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Microsoft Confirms DirectX 12 Is Alive and Well, Demo Coming At GDC

timothy posted about 8 months ago | from the what-keeps-society-alive dept.

Graphics 127

MojoKid writes "Buzz has been building for the last week that Microsoft would soon unveil the next version of DirectX at the upcoming Games Developer Conference (GDC). Microsoft has now confirmed that its discussion forums at the show won't just be to discuss updates to DX11, but that the company is putting a full court press behind DirectX 12. The company responded sharply over a year ago, when an AMD executive claimed that future versions of the API were essentially dead, but it has been over four years since DX11 debuted. To date, Microsoft has only revealed a few details of the next-generation API. Like AMD's Mantle, it will focus on giving developers "close-to-metal" GPU resource access and reducing CPU overhead. Like Mantle, the goal of DirectX 12 is to give programmers more control over performance tuning, with an eye towards better multi-threading and multi-GPU scaling. Unlike Mantle, DirectX 12 will undoubtedly support a full range of GPUs from AMD, Intel, Nvidia and Qualcomm. Qualcomm's presence is interesting. With Windows RT all but moribund, Qualcomm's interest in that market may have seemed incidental. However, the fact that the company is involved with the DX12 standard could mean that the handset and tablet developer is serious about the Windows market in the long term."

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Why not open source it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46423047)

Open development, more involvement from the community, more trust. Would be good for both Microsoft and its users.

Re:Why not open source it? (3, Insightful)

exomondo (1725132) | about 8 months ago | (#46423099)

Open development, more involvement from the community, more trust. Would be good for both Microsoft and its users.

Does it really need to be? Despite the name you will find that most OpenGL implementations aren't open source.

Re:Why not open source it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46423213)

Does it really need to be? Despite the name you will find that most OpenGL implementations aren't open source.

I for one would not have anything against them changing that.

Re:Why not open source it? (1)

exomondo (1725132) | about 8 months ago | (#46423287)

Well then perhaps you should get on to the graphics card manufacturers, they are the people that implement the spec for their hardware.

Re:Why not open source it? (4, Insightful)

cheater512 (783349) | about 8 months ago | (#46423269)

But the OpenGL standard is very much open. Unlike DirectX.
Which goes a big way to explain why it is king everywhere except Windows PCs.

Re:Why not open source it? (1)

exomondo (1725132) | about 8 months ago | (#46423339)

But the OpenGL standard is very much open. Unlike DirectX.
Which goes a big way to explain why it is king everywhere except Windows PCs.

How so?

Re:Why not open source it? (2)

gbjbaanb (229885) | about 7 months ago | (#46424031)

all but xbox consoles, mobile, Max and Linux. Mobile itself it a huge reason to use OpenGL - only one that supports Dx is Windows.

So you choose: DX and support Windows, or OGL and support everything. I know a lot of game companies are choosing the latter, mainly because they have to to support iOS and Android, they don't have the option to back-port to DX, especially when they can trivially port their OGL code to Windows anyway.

Re:Why not open source it? (1)

exomondo (1725132) | about 7 months ago | (#46424171)

Yes but being an open standard has nothing to do with that, the key implementers also have access to the DirectX spec. The confinement of DirectX to Windows-based platforms is simply due to Microsoft restricting the API to those platforms. If they suddenly provided that API on other platforms the graphics driver writers would just write DirectX drivers for those platforms the same way that they do for OpenGL because they already have the DirectX spec. What you wouldn't get without an open spec is a Mesa implementation.

Re:Why not open source it? (4, Insightful)

cheater512 (783349) | about 7 months ago | (#46424363)

So your saying that if Microsoft opened up DirectX it would be possible to use on the same devices where OpenGL is used now?

No shit sherlock. Then DirectX would be as *open* as OpenGL.

Being a open standard has everything to do with OpenGL's adoption.

Re:Why not open source it? (2)

exomondo (1725132) | about 7 months ago | (#46424753)

So your saying that if Microsoft opened up DirectX it would be possible to use on the same devices where OpenGL is used now?

No, that isn't what I'm saying at all, the spec is Windows-specific and even if it wasn't it would require the hardware manufacturers - that already have the spec anyway - to write platform-specific implementations of DirectX for their hardware. Opening up the spec would do nothing because what influential company would get it that doesn't already have it? And what good would an open spec do for platform portability when the spec is platform-specific?

The way they could support more platforms is by changing the spec to make it portable, all the hardware manufacturers have access to it already anyway so opening it won't change anything.

Re:Why not open source it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46425091)

Sigh... "you're"

Re:Why not open source it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46423497)

the companies that write the opengl drivers are the same companies that write the directx drivers. the exception to that (the groups that have access to the opengl spec by virtue of it being open but dont have access to the directx spec) is mesa and nouveau but those are hardly driving opengl adoption, barely anybody uses them.

the more pertinent point is why would anybody develop a directx driver for linux? as it is the opengl spec is open and the drivers built by virtue of that are available on very limited platforms for very limited hardware and are still far behind feature-wise.

