How To Check If Your Computer Supports DirectX 12 Ultimate
If you want to have the ultimate gaming experience on your Windows 10 PC, then you absolutely must ensure that your hardware supports DirectX 12 Ultimate. DirectX is a collection of Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) that have been created to enhance your multimedia…
If you want to have the ultimate gaming experience on your Windows 10 PC, then you absolutely must ensure that your hardware supports DirectX 12 Ultimate. DirectX is a collection of Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) that have been created to enhance your multimedia experience, which includes streaming, gaming, and audio to the maximum.
Currently, DirectX 12 Ultimate is the latest and most advanced API technology by Microsoft which promises to give you an overall experience whilst gaming like you have never before.
However, simply installing DirectX 12 Ultimate is not sufficient. You need to ensure that your hardware, which is your computer, supports it as well. This article discusses how you can make sure whether your PC supports it, or buy the one that does.
What DirectX 12 Ultimate offers
Microsoft calls DirectX 12 Ultimate the “new gold standard for gaming graphics.” It is said to provide visual graphics that are as good as movies, significantly improve the framerates through Variable Rate Shading, and improves the overall performance through quick processing and faster response rates.
Together with the Xbox Game Bar in Windows 10 and DirectX, a computer becomes the ultimate gaming tech that you would ever need for first-person shooting and other games in the best quality.
You can read more about DirectX 12 Ultimate in this blog post.
How to check if your PC supports DirectX 12 Ultimate
If you are going to purchase a new PC, Microsoft recommends that you get the one that supports DirectX 12 Ultimate.
If you are upgrading your gaming PC or buying a new one, look no further than “DirectX 12 Ultimate” on the product page or retail boxes!
How to check DirectX 12 ULTIMATE on Windows 11 for gamers
The best way to ensure that your hardware supports this technology is by looking for it on either the retail box or by checking out the support on the manufacturer’s website.
However, if you already own a Windows 10 PC, you can check whether it supports DirectX 12 Ultimate through Xbox Game Bar. The Game Bar now automatically performs a test and lets you know whether your hardware is DirectX 12 Ultimate compatible or not.
Simply launch the Xbox Game Bar by pressing the Windows key G shortcut keys. Then, click on Settings and the settings window will popup below it. Navigate to the Gaming features tab from the left of the window, and you will now see the DirectX 12 Ultimate status on the right, as shown in the image below:
If you find that the above features are not available on your Xbox Game Bar, we suggest that you try updating it through the Microsoft Store.
Supported hardware for DirectX 12 Ultimate
Microsoft has also shared a broad spectrum of supported graphics cards for DirectX 12 Ultimate. If you have any of the following hardware, then you should have no problem experiencing the best multimedia on your PC:
- AMD Radeon RX 6000 series
- NVIDIA GeForce RTX 30 series
- NVIDIA GeForce RTX 20 series
Previously, Microsoft was releasing DirectX as a separate entity. However, it is now available and regularly updated through the Windows Update feature. Therefore, if you are a hardcore gamer, then you no longer need to worry about DirectX being up to date, and FOCUS on which GPU and PC to upgrade to for the optimum multimedia experience.
How to Download and Install DirectX 12 for Windows 10
DirectX 12 is a set of components included with Windows 10 that enables applications, particularly games, to communicate directly with your graphics and audio hardware. DirectX 12 games might help you get the most out of your GPU. As a result, you’ll be able to have a more enjoyable gaming experience! Here are the steps to facilitate DirectX 12 download in Windows 10 PC with quick and easy steps.
How to Download and Install DirectX 12 for Windows PC
Procedure 1: Check your current DirectX version
In most cases, if you’re running Windows 10, you won’t need to download DirectX 12 because it’s already included in the operating system. To determine which version of DirectX is installed on your computer, follow the steps below:
Step 1: Press the Windows logo key on your keyboard and type dxdiag. To access DirectX Diagnostic Tool, click dxdiag from the list of search results.
Step 2: You may view your system details, including the DirectX version, under the System tab.
