx12-LockedFPS.png

Variable power to hit a desired frame rate, DX11 and DX12.

The test system is a Surface Pro 3 with an Intel HD 4400 GPU. Doing a bit of digging, this would make it the i5-based Surface Pro 3. Removing another shovel-load of mystery, this would be the Intel Core i5-4300U with two cores, four threads, 1.9 GHz base clock, up-to 2.9 GHz turbo clock, 3MB of cache, and (of course) based on the Haswell architecture.

While not top-of-the-line, it is also not bottom-of-the-barrel. It is a respectable CPU.

Intel's demo on this processor shows a significant power reduction in the CPU, and even a slight decrease in GPU power, for the same target frame rate. If power was not throttled, Intel's demo goes from 19 FPS all the way up to a playable 33 FPS.

Intel will discuss more during a video interview, tomorrow (Thursday) at 5pm EDT.

intel-dx12-unlockedFPS-1.jpg

Maximum power in DirectX 11 mode.

For my contribution to the story, I would like to address the first comment on the MSDN article. It claims that this is just an "ideal scenario" of a scene that is bottlenecked by draw calls. The thing is: that is the point. Sure, a game developer could optimize the scene to (maybe) instance objects together, and so forth, but that is unnecessary work. Why should programmers, or worse, artists, need to spend so much of their time developing art so that it could be batch together into fewer, bigger commands? Would it not be much easier, and all-around better, if the content could be developed as it most naturally comes together?

That, of course, depends on how much performance improvement we will see from DirectX 12, compared to theoretical max efficiency. If pushing two workloads through a DX12 GPU takes about the same time as pushing one, double-sized workload, then it allows developers to, literally, perform whatever solution is most direct.

intel-dx12-unlockedFPS-2.jpg

Maximum power when switching to DirectX 12 mode.

If, on the other hand, pushing two workloads is 1000x slower than pushing a single, double-sized one, but DirectX 11 was 10,000x slower, then it could be less relevant because developers will still need to do their tricks in those situations. The closer it gets, the fewer occasions that strict optimization is necessary.

If there are any DirectX 11 game developers, artists, and producers out there, we would like to hear from you. How much would a (let's say) 90% reduction in draw call latency (which is around what Mantle claims) give you, in terms of fewer required optimizations? Can you afford to solve problems "the naive way" now? Some of the time? Most of the time? Would it still be worth it to do things like object instancing and fewer, larger materials and shaders? How often?

Manufacturer: Intel

When Magma Freezes Over...

Intel confirms that they have approached AMD about access to their Mantle API. The discussion, despite being clearly labeled as "an experiment" by an Intel spokesperson, was initiated by them -- not AMD. According to AMD's Gaming Scientist, Richard Huddy, via PCWorld, AMD's response was, "Give us a month or two" and "we'll go into the 1.0 phase sometime this year" which only has about five months left in it. When the API reaches 1.0, anyone who wants to participate (including hardware vendors) will be granted access.

AMD_Mantle_Logo.png

AMD inside Intel Inside???

I do wonder why Intel would care, though. Intel has the fastest per-thread processors, and their GPUs are not known to be workhorses that are held back by API call bottlenecks, either. Of course, that is not to say that I cannot see any reason, however...

Read on to see why, I think, Intel might be interested and what this means for the industry.

Author:
Manufacturer: NVIDIA

DX11 could rival Mantle

The big story at GDC last week was Microsoft’s reveal of DirectX 12 and the future of the dominant API for PC gaming.  There was plenty of build up to the announcement with Microsoft’s DirectX team posting teasers and starting up a Twitter account of the occasion. I hosted a live blog from the event which included pictures of the slides. It was our most successful of these types of events with literally thousands of people joining in the conversation. Along with the debates over the similarities of AMD’s Mantle API and the timeline for DX12 release, there are plenty of stories to be told.

After the initial session, I wanted to setup meetings with both AMD and NVIDIA to discuss what had been shown and get some feedback on the planned direction for the GPU giants’ implementations.  NVIDIA presented us with a very interesting set of data that both focused on the future with DX12, but also on the now of DirectX 11.

15.jpg

The reason for the topic is easy to decipher – AMD has built up the image of Mantle as the future of PC gaming and, with a full 18 months before Microsoft’s DirectX 12 being released, how developers and gamers respond will make an important impact on the market. NVIDIA doesn’t like to talk about Mantle directly, but it’s obvious that it feels the need to address the questions in a roundabout fashion. During our time with NVIDIA’s Tony Tamasi at GDC, the discussion centered as much on OpenGL and DirectX 11 as anything else.

