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I was reading an article about how Win8 outperforms Win7, and I couldn’t help but giggle a little bit. The article was talking about how Win8 graphics outperforms Win7 graphics and set the tone that it was an amazing breakthrough,   But what’s funny about this is that the entire OS has been migrated to be hardware accelerated using DirectX (ref). YOu can read a lot more about the specifics as Steven Sinofsky covered them on MSDN Blogs. One thing that seemed startling to me is that WP8 doesn’t use D2D, but doesn’t have GDI!. Realistically GDI should have died a death a long time ago (reason why). But Microsoft has been migrating GDI out of the picture for a while now (ref), so it only seems appropriate for them to put the last nail in the GDI coffin.

Before Windows Vista

DirectX is Faster than GDI!!!

In windows 8 the graphics stack has better integration then previous versions of Windows. One of the benifits of this is that the unified graphics runtime (built on DXGF)  avoids side-by-side installation issues. One of the things that seems to come up again and again when people are talking about developing in the WinRT space is that you’re going to be mindful of the FeatureLevel and hardware specifications of the various platforms. Here is the MSDN description of FeatureLevels for DirectX in Win8 with some info scrubbed out for easy reference:

Feature Level 11.1 11.0 10.1 10.0 9.3 9.2 9.1
Shader Model 5.0
5.0
4.x 4.0 2.0
2.0 2.0
Geometry Shader Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No
Stream Out Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No
DirectCompute / Compute Shader Yes Yes Opt Opt N/A N/A N/A
Hull and Domain Shaders Yes Yes No No No No No
Texture Resource Arrays Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No
Cubemap Resource Arrays Yes Yes Yes No No No No
BC4/BC5 Compression Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No
BC6H/BC7 Compression Yes Yes No No No No No
Alpha-to-coverage Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No
Extended Formats (BGRA, and so on) Yes Yes Opt Opt Yes Yes Yes
10-bit XR High Color Format Yes Yes Opt Opt N/A N/A N/A
Logic Operations (Output Merger) Yes Opt Opt Opt No No No
Target-independent rasterization Yes No No No No No No
Multiple render target(MRT) with ForcedSampelCount  Yes Opt Opt Opt No No No
UAV slots 64 8 1 1 N/A N/A N/A
UAVs at every stage Yes No No No N/A N/A N/A
Max forced sample count for UAV-only rendering 16 8 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Constant buffer offsetting and partial updates Yes Opt Opt Opt Yes Yes Yes
16 bits per pixel (bpp) formats Yes Opt Opt Opt Opt Opt Opt
Max Texture Dimension 16384 16384 8192 8192 4096 2048 2048
Max Cubemap Dimension 16384 16384 8192 8192 4096 512 512
Max Volume Extent 2048 2048 2048 2048 256 256 256
Max Texture Repeat 16384 16384 8192 8192 8192 2048 128
Max Anisotropy 16 16 16 16 16 16 2
Max Primitive Count 2^32 – 1 2^32 – 1 2^32 – 1 2^32 – 1 1048575 1048575 65535
Max Input Slots 32 32 32 16 16 16 16
Simultaneous Render Targets 8 8 8 8 4 1 1
Occlusion Queries Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Separate Alpha Blend Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Mirror Once Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Overlapping Vertex Elements Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Independent Write Masks Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Instancing Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Nonpowers-of-2 conditionally
No No No No Yes Yes Yes
Nonpowers-of-2 unconditionally
Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No

The DirectX 11 API is built into Windows 8.

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About Larry Louisiana

I'm a Microsoft Partner Consultant.
This entry was posted in D3D, DirectX, Game Development, GDI, Graphics and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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