Re:Why not open source it? (2)

strstr (539330) | about 7 months ago | (#46425689)

Developers use DirectX because its superior and more advanced, and does more things right.

OpenGL takes longer to be updated and they took paths that led the format to be cumbersum and less optimized.

DirectX became king after version 9 was released because they essentially scrapped the old API, made many renovations that were necessary, whereas OpenGL has been identical from the beginning. Apparently very antiquated and doesn't do modern things as well.

its true that OpenGL is used on other platforms, but only because its the only solution and DirectX isn't available...

Here is John Carmacks comments which basically state the same thing.. http://www.bit-tech.net/news/g... [bit-tech.net]

Open means standard not source (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46423321)

...and that is trumps open source for most of us.

From the invaluble wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khronos_Group "The Khronos Group is an American not-for-profit member-funded industry consortium based in Beaverton, Oregon, focused on the creation of open standard, royalty-free application programming interfaces (APIs) for authoring and accelerated playback of dynamic media on a wide variety of platforms and devices." Note this is not just opengl.

I am not sure why the original poster has been modded down. OpenGL suffered from the very same bitcruft that DirectX suffers from today until The Kronasgroup "companies including ATI Technologies, Discreet, Evans & Sutherland, Intel Corporation, NVIDIA, Silicon Graphics (SGI), and Sun Microsystems. It now has roughly 100 member companies" got their shit together.

Re:Open means standard not source (1)

exomondo (1725132) | about 8 months ago | (#46423363)

...except when the comment title explicitly says "open source": Why not open source it? [slashdot.org] .

Re:Why not open source it? (1)

mlts (1038732) | about 8 months ago | (#46423303)

It would be nice to to see an ActiveX API be made cross-platform (Linux, OS X, iOS, Android, Windows, QNX, maybe even embedded platforms.) It definitely would beat PHIGS for an OpenGL alternative, although OpenGL is a pretty mature, stable API these days. I don't read about many horror stories by people using it for game writing.

If it could be used on an embedded platform, this gives some interesting possibilities for new and improved UIs (although my cynical side things it would be used for meaningless fluff as opposed to UI elements that are actually worth having.)

Re:Why not open source it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46423725)

It would be nice to to see an ActiveX API be made cross-platform (Linux, OS X, iOS, Android, Windows, QNX, maybe even embedded platforms.) It definitely would beat PHIGS for an OpenGL alternative, although OpenGL is a pretty mature, stable API these days.

Having a good open standard developed by various collaborators in the industry is going to be more beneficial here especially in the case where hardware makers need to be the ones to support it. I cant see them feeling that creating both an opengl and directx implementation for every piece of hardware and every platform they support being of particular benefit for them especially when most of them contribute to and are part of developing the opengl standard already anyway.

Re:Why not open source it? (4, Insightful)

symbolset (646467) | about 7 months ago | (#46423899)

The purpose of the existence of DirectX is to prevent cross-platform solutions.

Re:Why not open source it? (1, Insightful)

Dunge (922521) | about 7 months ago | (#46424697)

No, the purpose of DirectX is to make the best graphics API available so that developers use it, and it's doing an awesome job at it. The fact that is not cross-platform is only because Microsoft don't see any advantages at working for free and doing it, why would they?

Re:Why not open source it? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46424939)

I used to use DirectX for some data visualization software (and occasional game in my free time) because it was easy to use and the systems our software was going to be used on was Windows anyway. But times change, we switched to OpenGL when we wanted to support other systems. An amusing benefit was being able to access features in Windows XP that people said couldn't handle it, a lie MS told about DirectX 10. If MS's top priority was making the best graphics possible, they could have gone with OpenGL, made it better (or some weird variation at least), then have the developers benefit both from contributions from MS and contributions from others. instead, they are forcing a choice, and more and more developers don't have the option of choosing DriectX, and not really missing it afterwards.

Better be for Windows 7 (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46423071)

or devs Will not use it

Re:Better be for Windows 7 (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46423101)

Please don't speak for Will, if he has anything to say about this I'd like him to chime in himself.

Re:Better be for Windows 7 (5, Informative)

Joce640k (829181) | about 8 months ago | (#46423117)

LOL! You must be new here....

Every release of DirectX has been used as a tool to try to get people to upgrade their version of Windows. This will be no different.

Re:Better be for Windows 7 (0)

Dunge (922521) | about 8 months ago | (#46423417)

It was necessary evil to be able to publish new video driver model architecture with neat features, get over it.

Re:Better be for Windows 7 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46423525)

Of course it was, both times. Your naivety is amusing now run along back to your masters shill.

Re:Better be for Windows 7 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46423869)

Both times? The driver model changed going from XP to Vista. That's it.