What are APIs and why do you care?

For those that might not really understand what DirectX and OpenGL are, a bit of background first. APIs (application programming interface) are responsible for providing an abstraction layer between hardware and software applications.  An API can deliver consistent programming models (though the language can vary) and do so across various hardware vendors products and even between hardware generations.  They can provide access to feature sets of hardware that have a wide range in complexity, but allow users access to hardware without necessarily knowing great detail about it.

Over the years, APIs have developed and evolved but still retain backwards compatibility.  Companies like NVIDIA and AMD can improve DirectX implementations to increase performance or efficiency without adversely (usually at least) affecting other games or applications.  And because the games use that same API for programming, changes to how NVIDIA/AMD handle the API integration don’t require game developer intervention.

With the release of AMD Mantle, the idea of a “low level” API has been placed in the minds of gamers and developers.  The term “low level” can mean many things, but in general it is associated with an API that is more direct, has a thinner set of abstraction layers, and uses less translation from code to hardware.  The goal is to reduce the amount of overhead (performance hit) that APIs naturally impair for these translations.  With additional performance available, the CPU cycles can be used by the program (game) or be slept to improve battery life. In certain cases, GPU throughput can increase where the API overhead is impeding the video card's progress.

Passing additional control to the game developers, away from the API or GPU driver developers, gives those coders additional power and improves the ability for some vendors to differentiate. Interestingly, not all developers want this kind of control as it requires more time, more development work, and small teams that depend on that abstraction to make coding easier will only see limited performance advantages.

The reasons for this transition to a lower level API is being driven the by widening gap of performance between CPU and GPUs.  NVIDIA provided the images below.

04.jpg

On the left we see performance scaling in terms of GFLOPS and on the right the metric is memory bandwidth. Clearly the performance of NVIDIA's graphics chips has far outpaced (as have AMD’s) what the best Intel desktop processor have been able and that gap means that the industry needs to innovate to find ways to close it.

Continue reading NVIDIA Talks DX12, DX11 Efficiency Improvements!!!

Microsoft DirectX 12 Live Blog Recap

Subject: Graphics Cards | March 21, 2014 - 11:25 AM |
Tagged: dx12, DirectX, DirectX 12, GDC, gdc 14, nvidia, Intel, amd, qualcomm, live, live blog

We had some requests for a permanent spot for the live blog images and text from this week's GDC 14 DirectX 12 reveal.  Here it is included below!!

  Microsoft DirectX 12 Announcement Live Blog (03/20/2014) 
9:53
Ryan Shrout: 

Hi everyone!

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 9:53 Ryan Shrout
9:53
Ryan Shrout: 

We are just about ready to get started - people are filing in now.

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 9:53 Ryan Shrout
9:53
[Comment From GuestGuest: ] 

?video

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 9:53 Guest
9:53
Ryan Shrout: 

Sorry, no video for this. They wouldn't allow us to record or stream.

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 9:53 Ryan Shrout
9:55
[Comment From GuestGuest: ] 

kk, no worries

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 9:55 Guest
9:55
[Comment From GuestGuest: ] 

Pictures?

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 9:55 Guest
9:55
Ryan Shrout: 

Yup!

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 9:55 Ryan Shrout
9:59
Ryan Shrout: 

Just testing out photos. I promise the others will be more clear.

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 9:59 Ryan Shrout
9:59
Ryan Shrout
 
 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 9:59 
10:00
[Comment From SebastianSebastian: ] 

Looks like it's a very small event

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:00 Sebastian
10:00
Ryan Shrout: 

The room is much smaller than it should be. Line was way too long for a room like this.

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:00 Ryan Shrout
10:01
Josh Walrath: 

that is a super small room for such an event. Especially considering the online demand for details!

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:01 Josh Walrath
10:02
Ryan Shrout
 
Qualcomm's Eric Demers, AMD's Raja Koduri, NVIDIA's Tony Tamasi.
 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:02 
10:03
Ryan Shrout: 

And we are starting!

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:03 Ryan Shrout
10:03
Josh Walrath: 

Have those boys gotten their knives out yet. Are the press circling them and snapping their fingers?

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:03 Josh Walrath
10:03
Ryan Shrout: 

Going over a history of DX.

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:03 Ryan Shrout
10:03
Ryan Shrout
 
 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:03 
10:04
Ryan Shrout: 

Talking about the development process.

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:04 Ryan Shrout
10:04
Ryan Shrout: 

All partner base.