Step 3: If your DirectX version is not DirectX 12, you can download and install DirectX 12 via Windows Update in the following step.
Procedure 2: Download Install DirectX 12
DirectX 12 is not available as a standalone installation for Windows 10. DirectX 12 upgrades, on the other hand, can be downloaded and installed via Windows Update. Here’s how you can do it:
Step 2: To download and install any available updates for your PC, click Check for updates. If DirectX 12 updates are available, Windows will download and install them for you.
How to Check Your Version of Directx
Procedure 3: Update Graphic Card Drivers
Updating your drivers can also help you have a better gaming experience. Furthermore, by updating your drivers to the most recent version, you can keep your hardware in good working order and avoid a variety of computer problems. If you don’t have the time, patience, or computer skills to manually update your drivers, you can use Smart Driver Care to do it for you. You don’t need to know what operating system your computer uses, you don’t have to worry about downloading and installing the wrong driver, and you don’t have to worry about making a mistake during installation.
Step 1: Click the Download button to download Advanced Driver Updater.
Step 2: Double click the file executable downloaded on your PC to begin the installation process and follow the onscreen instructions.
Step 3: After installing the software, open it and choose the option to Start Scan Now.
Step 4: Once the scan is complete, the screen will display a list of driver abnormalities.
Step 5: Choose the Graphics Driver from the drop-down menu and click the Update Driver button next to it.
Step 6: Restart your computer after the process is completed to ensure that the modifications are applied.
The Final Word On How to Download and Install DirectX 12 for Windows 10
Directx 12 is the latest suite of programs that works in the background trying to establish flawless communication between the hardware and software. And hence to play games and use graphics software you need to update to the new version and at the same time update your graphics driver as well. Smart Driver Care can scan, identify and update all the outdated drivers in your system without any hassle.
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What Is DirectX 12 Ultimate on Windows 10 PCs and Xbox?
In 2018, Nvidia rolled out its RTX graphics cards, which rocked some killer features for gaming, including ray tracing and mesh shaders. However, Microsoft needed a standard that supported these features on more than just NVIDIA hardware—and it’s here! Called DirectX 12 Ultimate, it arrived on Windows 10 PCs with the May 2020 update.
Update: While DirectX 12 Ultimate debuted on Windows 10 in an update released in 2020, it’s been part of Windows 11 since its release day.
What Is DirectX 12 Ultimate?
The new version of DirectX mostly collects existing technology under one banner and standardizes it for PC gaming and Xbox, which is good news for gamers. Some of the coolest new graphics technologies—like real-time ray tracing—are mostly on NVIDIA graphics cards. When enabled in games, this feature drastically improves visual quality by making light behave much closer to how it does in reality.
Future RDNA2-based AMD graphics cards, as well as the Xbox Series X, will also support DX12 Ultimate. Let’s take a look at the highlights of the new API and see what’s new—and why it matters.
DirectX Raytracing 1.1
Ray tracing is the exciting new thing in video game graphics. Microsoft calls its version DirectX Raytracing (DXR). This incremental update to an existing technology makes a dramatic improvement in the overall look of games. The secret is making light within a game behave more as it does in the real world.
This means more realistic reflections and refraction in water, shafts of sunlight that look more photo-realistic, and shadows with greater visual depth. Be sure to check out the video above from NVIDIA. It shows ray tracing in Minecraft, and the difference is insane.
With DX12 Ultimate, ray-tracing effects are supposed to be more efficient. There will also be an option that gives game developers more control over ray tracing, rather than leaving it up to the system.
Variable Rate Shading
Variable Rate Shading is another feature that was already in DX12. Shaders tell the system what each pixel’s coloring, brightness, and contrast should be. That process can be computationally expensive, however, which is where variable rate shading comes in. It shades the important parts of a gaming scene at full resolution, while the less important objects use less GPU power for shading.
Imagine driving a car down the road in Forza Horizon or another racing game, for example. It’s important that you see the car in front of you in full detail, but that tree or fence whipping by doesn’t need the same treatment.
