Intel and Microsoft Show DirectX 12 Demo and Benchmark

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards, Processors, Mobile, Shows and Expos | August 13, 2014 - 09:55 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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

August 13, 2014 | 10:15 PM - Posted by AMDBumLover (not verified)

ur welcome!

August 13, 2014 | 11:28 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

DX12 CPU optimization is capable on DX11 hardware? I bet M$ will only release it for Windows 9. Which will make Mantle the only option for those with Win7 & Win8.x

Wonder if that's going to piss off game developers with the majority of their base in those operating systems.

August 14, 2014 | 01:37 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

If so, then Mantle wins. Or at least gets such a significant portion of the market that it remains segmented for the next 10 years.

August 14, 2014 | 03:50 AM - Posted by arbiter

win9 is supposed to go back to be like win7 UI wise with old classic start menu probably with update to look modern and not like win8 so

August 14, 2014 | 08:02 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

The problems with Windows 8 go beyond just its lack of a Start Menu. Settings configurations, file associations, changing default applications, glitches caused by power-saving settings, etc. all have weird quirks about them that make the OS frustrating for many desktop power users.

If Windows 9 can address all those to be more like Windows 7, while offering some of the good mechanical parts of Windows 8, then it might be worth an upgrade. With AMD and NVIDIA both offering more efficient drivers without DX12, it's going to be a hard sell if Microsoft expects gamers to upgrade to Windows 9 just for DX12. They could save face by offering DX12 to Vista, 7, 8, and 9 users.

August 14, 2014 | 08:54 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

mantle is irrelevant

August 16, 2014 | 10:46 AM - Posted by ROdNEY

And that is why everyone's working on same "zero driver overhead" goal. Make sense.

September 2, 2014 | 06:59 AM - Posted by Anonymous Lucas (not verified)

Yes. As my understanding, Mantel is different level from DX.

August 14, 2014 | 12:10 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Windows 9 upgrade will probably be free to current users of Windows 8.

August 14, 2014 | 02:10 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

May your dreams come true sir.

August 14, 2014 | 04:24 AM - Posted by Gamer (not verified)

Let's wait and see what Microsoft fake mantle 12 can against the real mantle.

August 15, 2014 | 01:27 AM - Posted by arbiter

Well here's one thing it CAN do mantle can't, BE Supported by nvidia. As for fake mantle, um MS was developing dx12 before AMD came up with mantle so who could really be the fake?

August 14, 2014 | 07:37 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Whow, MS wrap around mantle is as effective as the original, how surprising.

August 14, 2014 | 10:37 AM - Posted by ZoA (not verified)

And nvida reps said in MPC interview few weeks back that low level API is useless technology that produces no real benefit.

August 16, 2014 | 10:48 AM - Posted by ROdNEY

And that is why they support DX12 development. Also makes sense.

August 14, 2014 | 10:39 AM - Posted by H1tman_Actua1

I'll take Intel and MS word over anything AMD's BS "free" campaign has to say.

August 15, 2014 | 01:28 AM - Posted by arbiter

yea AMD has made a lot of claims over last few years that end up not being 100% true.

August 14, 2014 | 01:15 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

For the douche posting power 8 stories all the time

August 14, 2014 | 02:26 PM - Posted by Shortwave (not verified)

All I care about is games performing better with lesser requirements. My goal in the next few years is to be PC gaming off grid, out of my backpack. So I personally don't care who's making things run better differently. Be it solar, software, hardware, GAMING. Life. Just keep butting heads and out-doing each other in any way possible to push whatever's possible into oblivion!

Thank you.