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:04 Ryan Shrout
10:04
Ryan Shrout
 
 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:04 
10:05
[Comment From GuestGuest: ] 

why cant I comment ?

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:05 Guest
10:05
Ryan Shrout: 

GPU performance is "embarrassing parallel" statement here.

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:05 Ryan Shrout
10:05
Scott Michaud: 

You can, we just need to publish them. And there's *a lot* of comments.

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:05 Scott Michaud
10:05
Ryan Shrout
 
 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:05 
10:05
Josh Walrath: 

We see everything, Peter.

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:05 Josh Walrath
10:05
Ryan Shrout: 

CPU performance has not improved at the same rate. This difference rate of increase is a big challenge for DX.

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:05 Ryan Shrout
10:06
Ryan Shrout: 

Third point has been a challenge, until now.

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:06 Ryan Shrout
10:07
Ryan Shrout: 

What do developers want? List similar to what AMD presented with Mantle.

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:07 Ryan Shrout
10:07
Ryan Shrout: 

DX12 "is no dot release"

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:07 Ryan Shrout
10:08
Ryan Shrout
 
 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:08 
10:08
Ryan Shrout: 

It faster, more direct. ha ha.

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:08 Ryan Shrout
10:08
Ryan Shrout
 
 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:08 
10:08
Ryan Shrout: 

Xbox One games will see improved performance. Coming to all MS platforms. PC, mobile too.

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:08 Ryan Shrout
10:08
Josh Walrath: 

Oh look, mobile!

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:08 Josh Walrath
10:09
Ryan Shrout
 
 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:09 
10:09
Ryan Shrout: 

New tools are a requirement.

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:09 Ryan Shrout
10:09
Josh Walrath: 

We finally have a MS answer to OpenGL ES.

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:09 Josh Walrath
10:09
Scott Michaud: 

Hmm, none of the four pictures in the bottom is a desktop or Laptop.

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:09 Scott Michaud
10:09
Ryan Shrout: 

D3D 12 is the first version to go much lower level.

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:09 Ryan Shrout
10:09
[Comment From GuestGuest: ] 

The last one is a desktop...

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:09 Guest
10:10
Scott Michaud: 

Huh, thought it was TV. My mistake.

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:10 Scott Michaud
10:10
Ryan Shrout
 
 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:10 
10:10
Ryan Shrout: 

Yeah, desktop PC is definitely on the list here guys.

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:10 Ryan Shrout
10:11
Ryan Shrout: 

Going to show us some prototypes.

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:11 Ryan Shrout
10:11
Ryan Shrout: 

Ported latest 3DMark.

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:11 Ryan Shrout
10:12
Ryan Shrout: 

In DX11, one core is doing most of the work.

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:12 Ryan Shrout
10:12
Ryan Shrout: 

on d3d12, overall CPU utilization is down 50%

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:12 Ryan Shrout
10:13
Ryan Shrout: 

Also, the workload is more spread out.

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:13 Ryan Shrout
10:13
Ryan Shrout
 
 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:13 
10:13
Ryan Shrout: 

Interesting data for you all!!

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:13 Ryan Shrout
10:13
Ryan Shrout
 
 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:13 
10:14
Ryan Shrout: 

Grouping entire pipeline state into state objects. These can be mapped very efficiently to GPU hardware.

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:14 Ryan Shrout
10:14
Ryan Shrout
 
 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:14 
10:15
Ryan Shrout: 

"Solved" multi-threaded scalability.

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:15 Ryan Shrout
10:15
Scott Michaud: 

Hmm, from ~8ms to ~4. That's an extra 4ms for the GPU to work. 20 GFLOPs for a GeForce Titan.

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:15 Scott Michaud
10:15
[Comment From JayJay: ] 

Multicore Scalability.... Seems like a big deal when you have 6-8 cores!

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:15 Jay
10:16
Josh Walrath: 

It is a big deal for the CPU guys.

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:16 Josh Walrath
10:16
Ryan Shrout: 

D3D12 allows apps to control graphics memory better.

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:16 Ryan Shrout
10:16
Ryan Shrout
 
 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:16 
10:17
Ryan Shrout: 

API is now much lower level. Application tracks pipeline status, not the API.

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:17 Ryan Shrout
10:17
[Comment From JimJim: ] 

20 GFlops from a Titan? Stock Titan gets around 5 ATM.

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:17 Jim
10:17
Ryan Shrout
 
 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:17 
10:18
Ryan Shrout: 

Less API and driver tracking universally. More more predictability.