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“Developer-made algorithms identify pixels that the player can’t easily see and pixels that infrequently change or update, and use VRS to reduce the rate at which they are rendered (shaded). For example, black pixels in a shadow look no different when the shading rate is reduced. So, by reducing the shading rate of numerous pixels per frame, GPU workload is decreased, increasing performance.”
The overall effect shouldn’t be noticeable to the gamer, but it makes the computer’s job much more efficient. Improved efficiency promises even better visuals and a faster gaming performance, overall.
Similar to variable rate shading, mesh shaders also help the system work more efficiently. This feature allows game developers to create highly detailed worlds without overloading the CPU, as NVIDIA explains in this video.
It determines what needs to be in a scene, and how much detail it needs (the level of detail, or LOD). Primary objects will have finer detail, which basically means they’ll have more triangles in their makeup. (For those who are unaware, triangles are the base unit of 3D graphics.)
Objects that are farther away are drawn with fewer triangles, as they require less detail. Nearly everything you see onscreen is a set of tiny triangles clustered together to create a recognizable figure or object.
Check out Nvidia’s Asteroids Mesh Shaders Demo video above to get a sense of what it looks like. This video uses objects with 10 different levels of detail, from objects that are right in front of you, to low-level asteroids off in the distance. This is an ideal technique in a scene with tons of random objects, like the asteroid belt in the video above.
The overall result should be that graphics cards can maintain a higher frame rate without sacrificing noticeable detail, as fewer triangles are being drawn at any given time.
Finally, we get to sampler feedback. Again, this is all about rendering game scenes more efficiently.
“We can more efficiently shade objects that don’t change from frame to frame,” NVIDIA explained. “And reuse the objects colors as calculated in previous frames.”
Sampler Feedback is also about improving how a game loads in its textures (the surface details on video game objects). The idea is the computer can make more intelligent decisions about texturing to “render larger, more detailed textures, while using less video memory.” This also helps avoid issues like stuttering.
Again, we’re talking about more efficient use of the GPU, which can help boost frame rates, overall.
DirectX 12 Ultimate in the Real World
DX12 Ultimate’s features promise to make games more visually stunning and more efficient at using computer resources. Like all features, however, it’s up to game developers to implement them. Mesh shading, for example, has been supported by Nvidia since late 2018, but hasn’t really been used. Perhaps now that it’s part of DX12 Ultimate, it will become more common.
Hardware also has to support these features. Microsoft said it will label its new hardware as compatible with DX12 Ultimate. That might mean yet another sticker on a PC’s box or case, as well as in general advertising on store shelves.
On consoles, the Xbox Series X logo will stand in for the DX12 Ultimate symbol. If you see either the DX12 Ultimate or Xbox Series X logo, that hardware supports the new graphics API.
When Will Games Take Advantage of DirectX 12 Ultimate?
DirectX 12 Ultimate is rolling out to Windows 10 PCs now as part of the version 2004 feature released in late May 2020 (also known as the May 2020 update). Of course, to take advantage of the features, you need a modern graphics card that supports it.
If you have a non-DX12 Ultimate graphics card, any game that supports DX12 Ultimate will still work with your hardware. Your PC just won’t see the visual improvements that others will. According to Microsoft, there will be “no adverse effect on hardware which does not support DX12 Ultimate.”
This is good news for budget gamers, who stay a bit behind to keep those hardware bills down.
Ian Paul Ian Paul is a freelance writer with over a decade of experiencing writing about tech. In addition to writing for How-To Geek, he regularly contributes to PCWorld as a critic, feature writer, reporter, deal hunter, and columnist. His work has also appeared online at The Washington Post, ABC News, MSNBC, Reuters, Macworld, Yahoo Tech, Tech.co, TechHive, The Huffington Post, and Lifewire. His articles are regularly syndicated across numerous IDG sites including CIO, Computerworld, GameStar, Macworld UK, Tech Advisor, and TechConnect. Read Full Bio »
WHY IS DIRECTX 12 IMPORTANT FOR GAMERS?