Re:Better be for Windows 7 (2)

gbjbaanb (229885) | about 7 months ago | (#46423955)

both times: from XP to Vista, and then with Vista to Win7 sp1 - DX10 and then DX11.1

Re:Better be for Windows 7 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46424235)

Except drivers for Vista will work in Windows 7 and Windows 8.

Re:Better be for Windows 7 (0)

Joce640k (829181) | about 7 months ago | (#46424265)

Don't forget that DX11.1 mysteriously started working on Windows XP when Microsoft decided it could:

http://www.microsoft.com/en-us... [microsoft.com]

( System requirements: Windows XP Service Pack 2 )

Re:Better be for Windows 7 (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46424483)

That links to the DX9 redist. Look at details, it says version 9.29.1974.

Re:Better be for Windows 7 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46425745)

lol gbjbaanb thinks directx is a driver lol

Re:Better be for Windows 7 (0)

Dunge (922521) | about 7 months ago | (#46424681)

You are the naive one in this situation. Just because it look like a good opportunity to hate Microsoft doesn't mean that you are right.

Re:Better be for Windows 7 (1)

Barlo_Mung_42 (411228) | about 7 months ago | (#46423929)

I wouldn't even say it's evil, just necessary.

Re:Better be for Windows 7 (-1)

Joce640k (829181) | about 7 months ago | (#46424237)

It was necessary evil to be able to publish new video driver model architecture with neat features, get over it.

LOL!

People managed to make DX10 run on XP without official support from MS/NVIDIA/AMD: https://www.google.es/search?q... [google.es]

Later on...guess what? Microsoft decided to allow DX11 to run as well: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us... [microsoft.com]

There's no relation between an operating system and the feature set exposed by the video driver. It's just another API.

Re:Better be for Windows 7 (3, Informative)

mcl630 (1839996) | about 7 months ago | (#46424443)

Later on...guess what? Microsoft decided to allow DX11 to run as well: http://www.microsoft.com/en-us... [microsoft.com]

Wrong... the update you linked only installs the latest updates to DX9.0c when installed on XP. It does not add DX10 or DX11 to XP. When installed on Vista or 7 it includes DX10 and DX11.

Re:Better be for Windows 7 (1)

Dunge (922521) | about 7 months ago | (#46424673)

LOL! no... it don't.

Re:Better be for Windows 7 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46424339)

what a fucking idiot

Re:Better be for Windows 7 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46424515)

Tell that to the guys who ported DirectX10 to WindowsXP.

Re:Better be for Windows 7 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46424605)

In which fantasy world did that happen?

Re:Better be for Windows 7 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46424709)

I can only assume you're talking about Alky, a project written by Daeken/Cody Brocious that was never released. It also wasn't a "port" of DirectX 10 so much as a DirectX 10 API compatible wrapper around OpenGL. Again, it was never released in a working state.

Re:Better be for Windows 7 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46423709)

Has that ever worked? IIRC, DX10 did not help vista at all and it was basically shunned until XP was EoLed and win7 came out.

Re:Better be for Windows 7 (4, Informative)

Billly Gates (198444) | about 7 months ago | (#46423947)

DirectX11 was back ported to Vista.

The reason DirectX 10/11 was not backported to XP was not because of mean old bad microsoft but rather WinXP is such an obsolete archaic OS that is fundamentally different.

The driver model of NT (pre Vista) does not include WDDM (Windows Device Display Manager) which includes composition and GPU based threading and schedule control etc. One of the strongest reasons to ditch Xorg in the Unix world is because of features like this that Wayland promises to integrate because it is fundamentally different.

Also explains why XP is stuck at IE 8 due to no hardware acceleration ... in addition to no kernel level sandboxing either for security.

Microsoft can't play the old 1990's game where we buy which ever version and hang out at CompUSA at 12am to get it anymore. MS found out the shocking way developers resistant to technology in IE 6 last decade. MBA's look at marketshare now so if I were a betting man my guess would be DirectX 12 will be ported. If not then it will be suicide as XBoxONE won't use it and developers want to target both for maximum profit generation which is why DirectX 9 stayed for so long too.

Windows 9 will be very similar to Windows 7 as there is no reason for radical changes other than perhaps power management. It wont be that much of hassle as MS easily backported many IE 10/11 features to Windows 7 in just a month or two after the Windows 8 releases. Windows 7 at least has a WDDM unlike XP.

 

Re:Better be for Windows 7 (1)

yuhong (1378501) | about 7 months ago | (#46424047)

DirectX11 was back ported to Vista.

Even that was done in a completely different way from the old DX redists, the last of which was released in 2004.

Re:Better be for Windows 7 (-1)

Joce640k (829181) | about 7 months ago | (#46424293)

DirectX11 was back ported to Vista.

The reason DirectX 10/11 was not backported to XP was not because of mean old bad microsoft but rather WinXP is such an obsolete archaic OS that is fundamentally different.

Weird that the system requirements for DX11 suddenly changed later on - to allow XP!

http://community.spiceworks.co... [spiceworks.com]

Some people might think that it was mean old bad microsoft after all...that the "obsolete archaic OS" thing was just a lie.