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:18 Ryan Shrout
10:18
Ryan Shrout: 

This is targeted at the smartest developers, but gives you unprecedented performance.

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:18 Ryan Shrout
10:18
Ryan Shrout: 

Also planning to advance state of rendering features. Feature level 12.

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:18 Ryan Shrout
10:19
Scott Michaud: 

Titan gets around ~5 Teraflops, actually... if it is fully utilized. I'm saying that an extra 4ms is an extra 20 GFlops per frame.

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:19 Scott Michaud
10:19
Ryan Shrout
 
 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:19 
10:19
Josh Walrath: 

Titan is around 5 TFlops total, that 20 GFLOPS is potential performance in the time gained by optimizations.

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:19 Josh Walrath
10:19
Ryan Shrout: 

Better collision and culling

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:19 Ryan Shrout
10:19
Ryan Shrout: 

Constantly working with GPU vendors to find new ways to render.

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:19 Ryan Shrout
10:20
Ryan Shrout: 

Forza 5 on stage now. Strictly console developer.

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:20 Ryan Shrout
10:20
[Comment From Lewap PawelLewap Pawel: ] 

So 20GFLOPS per frame is 20x60 = 1200GFLOPS/sec? 20% improvement?

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:20 Lewap Pawel
10:21
Ryan Shrout
 
 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:21 
10:21
Scott Michaud: 

Not quite, because we don't know how many FPS we had originally.

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:21 Scott Michaud
10:21
Ryan Shrout: 

Talking about porting the game to D3D12

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:21 Ryan Shrout
10:22
Ryan Shrout: 

4 man-months effort to port core rendering engine.

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:22 Ryan Shrout
10:22
Ryan Shrout: 

Demo time!

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:22 Ryan Shrout
10:22
Ryan Shrout
 
 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:22 
10:22
Ryan Shrout: 

Rendering at static 60 FPS.

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:22 Ryan Shrout
10:23
Ryan Shrout
 
 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:23 
10:23
Ryan Shrout: 

Bundles allows for instancing but with variance.

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:23 Ryan Shrout
10:24
Ryan Shrout: 

Resource lifetime, track memory directly. No longer have D3D tracking that lifetime, much cheaper on resources.

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:24 Ryan Shrout
10:24
Ryan Shrout: 

"It's all up to us, and that's how we like it."

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:24 Ryan Shrout
10:24
Ryan Shrout: 

Does anyone else here worry that DX12 might leave out some smaller devs that can't go so low level?

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:24 Ryan Shrout
10:25
Josh Walrath: 

I would say that depends on the quality of tools that MS provides, as well as IHV support.

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:25 Josh Walrath
10:25
Scott Michaud: 

Not really, for me. The reason why they can go so much lower these days is because what is lower is more consistent.

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:25 Scott Michaud
10:26
Ryan Shrout: 

And now back to info. Will you have to buy new hardware? I would say no since they just showed Xbox One... lol

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:26 Ryan Shrout
10:26
[Comment From killeakkilleak: ] 

Small devs will use an Engine, not make their own.

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:26 killeak
10:26
Ryan Shrout
 
 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:26 
10:26
Ryan Shrout: 

On stage now is Raja Koduri from AMD.

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:26 Ryan Shrout
10:27
Scott Michaud: 

Not true at all, actually. Just look at Frictional (Amnesia). They made their own engine tailored for what their game needed.

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:27 Scott Michaud
10:27
Ryan Shrout: 

AMD has been working very closely with DX12. Heh.

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:27 Ryan Shrout
10:27
Josh Walrath: 

Shocking!

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:27 Josh Walrath
10:28
Ryan Shrout
 
 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:28 
10:28
Josh Walrath: 

Strike a pose!

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:28 Josh Walrath
10:28
Ryan Shrout: 

There is tension: AMD is trying to push hw forward, MS is trying to push their platform forward.

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:28 Ryan Shrout
10:28
Ryan Shrout: 

Very honest assessment of the current setup between AMD, NVIDIA, MS.

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:28 Ryan Shrout
10:28
[Comment From GuestGuest: ] 

Scott, with the recent changes with CryEngine, UE4 going subscription based more Indies might just go that route.

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:28 Guest
10:28
Ryan Shrout: 

DX12 is an area where they had the least tension in Raja's history in this field.

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:28 Ryan Shrout
10:29
Scott Michaud: 

Definitely. But that is not the same thing as saying that indies will not make their own engine.

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:29 Scott Michaud
10:29
Ryan Shrout
 
 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:29 
10:29
Ryan Shrout: 

Key is that current users get benefit with this API on day 1.