One of the most exciting things to come along with Windows 10 rolling out later this year will be the release of DirectX 12 during the 2015 holiday season. DirectX 12 will unlock next-generation graphics for games that utilize new game engines like Unity, CryENGINE, and Unreal Engine 4.
With the rollout of Windows 10, DirectX 12 will replace the seven-year old DirectX 11, which currently commands 70% of the PC gaming market. While we have yet to see games that are built ground up on DirectX 12, it is expected that these games will hit the market as soon as the end of 2015.
In anticipation for the Windows 10 rollout, and, in turn, the arrival of DirectX 12, here’s a snapshot of what to expect from the next-generation API.
Draw Calls, Power
One of the hallmark features of DirectX 12 will be its ability to simultaneously allow CPUs to send multiple commands to the GPU, significantly reducing the bottleneck that DirectX 11 suffers from.
Working with Nvidia and AMD, Microsoft has developed DirectX 12 to benefit not only high-end performing machines that use high-memory dedicated graphics cards, but also mid- to low-tier computers that may feature integrated graphics.
To understand how this bottleneck is reduced, it’s necessary to describe how a computer displays graphics in the first place. Graphics are displayed on your monitor by processes that are known as draw calls. A draw call is a command that your CPU gives to your GPU, effectively telling your GPU to “draw” whatever the command calls for.
Depending on the game and on your graphics settings, the number of these draw calls are in the hundreds of thousands, if not millions, per second. The problem with current-generation APIs like DirectX 11 is that these commands can only be sent one at a time, which creates a bottleneck in the communication channel between the CPU and the GPU.
What DirectX 12 promises to do is allow multiple CPU cores to simultaneously communicate with your GPU, which in turn allows for much larger and complex workloads. In short, DirectX 12 allows for more draw calls to be performed in a second than DirectX 11, boosting the performance of almost any given CPU and GPU.
So How Many Draw Calls Are We Talking About?
Futuremark, a company that makes the popular benchmarking software 3DMark, has updated its software to allow users to synthetically compare DirectX 12’s performance to the previous API by rendering a scene in both DirectX 11 and DirectX 12 and measuring how many draw calls per second were made.
According to several testers, DirectX 12 was able to produce up to a 1,200 percent increase in draw calls, significantly improving the performance of both powerful graphics cards like the Titan X as well as older graphics cards like the GeForce GTX 770.
By reducing the bottleneck between the CPU and the GPU, DirectX 12 is poised to improve framerates in DirectX 11 games by up to 20%, which is a big deal when considering the demands that next-generation video game engines place on the hardware.
While the 3DMark tests look incredibly promising, it’s important to keep in mind that these are synthetic tests, and we won’t get official benchmarks until testers can get their hands on the final product, likely to be sometime around the 2015 Holiday season. That being said, if in-game performance matches what the preliminary tests show, we’re in for a real treat.
Do I Need to Upgrade My Computer to Take Advantage of DirectX 12?
Perhaps the best part about DirectX 12 is the GPU manufacturer support for older graphics cards. Nvidia has said that it will provide DirectX 12 support for all GPUs in the Fermi, Kepler, and Maxwell families, meaning that if you have a GPU as old as the 400 series GeForce GTX card, you’re good to go.
Likewise, AMD has confirmed that it will provide DirectX 12 support for all GPUs that feature the Graphics Core Next (GCN) architecture, meaning all GPUs starting with the AMD Radeon HD 7000 series are good to go.
For road warriors that use Intel or AMD-based integrated graphics cards, there’s some good news for you too: according to initial tests, there were significant performance gains of up to 230% for integrated graphics cards.
Unless you’re rocking a pre-2010 rig, it’s very likely that you’re going to be able to immediately reap the benefits of DirectX 12, and it’s likely it won’t cost you a penny since Windows 10 will be free for many current owners of either Windows 7 or Windows 8.
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