Re:Better be for Windows 7 (2)

mcl630 (1839996) | about 7 months ago | (#46424459)

Read the comments in the link you posted, that update does not add DX10 or DX11 to XP, it only updates DX9 when installed on XP.

Re:Better be for Windows 7 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46424813)

How many times are you going to pump this lie?

Re:Better be for Windows 7 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46424901)

He's a an Apple shill. In lieu of having a real job, he sits around Starbucks all day spreading anti-MS FUD.

Re:Better be for Windows 7 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46425393)

No, it didn't so I suspect you have never tried it. Even the first 2 comments on the linked website confirm it:

Nick-C Sep 1, 2010 at 6:09 PM
That is just the latest version of DirectX - if you install it on XP you will only be able to use DirectX 9 still, if you install it on Windows 7 then it will also update the DirectX 10 and 11 components too.

Rick_B Sep 1, 2010 at 7:08 PM
This is what I was suspecting, as when I installed the Web installer, it only installed up to 9. I have posted several questions to the ERP forum that was recommending this asking for clarification.

Re:Better be for Windows 7 (1)

yuhong (1378501) | about 7 months ago | (#46424039)

MS abandoned the old DX redists after 9.0c released in Aug 2004.

Re:Better be for Windows 7 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46424837)

Look at it this way, if so it will just encourage more devs to go OpenGl, making porting to OSX and Linux easier. So thanks for supporting other OS's Microsoft, you're continued dedication to such is appreciated!

Re:Better be for Windows 7 (4, Informative)

Frobnicator (565869) | about 8 months ago | (#46423427)

Better be for Windows 7 or devs will not use it

Perhaps you missed the announcements that have been coming from Redmond for nearly a decade. The core components, such as Direct3D and DirectInput, are considered part of the operating system [microsoft.com] .

Starting with Vista the version of DirectX is incremented with the version of the Windows SDK, and no back porting will take place. [microsoft.com] (powerpoint)

Since many people didn't catch it, they re-announced it with the platform update for WIndows 7: If you want DX11.1, you must get the service pack update [microsoft.com] .

The have already said announcement at GDC will not deviate their course; DirectX 12 is being announced late March as part of a series of press releases right before the new Windows SDK for the 8.1 Update is released in April. All of the updates are part of the Windows SDK for 8.1 Update. [microsoft.com] , much like the Windows 7 Update where they released a new Windows SDK to accompany it..

And a fifth time, just in case you missed it: Effective 2006, Microsoft has stopped distributing individual DirectX packages. It is now a core operating system component. They have not backported the drivers for nearly a decade, and they have repeatedly told people that the backports are gone. It will not be on Windows 7. [microsoft.com]

Got it? Can it be made more clear?

XP = DX9c. Vista = DX10. Vista SP1 = DX10.1. Vista SP2 = DX10.2. Win7 = DX11. WIn 7 SP1 = DX11.1. Win 8 = DX11.1. Win 8.1 = DX11.2. And now it looks like Win 8.1 SP1 = DX12. It really shouldn't be that difficult to grasp.

Or just use OpenGL (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46423537)

Get more modern features even on XP, and easier ports to iOS/Android/PS4/PS3/OSX/SteamOS/a toaster.

Just a few years ago it looked like there wasn't much of a point to OpenGL any more. Now it looks more like that for Direct3D.

Re:Better be for Windows 7 (1)

Frobnicator (565869) | about 7 months ago | (#46423643)

The core components, such as Direct3D and DirectInput, are considered part of the operating system [microsoft.com]

Considering how they are tied to windows core components, I suppose there is a slim chance that Windows 7 SP2 could potentially include DX12 in it.

Of course, there is also a slim chance the Easter Bunny will bring me solid gold eggs and Santa will fill my stocking with hundred dollar bills. I'd much prefer either of those.

Re:Better be for Windows 7 (1)

sexconker (1179573) | about 7 months ago | (#46423889)

The core components, such as Direct3D and DirectInput, are considered part of the operating system [microsoft.com]

Considering how they are tied to windows core components, I suppose there is a slim chance that Windows 7 SP2 could potentially include DX12 in it.

Of course, there is also a slim chance the Easter Bunny will bring me solid gold eggs and Santa will fill my stocking with hundred dollar bills. I'd much prefer either of those.

There is no plan for Windows 7 SP2.
Windows 9 would have to be delayed by over a year, with sales of 8.1 remaining flat before they even consider it.

Re:Better be for Windows 7 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46424141)

How can DX be tied to windows core components when MS is promising that the latest version gives developers access to the "bare metal"??

Re:Better be for Windows 7 (4, Informative)

Baloroth (2370816) | about 7 months ago | (#46423657)

XP = DX9c. Vista = DX10. Vista SP1 = DX10.1. Vista SP2 = DX10.2. Win7 = DX11. WIn 7 SP1 = DX11.1. Win 8 = DX11.1. Win 8.1 = DX11.2. And now it looks like Win 8.1 SP1 = DX12. It really shouldn't be that difficult to grasp.