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:29 Ryan Shrout
10:29
Ryan Shrout: 

"Like getting 4 generations of hardware ahead."

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:29 Ryan Shrout
10:29
Ryan Shrout
 
 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:29 
10:31
Josh Walrath: 

That answers a few of the burning questions!

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:31 Josh Walrath
10:31
Ryan Shrout: 

Up now is Eric Mentzer from Intel.

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:31 Ryan Shrout
10:31
[Comment From KevKev: ] 

Thank you! Great news guys!

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:31 Kev
10:31
Scott Michaud: 

You're welcome! : D

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:31 Scott Michaud
10:32
[Comment From JimJim: ] 

OH, intel and AMD in the same room....

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:32 Jim
10:32
Scott Michaud: 

Intel, AMD, NVIDIA, and Qualcomm in the same room...

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:32 Scott Michaud
10:32
Ryan Shrout: 

Intel has made big change in graphics; put a lot more focus on it with tech and process tech.

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:32 Ryan Shrout
10:32
Josh Walrath: 

DX12 will enhance any modern graphics chip. Driver support from IHVs will be key to enable those features. This is a massive change in how DX addresses the GPU, rather than (so far) the GPU adding features.

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:32 Josh Walrath
10:32
[Comment From GuestGuest: ] 

so this means xbox one will get a performance boost?

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:32 Guest
10:32
Scott Michaud: 

Yes

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:32 Scott Michaud
10:33
Ryan Shrout
 
 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:33 
10:33
Scott Michaud: 

According to "Benefits of Direct3D 12 will extend to Xbox One", at least.

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:33 Scott Michaud
10:33
Ryan Shrout: 

Intel commits to having Haswell support DX12 at launch.

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:33 Ryan Shrout
10:34
Ryan Shrout: 

BTW - thanks to everyone for stopping by the live blog!! :)

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:34 Ryan Shrout
10:34
Josh Walrath: 

Just to reiterate... PS4 utilizes OpenGL, not DX. This change will not affect PS4. Changes to OpenGL will only improve PS4 performance.

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:34 Josh Walrath
10:34
Ryan Shrout: 

If you like this kind of stuff, check out our weekly podcast! http://pcper.com/podcast

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:34 Ryan Shrout
10:34
Ryan Shrout: 

No mention of actual DX12 launch time quite yet...

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:34 Ryan Shrout
10:34
[Comment From MagnarockMagnarock: ] 

Finish?

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:34 Magnarock
10:34
Ryan Shrout: 

And Intel is gone. Short and sweet.

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:34 Ryan Shrout
10:34
Scott Michaud: 

Still have NVIDIA and Qualcomm, at least.

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:34 Scott Michaud
10:35
Scott Michaud: 

So -- not finished.

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:35 Scott Michaud
10:35
Ryan Shrout: 

Up next is Tony Tamasi from NVIDIA.

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:35 Ryan Shrout
10:35
Ryan Shrout: 

NVIDIA has been working with MS since the inception of DX12. Still don't know when that is...

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:35 Ryan Shrout
10:35
[Comment From AlexAlex: ] 

PS4 doesn't use OpenGL, but custom APIs instead...

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:35 Alex
10:35
Scott Michaud: 

True, it's not actually OpenGL... but is heavily heavily based on OpenGL.

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:35 Scott Michaud
10:36
Ryan Shrout
 
 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:36 
10:36
Ryan Shrout: 

They think it should be done with standards so there is no fragmentation.

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:36 Ryan Shrout
10:36
Ryan Shrout: 

lulz.

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:36 Ryan Shrout
10:37
Scott Michaud: 

Because everything that ends in "x" is all about no fragmentation :p

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:37 Scott Michaud
10:37
Ryan Shrout: 

NVIDIA will support DX12 on Fermi, Kepler, Maxwell and forward!

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:37 Ryan Shrout
10:37
Ryan Shrout: 

For developers that want to get down deep and manage all of this, DX12 is going to be really exciting.

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:37 Ryan Shrout
10:38
Ryan Shrout: 

NVIDIA represents about 55% of the install base.

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:38 Ryan Shrout
10:38
Ryan Shrout
 
 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:38 
10:38
Ryan Shrout
 
 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:38 
10:39
Ryan Shrout: 

Developers already have DX12 drivers. The Forza demo was running on NVIDIA!!!

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:39 Ryan Shrout
10:39
Ryan Shrout: 

Holy crap, that wasn't on an Xbox One!!

