At this point, we’ve seen the magic that DirectX 12 can do even on preliminary software and drivers, and it has the potential to make games currently unplayable on existing PC’s run as smooth as butter. Today, we learn even more very exciting capabilities to come.
According to Toms Hardware and their source “with knowledge of the matter”, DirectX 12 is going to feature some pretty impressive multi-GPU support. Thanks to ‘Explicit Asynchronous Multi-GPU Capabilities’, DirectX 12 will allow games to utilize multiple GPUs as if they were a single unit. This would mean that instead of the Alternate Frame Rendering (AFR) technique that older APIs use where texture and geometry data in frame buffers have to be mirrored across GPU’s, DirectX 12 will use Split Frame Rendering (SFR) where a game would divide the texture and geometry data between the GPUs.
As a result, games can ensure that specific graphics workloads are distributed to the GPU that is better capable of processing it. This would also significantly reduce latency as SFR would result in a lower queue depth when it comes to rendering frames.
“The source said that with binding the multiple GPUs together, DirectX 12 treats the entire graphics subsystem as a single, more powerful graphics card. Thus, users get the robustness of a running a single GPU, but with multiple graphics cards.” – Toms Hardware
Here comes the best part, thanks to this rendering technique, DirectX 12 will be blind to GPU brands or architectures, as in it will work across systems with one MSI GTX 980 and one XFX GTX 770, or a system with an EVGA GTX Titan Z paired with a Sapphire Radeon 295X, or any other GPU combination for that matter.
For the first time, gamers will be able to make the best out of their GPU’s regardless of what company or generation it’s from. The same applies to laptops with multiple GPUs onboard. This could also mean that you could use an AMD graphics card as the master card and a secondary NVIDIA card for added features like PhysX, something gamers have been wishing for for a long time now.
“What we're seeing here is that DirectX 12 is capable of aggregating graphics resources, be that compute or memory, in the most efficient way possible… DirectX 12's aggregation will allow GPUs to work together that today would be completely mismatched, possibly making technologies like SLI and CrossFire obsolete in the future.”
As is the case with almost everything else that seems too good to be true, there is a catch. Bringing a lot of the optimizations you read above to life will fall into the hands of game developers, DirectX 12 just gives them the canvas to make these optimizations possible. The good news is that thanks to the way the DirectX 12 APIs are designed, it should be a rather hassle-free procedure to integrate.
DirectX 12 will be arriving alongside Windows 10 later this year, and we should be learning more about some of its new features and capabilities during the Games Developer Conference that runs from March 2-6. We will be watching the developments closely so stay tuned to WinBeta for more on DirectX 12 and future of PC gaming.