Perhaps it shouldn't, but considering that you got it wrong, as Microsoft added DX11 support to Vista [wikipedia.org] , obviously it's slightly more difficult to grasp than you seem to think it is.

DX 12 in Win7? Unlikely but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46425511)

MS will never come out with another service pack for Win7. Windows 8 (just the stuff under the hood, not the UI) was SP2, and 8.1 is SP3. But could they recognize Win7's wide acceptance in business by releasing an update rollup? They did that win Win2K long after the last service pack, mainly so businesses using it would have a baseline package of updates to the final service pack for systems that would keep using it for a while. By not calling it a service pack it doesn't reset any of their schedules for cutting back on support.

Re:Better be for Windows 7 (1)

edxwelch (600979) | about 7 months ago | (#46425311)

In theory Microsoft could release DirectX 12 as Windows 7 SP2, just the same way they did for DirectX 11.1.
That might seem unlikely, but Mantle supports Windows 7, so if they want to prevent Mantle from getting popular they might have to consider it.

Great News! (2)

exomondo (1725132) | about 8 months ago | (#46423087)

If only for the fact that it will push OpenGL forward. Mantle looks promising (and should support non-AMD GPUs as well) but is still some time away from public release.

Re:Great News! (1)

InvalidError (771317) | about 7 months ago | (#46424225)

Since AMD was very clear that Mantle only works with their GPUs based on GCN architecture, it seems to imply that although the API might be portable to other GPUs, the amount of middleware necessary to bridge the gap between the API and other architectures may not be worth the trouble - at least too much trouble to bother porting it to their own older GPUs. It certainly won't be if DX12 delivers on most of those closer-to-the-metal promises.

Re:Great News! (2)

exomondo (1725132) | about 7 months ago | (#46424289)

Since AMD was very clear that Mantle only works with their GPUs based on GCN architecture

No actually they were very clear it does not require GCN architecture, it works with GCN cards but does not require it. See the "Multi-Vendor" slide here [wccftech.com] .

Mantle is designed to be a thin hardware abstraction:
-Not tied to AMD's GCN architecture

Re:Great News! (1)

InvalidError (771317) | about 7 months ago | (#46424825)

That article merely says that GCN is not mandatory.

Just because you can beat the API into "working" on something else does not mean it will be as efficient. Mantle was designed around GCN so the API likely has tons of things that map almost exactly 1:1 with GCN hardware but not necessarily quite that neatly on anything else. That's where the extra middleware comes in.

If you read the conclusion of your cited article, they say exactly what I said, albeit in different words: Mantle's roots are likely too close to GCN to be truly portable between vendors (or AMD's own previous and possibly future post-GCN architectures) unless other vendors change their architectures to something more GCN-like.

AFAIK, AMD never answered when asked what will happen to Mantle beyond GCN - apart from saying GCN would be around for the foreseeable future.

Re:Great News! (1)

exomondo (1725132) | about 7 months ago | (#46425167)

Everything you say is just speculation and given they also explicitly say: "Mantle would be a much more efficient graphics API for other vendors as well" I don't think I would put much stock in your assessment. Moreover just because you have middleware doesn't suddenly make it inefficient.

Re:Great News! (1)

InvalidError (771317) | about 7 months ago | (#46425725)

Which is more efficient?
1- a GPU architecture that can accept API calls almost straight-through
2- a GPU that requires middleware to re-arrange code and data going through the API

Can you honestly tell me AMD did not coordinate Mantle and GCN design efforts to provide close to the thinnest middleware layer possible between the API and GCN? Can you honestly tell me the middleware for other architectures won't be thicker to match API features GCN handles natively but other GPUs have no native direct equivalent for? Can you honestly tell me a thicker middleware is going to perform equally well?

I'm not saying there won't be any performance benefits for other vendors. Just that the decks are almost certainly stacked in AMD's favor to some potentially non-negligible extent. Unless Nvidia decides to adopt Mantle, we will never find out exactly how much that is.

Re:Great News! (1)

exomondo (1725132) | about 7 months ago | (#46425785)

Which is more efficient?
1- a GPU architecture that can accept API calls almost straight-through
2- a GPU that requires middleware to re-arrange code and data going through the API

Obviously the former, but Mantle, OpenGL, Direct3D, Glide, RRedline, Heidi are all the latter so what is your point? Even if Mantle is slightly more 1 than 2 on some hardware that doesn't mean that it's not going to be better than the incumbents.

Can you honestly tell me AMD did not coordinate Mantle and GCN design efforts to provide close to the thinnest middleware layer possible between the API and GCN?

Why would I? I'm sure they probably did, that still means nothing in comparison to other vendors and APIs.