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:39 Ryan Shrout
10:39
Scott Michaud: 

Fermi and forward... aligning well with the start of their compute-based architectures... using IEEE standards (etc). Makes perfect sense. Also might help explain why pre-Fermi is deprecated after GeForce 340 drivers...

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:39 Scott Michaud
10:40
Ryan Shrout: 

Support quote from Tim Sweeney.

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:40 Ryan Shrout
10:41
Ryan Shrout
 
 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:41 
10:41
[Comment From CrackolaCrackola: ] 

Any current NVIDIA cards DX12 ready? Titan, etc?

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:41 Crackola
10:41
Ryan Shrout: 

Up now is Eric Demers from Qualcomm.

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:41 Ryan Shrout
10:42
Scott Michaud: 

NVIDIA said Fermi, Kepler, and Maxwell will be DX12-ready. So like... almost everything since GeForce 400... almost.

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:42 Scott Michaud
10:42
Ryan Shrout
 
 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:42 
10:42
Ryan Shrout: 

Qualcomm has been working with MS on mobile graphics since there WAS mobile graphics.

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:42 Ryan Shrout
10:42
Ryan Shrout
 
 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:42 
10:42
Ryan Shrout: 

Most windows phones are powered by Snapdragon.

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:42 Ryan Shrout
10:42
Josh Walrath: 

We currently don't know what changes in Direct3D will be brought to the table, all we are seeing here is how they are changing the software stack to more efficiently use modern GPUs. This does not mean that all current DX11 hardware will fully support the DX12 specification when it comes to D3D, Direct Compute, etc.

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:42 Josh Walrath
10:43
Ryan Shrout: 

DX12 will improve power efficiency by reducing overhead.

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:43 Ryan Shrout
10:43
Ryan Shrout
 
 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:43 
10:44
Ryan Shrout: 

Perf will improve on mobile device as well, of course. But gaming for longer periods on battery life is biggest draw.

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:44 Ryan Shrout
10:45
Ryan Shrout: 

Portability - bringing titles from the PC to Xbox to mobile platform will be much easier.

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:45 Ryan Shrout
10:45
[Comment From David UyDavid Uy: ] 

I think all Geforce 400 series is Fermi. so - Geforce 400 and above.

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:45 David Uy
10:45
Scott Michaud: 

I think the GeForce 405 is the only exception...

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:45 Scott Michaud
10:45
Ryan Shrout: 

Off goes Eric.

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:45 Ryan Shrout
10:45
Ryan Shrout: 

MS back on stage.

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:45 Ryan Shrout
10:46
Ryan Shrout: 

And now a group picture lol.

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:46 Ryan Shrout
10:46
Ryan Shrout
 
 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:46 
10:47
Ryan Shrout: 

By the time they ship, 50% of all PC gamers will be DX12 capable.

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:47 Ryan Shrout
10:47
Ryan Shrout: 

Ouch, targeting Holiday 2015 games.

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:47 Ryan Shrout
10:48
Ryan Shrout: 

Early access coming later this year.

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:48 Ryan Shrout
10:48
Ryan Shrout
 
 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:48 
10:48
Josh Walrath: 

Yeah, this is a pretty big sea change.

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:48 Josh Walrath
10:48
Ryan Shrout
 
 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:48 
10:49
Ryan Shrout
 
 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:49 
10:49
Scott Michaud: 

50% of PC Gamers sounds like they're projecting NOT Windows 7.

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:49 Scott Michaud
10:49
Ryan Shrout: 

They are up for Q&A not sure how informative they will be...

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:49 Ryan Shrout
10:50
Josh Walrath: 

OS support? Extension changes to D3D/Direct Compute?

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:50 Josh Walrath
10:50
Ryan Shrout: 

Windows 7 support? Won't be announcing anything today but they understand the request.

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:50 Ryan Shrout
10:51
Ryan Shrout: 

Q: What about support for multi-GPU? They will have a way to target specific GPUs in a system.

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:51 Ryan Shrout
10:51
Ryan Shrout: 

This session is wrapping up for now!

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:51 Ryan Shrout
10:51
Ryan Shrout: 

Looks like we are light on details but we'll be catching more sessions today so check back on http://www.pcper.com/

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:51 Ryan Shrout
10:52
Scott Michaud: 

"a way to target specific GPUs in a system" this sounds like developers can program their own Crossfire/SLi methods, like OpenCL and Mantle.

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:52 Scott Michaud
10:52
Ryan Shrout: 

Also, again, if you want more commentary on DX12 and PC hardware, check out our weekly podcast! http://www.pcper.com/podcast!