Can you honestly tell me the middleware for other architectures won't be thicker to match API features GCN handles natively but other GPUs have no native direct equivalent for?

Why would I? It probably will, but that doesn't mean it's worse than OpenGL or Direct3D.

Can you honestly tell me a thicker middleware is going to perform equally well?

Again, why would I? I think it's obvious that the more functionality that is in software as opposed to hardware the slower it will be.

I'm not saying there won't be any performance benefits for other vendors. Just that the decks are almost certainly stacked in AMD's favor to some potentially non-negligible extent.

Of course, we already know that, they developed Mantle.

The point is that they have said it is going to be much more efficient even on non-GCN architectures and while I'm not going to buy into that I don't see any reason to dismiss it just because Mantle was designed around GCN. There is going to be API overhead, there will always be API overhead and we already have it with existing APIs.

Re:Great News! (1)

Mashiki (184564) | about 7 months ago | (#46426315)

Who do you think you are? Nvidia, where they went out of their way to break physx if you have a AMD card installed in your system.

Ummm, let me guess... (1)

eyepeepackets (33477) | about 8 months ago | (#46423093)

...requires Windows 8.1 or better and Bing on the desktop.

Re:Ummm, let me guess... (1)

kthreadd (1558445) | about 8 months ago | (#46423223)

As long as I can use it from VB6 I'm happy.

Re:Ummm, let me guess... (1)

dhalsim2 (626618) | about 7 months ago | (#46423727)

Hopefully not.

But seriously, when Microsoft started paying people to use Bing [bing.com] , I switched and haven't looked back. The search results are pretty good and I've already made $6.53 in the past month. :)

Re:Ummm, let me guess... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46424209)

Bing is a better search engine than Google and I've already gotten several rewards through it. It's always a nice surprise to get free gift cards.

or... (1, Insightful)

JustNiz (692889) | about 8 months ago | (#46423145)

>>> However, the fact that the company is involved with the DX12 standard could mean that the handset and tablet developer is serious about the Windows market in the long term." ...Or it could mean that even though they already know Windows phone is almost certainly dead, being seen to be playing nice with Microsoft is worth the relatively small cost of 1 developer who is only actually working on this in any otherwise slack time.

Re:or... (1)

im_thatoneguy (819432) | about 7 months ago | (#46424931)

I wouldn't describe the Windows Phone market as "dead". It's doubled in the last 12 months and it looks like Microsoft has given up on it being a premium iPhone competitor which opens it up to competing with the crappy android hardware that's flooded the market.

With 1B smartphones sold each year even a 5-10% runner up represents a pretty substantial market for Qualcom.

so basically... (1)

JustNiz (692889) | about 8 months ago | (#46423313)

>> it will focus on giving developers "close-to-metal" GPU resource access and reducing CPU overhead.

Translation: ...its finally been gutted of a lot of heavy Microsoft crapware and is now just a thin wrapper over the GPU vendor's own driver.

I wish the rest of Windows would go that way too.

Re:so basically... (1)

Billly Gates (198444) | about 7 months ago | (#46424021)

>> it will focus on giving developers "close-to-metal" GPU resource access and reducing CPU overhead.

Translation: ...its finally been gutted of a lot of heavy Microsoft crapware and is now just a thin wrapper over the GPU vendor's own driver.

I wish the rest of Windows would go that way too.

Much of the speed of Mantle over OpenGL and DirectX have to do with the CPU processing draws to the screen. If you have an older Phemon II but with a decent card (my own system) doing this in GPU benefits. DirectX 12 will look at cpu vs gpu functions and execute on either depending on which is faster.

Basically it is a bottleneck as the GPU sits there waiting for the cpu in many games and if hardware in the GPU can do these things it takes the load off the CPU so the GPU can thread efficiently. In other words it is like blocking threads for regular systems programmers.

Re:so basically... (1)

Pinky's Brain (1158667) | about 7 months ago | (#46424381)

DirectX has handles, Mantle probably has pointers ... that's where I think much of the speed will come from.

Re:so basically... (1)

mikael (484) | about 7 months ago | (#46424803)

Last time I checked, DirectX 11 had descriptors for all the different attributes of the pipeline, while OpenGL still had the state management functions that managed them indirectly. With both drivers, you are managing buffer blocks of data to read data from and writing to - these may be on the CPU or GPU side (textures, vertex buffer objects, transform feedback buffers, framebuffer objects, uniform buffer objects, shader storage objects). You just set what you need, and just call a draw function. Everything gets sucked in and blasted out. The crazy thing is that you'll can have 100+ lines of setup code with error checking just to make that one draw call.

Re:so basically... (1)

exomondo (1725132) | about 7 months ago | (#46425413)

DirectX has handles, Mantle probably has pointers ... that's where I think much of the speed will come from.

"Handle" is a generic term for a reference to a resource - which often means pointer. Where would you get a massive speed increase from?

Re:so basically... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46425825)

ummmm a handle IS A pointer, it is merely the term for a pointer to a resource. and no mantle doesn't get its speed that way at all, It gets it speed by not making the draw calls one at a time like current OpenGL/DirectX do natively, in effect feeding the GPU in much larger chunks rather than 100's of draw calls per frame. the net effect being the GPU can work harder while the CPU can work less.

Re:so basically... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46424405)

>> it will focus on giving developers "close-to-metal" GPU resource access and reducing CPU overhead.

Translation: ...its finally been gutted of a lot of heavy Microsoft crapware and is now just a thin wrapper over the GPU vendor's own driver.

I wish the rest of Windows would go that way too.

Not at all, DirectX is actually surprisingly efficient, however modern GPU's nowadays are at the point where the bottleneck is now the CPU's ability to feed it. This has meant a rethink in the architecture with things like mantle to allow more offloading of the processing direct to the GPU, people don't seem to understand even mantle still requires DirectX or OpenGL on top of it, mantle is really more a replacement for a layer within these API's, not a complete API replacement.

Jerks (1)

mc6809e (214243) | about 8 months ago | (#46423317)

These sorts of announcements have the effect of freezing developers and keeping them from moving to superior technology.

They would have done nothing if not for AMD and now they're going to steal AMD's thunder.

This sort of thing makes my blood boil.

If you're a developer out there, please, don't let Microsoft get away with this.

Re:Jerks (4, Informative)

jones_supa (887896) | about 8 months ago | (#46423379)

Mantle seems to have woken up the OpenGL folk [phoronix.com] too.

Re:Jerks (2)

DaHat (247651) | about 8 months ago | (#46423505)

These sorts of announcements have the effect of freezing developers and keeping them from moving to superior technology.

Which developers are you talking about? I'd wager that the biggest money makers and users of these APIs (AAA game developers) already have good enough relationships with Microsoft, Sony, etc where under NDA they are able to offer feedback on existing and proposed API/platform directions and allow themselves to be in sync with where it is going.

Re:Jerks (2)

exomondo (1725132) | about 7 months ago | (#46423957)

If you're a developer out there, please, don't let Microsoft get away with this.

So what should I do instead? AMD hasn't even released Mantle so this doesn't have the effect of 'freezing developers' at all. I'm primarily an OpenGL developer rather than DirectX but I always like when a new version of DirectX ships as that has an impact on pushing OpenGL forward. But do you really think developers should freeze development and wait for AMD to give us Mantle? I don't, I'll judge it when it's released but I'm not making a call on it now (same goes for DX12).

Re:Jerks (1)

im_thatoneguy (819432) | about 7 months ago | (#46424781)

AMD wouldn't have done anything if it weren't for Epic and Valve etc. AMD is responding to developer requests for more baremetal access. The developers who have been talking to AMD and NVidia are also talking to Microsoft and the OpenGL consortium and everybody in between.

The driver whip (1)

uCallHimDrJ0NES (2546640) | about 8 months ago | (#46423369)

This is the way they force us to upgrade, which in turn forces peripheral manufacturers to write Windows 8.1 drivers, for which they get paid nothing. It really is a sick little cycle. I'm tired of watching it.

Nice (4, Informative)

Dunge (922521) | about 8 months ago | (#46423405)

Slashdot is filled with haters, but just to do the inverse I'm really happy about this. DirectX always been top-notch, high-tech and the easiest API to work with for developers along with the best performance from shaders (yeah I know OpenGL have more brute draw calls per sec). This will push graphic technology forward. I'm very eager to see it, and I'm happy that Microsoft is still going because ATI Mantle was limited to a single vendor and couldn't succeed for this only reason.

Why the hate (1)

tuppe666 (904118) | about 7 months ago | (#46423811)

I get a little bored with the defence that people hate something implying that they are somehow emotionally against something. Directx was another single platform Microsoft APIs. Through dominance and laziness like internet explorer it has thrown away it's lead. Hate it... hardly notice it... Love the massive growth if cross platform gaming since Microsoft dropped the ball... high fives all around. Welcome to competition.

Re:Why the hate (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46424095)

I get a little bored with the defence that people hate something implying that they are somehow emotionally against something.

That's rich coming from someone who can easily be identified as a Linux zealot.

Directx was another single platform Microsoft APIs.

You used the past tense, that's cute. Keep on hatin'. We wouldn't want you any other way. *wink*

Re:Why the hate (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46424323)

That doesn't make the other APIs better though :)

Re:Nice (1)

asmkm22 (1902712) | about 7 months ago | (#46425141)

Except that DX 12 will more than likely require Win 8, so it will be a mostly underutilized option.

Re:Nice (1)

aliquis (678370) | about 7 months ago | (#46425363)

Except AMD Mantle isn't limited to a single vendor? Supposedly? In the future? If someone want to implement it? =P

Whereas DirectX kinda is :)

Then again it's more popular and relevant as is.