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:52 Ryan Shrout
10:52
Ryan Shrout: 

Thanks everyone for joining us! We MIGHT live blog the other sessions today, so you can sign up for our mailing list to find out when we go live. http://www.pcper.com/subscribe

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:52 Ryan Shrout
10:57
Scott Michaud: 

Apparently NVIDIA's blog says DX12 discussion begun more than four years ago "with discussions about reducing resource overhead". They worked for a year to deliver "a working design and implementation of DX12 at GDC".

 
 
Thursday March 20, 2014 10:57 Scott Michaud
11:03
 

 
 
 

 

Set your calendar! PC Perspective GDC 14 DirectX 12 Live Blog is Coming!

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | March 19, 2014 - 05:26 PM |
Tagged: live blog, gdc 14, dx12, DirectX 12, DirectX

UPDATE: If you are looking for the live blog information including commentary and photos, we have placed it in archive format right over here.  Thanks!!

It is nearly time for Microsoft to reveal the secrets behind DirectX 12 and what it will offer PC gaming going forward.  I will be in San Francisco for the session and will be live blogging from it as networking allows.  We'll have a couple of other PC Perspective staffers chiming in as well, so it should be an interesting event for sure!  We don't know how much detail Microsoft is going to get into, but we will all know soon.

dx12.jpg

Microsoft DirectX 12 Session Live Blog

Thursday, March 20th, 10am PDT

http://www.pcper.com/live

You can sign up for a reminder using the CoverItLive interface below or you can sign up for the PC Perspective Live mailing list. See you Thursday!

Podcast #290 - Intel SSD 730, ASUS Maximus VI Formula, DirectX 12 and more!

Subject: General Tech | March 6, 2014 - 11:10 AM |
Tagged: video, podcast, asus, amd, AM1, Maximus VI Formula, Intel, ssd, SSD 730, DirectX 12, GDC, coolermaster, CMStorm, R9 290X, Bay Trail

PC Perspective Podcast #290 - 03/06/2014

Join us this week as we discuss the Intel SSD 730, ASUS Maximus VI Formula, DirectX 12 and more!

You can subscribe to us through iTunes and you can still access it directly through the RSS page HERE.

The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!

  • iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the iTunes Store
  • RSS - Subscribe through your regular RSS reader
  • MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file

Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Jeremy Hellstrom, Josh Walrath and Allyn Malventano

 
This podcast is brought to you by Coolermaster, and the CM Storm Pulse-R Gaming Headset!
 
Program length: 1:27:52
  1. Week in Review:
  2. 0:41:43 This podcast is brought to you by Coolermaster, and the CM Storm Pulse-R Gaming Headset
  3. News items of interest:
  4. Hardware/Software Picks of the Week:
  5. Closing/outro

Be sure to subscribe to the PC Perspective YouTube channel!!

Microsoft, Along with AMD, Intel, NVIDIA, and Qualcomm, Will Announce DirectX 12 at GDC 2014

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards, Mobile, Shows and Expos | March 5, 2014 - 05:28 PM |
Tagged: qualcomm, nvidia, microsoft, Intel, gdc 14, GDC, DirectX 12, amd

The announcement of DirectX 12 has been given a date and time via a blog post on the Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) blogs. On March 20th at 10:00am (I assume PDT), a few days into the 2014 Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, California, the upcoming specification should be detailed for attendees. Apparently, four GPU manufacturers will also be involved with the announcement: AMD, Intel, NVIDIA, and Qualcomm.

microsoft-dx12-gdc-announce.jpg

As we reported last week, DirectX 12 is expected to target increased hardware control and decreased CPU overhead for added performance in "cutting-edge 3D graphics" applications. Really, this is the best time for it. Graphics processors are mostly settled into highly-efficient co-processors of parallel data, with some specialized logic for geometry and video tasks. A new specification can relax the needs of video drivers and thus keep the GPU (or GPUs, in Mantle's case) loaded and utilized.

But, to me, the most interesting part of this announcement is the nod to Qualcomm. Microsoft values DirectX as leverage over other x86 and ARM-based operating systems. With Qualcomm, clearly Microsoft believes that either Windows RT or Windows Phone will benefit from the API's next version. While it will probably make PC gamers nervous, mobile platforms will benefit most from reducing CPU overhead, especially if it can be spread out over multiple cores.

Honestly, that is fine by me. As long as Microsoft returns to treating the PC as a first-class citizen, I do not mind them helping mobile, too. We will definitely keep you up to date as we know more.