Re:Nice (1)

kayoshiii (1099149) | about 7 months ago | (#46425923)

How is DirectX not a single Vendor technology? sure you can run more than one companies hardware.

Re:Nice (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 7 months ago | (#46426183)

DirectX always been top-notch, high-tech and the easiest API to work with for developers

Really? How about back when it was impossible to plot a simple pixel on a D3D window without using GDI?

Windows 9 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46423429)

Of course its being worked on. And of course it'll be Windows 9 exclusive.

market share vs profits (1)

tuppe666 (904118) | about 7 months ago | (#46423979)

I have seen lots of these posts, and there is lots of presidents to back it up. Directx was just another thing that was propping up Microsoft resilient monopoly on the desktop... A shrinking market... with ever growing refresh cycles, and Is increasingly dwarfed by the overall computer market that is mainly android... Using directx especially as a platform exclusive could simply cause this market share to shrink faster... For the sake of a few early conversions to a later version of its OS; there are other ways to milk it's hostages. This is not the same market that had Steve jobs begging like a bitch with patents for Microsoft's pocket change while apple is on its knees. This is Microsoft the hardware and services company. The one that is prepared to bet it's future on sneaking in an app store and a hardware lock, behind the metro(where are the windows never mind the start button) interface. No wonder stream is pushing Linux.

Re:market share vs profits (1)

exomondo (1725132) | about 7 months ago | (#46425739)

You can bash Microsoft all you want but this is good for other platforms. Microsoft is driving innovation in 3D graphics and forcing Khronos to continue developing OpenGL, the major features like geometry shaders and programmable tesselation have been Microsoft innovations which have then been implemented later in OpenGL. So as an OpenGL developer I would be very happy to see Microsoft continue forward with DirectX and I'm glad they are still going strong with it. So you can keep your petty festering hatred but if you don't like it, don't use it and then you won't have to cry about it. It's just great that we benefit from it without having to use it.

Fucking idiotic (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46423511)

Unbelievable. Another brand new graphics API to front the graphics hardware so that developers have to completely rewrite their software yet again.

People need to get over their damn obsession with "new versions" and remember what the point of a programming API really is. It is to provide a stable and comprehensive interface for doing a task so that developers do not need to hit a moving target or relearn their entire skillset every six months. The reason OpenGL was so successful was that it did not try to capture the current state of graphics hardware. Instead, it captured the essential aspects of a 3D graphics pipeline and created an API for that, and let the drivers handle mapping features to hardware. With this model, OpenGL 1.x was stable for decades. You could run the exact same software on a pure-software implementation on your dinky home PC that you could on the pure-hardware big-iron SGIs. The only difference was in how fast it ran, there was no changing how you interfaced with the hardware, there was no learning an entirely new way of doing things.

Fundamentally a 3D pipeline involves vertex transformation, rasterization, and pixel coloring. That's it. OpenGL 1.x captured this beautifully with its interface for specifying vertices for primitives (triangles), setting up the matrix transformations, and specifying the coloring and interpolation modes. It was simple and effective. Hardware manufacturers came out with dozens of generations of new hardware, and the developers only had to care that "things got faster" and how many more polygons they could afford to push per frame. Then came the programmable hardware, and shaders. OpenGL responded by replacing the matrix transformations with a vertex program, and the pixel coloring with a pixel program. Simple, done. One major version update captured the whole thing with a nice high-level shader language that was intended for many generations of shader improvements.

Unfortunately, the Direct3D dipshits got their hands into the OpenGL ARB and suddenly the shader language is gimped to only represent the current generation of hardware without the simple additions required to make it future-proof. Then, surprise surprise, we need to have many more versions of OpenGL simply to fix the deficiencies that were deliberately added in the first place to sabotage the API. Now we have the same bullshit version bloat in OpenGL that we had avoided for decades until Direct3D came into the picture.

Direct3D embodies everything that is wrong with modern software development. Programming APIs need to express the theoretical capabilities of the task, not the limited expressions people currently use. And trying to make the API "closer to the bare metal"? Ahh, I get it! Driver developers think it's too much work to provide a consistent graphics API, so instead they're just going to make the game developers do all the hard work of driver development and debugging for them! Brilliant!

Fucking lazy assholes. This is why I got out of computer graphics after studying it for years in graduate school. It used to be you could approach it as a clean science, now it's devolved into bug-chasing of half-assed microcode.

Re:Fucking idiotic (1)

Dunge (922521) | about 7 months ago | (#46424657)

Your post prove that you got out of computer graphics long ago, because it's quite ignorant. The game changed a lot since you checked it, and no, it's not just polygons and shading anymore, or else games would look like total shit like that 2000's era.

Comment graveyard (-1, Troll)

Dunge (922521) | about 7 months ago | (#46424649)

Post here if you are an asshole who don't know the hell what you are saying I guess. Go Microsoft, don't listen to these fuckers.

DX13? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 months ago | (#46425175)

Will be just a wrapper around openGL.

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