Source: MSDN Blogs

DirectX 12 and a new OpenGL to challenge AMD Mantle coming at GDC?

Subject: Graphics Cards | February 26, 2014 - 03:17 PM |
Tagged: opengl, nvidia, Mantle, gdc 14, GDC, DirectX 12, DirectX, amd

UPDATE (2/27/14): AMD sent over a statement today after seeing our story.  

AMD would like you to know that it supports and celebrates a direction for game development that is aligned with AMD’s vision of lower-level, ‘closer to the metal’ graphics APIs for PC gaming. While industry experts expect this to take some time, developers can immediately leverage efficient API design using Mantle, and AMD is very excited to share the future of our own API with developers at this year’s Game Developers Conference.

Credit over to Scott and his reader at The Tech Report for spotting this interesting news today!!

It appears that DirectX and OpenGL are going to be announcing some changes at next month's Game Developers Conference in San Francisco.  According to some information found in the session details, both APIs are trying to steal some of the thunder from AMD's Mantle, recently released with the Battlefield 4 patch.  Mantle is na API was built by AMD to enable more direct access (lower level) to its GCN graphics hardware allowing developers to code games that are more efficient, providing better performance for the PC gamer.

mantle.jpg

From the session titled DirectX: Evolving Microsoft's Graphics Platform we find this description (emphasis mine):

For nearly 20 years, DirectX has been the platform used by game developers to create the fastest, most visually impressive games on the planet.

However, you asked us to do more. You asked us to bring you even closer to the metal and to do so on an unparalleled assortment of hardware. You also asked us for better tools so that you can squeeze every last drop of performance out of your PC, tablet, phone and console.

Come learn our plans to deliver.

Another DirectX session hosted by Microsoft is titled DirectX: Direct3D Futures (emphasis mine): 

Come learn how future changes to Direct3D will enable next generation games to run faster than ever before!

In this session we will discuss future improvements in Direct3D that will allow developers an unprecedented level of hardware control and reduced CPU rendering overhead across a broad ecosystem of hardware. 

If you use cutting-edge 3D graphics in your games, middleware, or engines and want to efficiently build rich and immersive visuals, you don't want to miss this talk.

Now look at a line from our initial article on AMD Mantle when announced at its Hawaii tech day event:

It bypasses DirectX (and possibly the hardware abstraction layer) and developers can program very close to the metal with very little overhead from software.

This is all sounding very familiar.  It would appear that Microsoft has finally been listening to the development community and is working on the performance aspects of DirectX.  Likely due in no small part to the push of AMD and Mantle's development, an updated DirectX 12 that includes a similar feature set and similar performance changes would shift the market in a few key ways.

olddirectx.jpg

Is it time again for innovation with DirectX?

First and foremost, what does this do for AMD's Mantle in the near or distant future?  For now, BF4 will still include Mantle support as will games like Thief (update pending) but going forward, if these DX12 changes are as specific as I am being led to believe, then it would be hard to see anyone really sticking with the AMD-only route.  Of course, if DX12 doesn't really address the performance and overhead issues in the same way that Mantle does then all bets are off and we are back to square one.

Interestingly, OpenGL might also be getting into the ring with the session Approaching Zero Driver Overhead in OpenGL

Driver overhead has been a frustrating reality for game developers for the entire life of the PC game industry. On desktop systems, driver overhead can decrease frame rate, while on mobile devices driver overhead is more insidious--robbing both battery life and frame rate. In this unprecedented sponsored session, Graham Sellers (AMD), Tim Foley (Intel), Cass Everitt (NVIDIA) and John McDonald (NVIDIA) will present high-level concepts available in today's OpenGL implementations that radically reduce driver overhead--by up to 10x or more. The techniques presented will apply to all major vendors and are suitable for use across multiple platforms. Additionally, they will demonstrate practical demos of the techniques in action in an extensible, open source comparison framework.

This description seems to indicate more about new or lesser known programming methods that can be used with OpenGL to lower overhead without the need for custom APIs or even DX12.  This could be new modules from vendors or possibly a new revision to OpenGL - we'll find out next month.

All of this leaves us with a lot of questions that will hopefully be answered when we get to GDC in mid-March.  Will this new version of DirectX be enough to reduce API overhead to appease even the stingiest of game developers?  How will AMD react to this new competitor to Mantle (or was Mantle really only created to push this process along)?  What time frame does Microsoft have on DX12?  Does this save NVIDIA from any more pressure to build its own custom API?

Gaming continues to be the driving factor of excitement and innovation for the PC!  Stay tuned for an exciting spring!

Source: Tech Report