DirectX 12 – more high gaming performance without the upgrade? Is this possible?
Do you remember when the first so-called multi-core processors? Almost 15 years ago! They came from despair, which led to the so-called «megahertz war» – a long-standing rivalry between the two main competitors in the microprocessor market, Intel and AMD. For many years the main measure of success in this race was the clock speed of the chips, and the principle was «the more, the better.»
At the beginning of the new century in both camps became crystal clear that soon the «pumping» megahertz will be faced with an insuperable technological constraints and will cease to be om of fuel for the so-called «Moore’s Law». The solution to this problem was the multi-core chip with two or more cores on a single silicon wafer, which operate in parallel and thus achieve higher productivity.
In theory this approach seemed much more reasonable and efficient – instead of always to increase the clock frequency, which leads to a significant increase in heat and energy consumption, we need to combine multiple cores in a single chip, which will be divided between a tedious calculation to perform more work per unit time.
The reality, unfortunately, was slightly less optimistic – to get the desired result, the possibility of parallel operation must be supported not only by hardware (multi-core chip), and software – specifically, the operating system and applications.
Unfortunately, even today, 15 years after the first commercial processors with two or more cores, there is still a lot of wishes. Although multicore support on the operating system level has long been a fact, applications that fully exploit the capabilities of parallel information processing, is still relatively small. This, of course, is not surprising – in the world of high technology hardware traditionally ahead of the software not less than three circles. In this regard, the user raises an interesting question: «What is the point in buying, say, a Quad-core CPU, if in practice it will provide the same level of performance as the version with two cores?»
The situation becomes even more interesting if to take into account the quite significant differences in performance between the last generation processors from Intel and AMD. In comparison tests is often that the AMD chip with 6 or even 8 cores to be less efficient than 4-core Intel processor.
Particularly sharp these differences, when it comes to modern applications, namely, computer games, which places exceptionally high demands on hardware.
The situation on the market of PC gaming is that the graphics card in your computer configuration is significantly more important for gaming performance than the CPU.
The reason for this largely lies in the fact that the most popular software interface that allows 3D acceleration on a PC running Windows – DirectX – designed to use most effectively the capabilities of the GPU. As for the CPU – its use has been comparatively little attention and is often the difference in performance between one chip and another (especially if we’re talking about models from one manufacturer) is negligible.
Fortunately, with the new DirectX 12, which will be one of the most important improvements in Windows 10, Microsoft is going to change that. Even the initial announcement of the operating system, the company stressed that the changes are significant and, in particular, influences the use of all available CPU cores. In the current version of the interface, the performance gain from using single — and multi-threaded mode is minimal. In other words, DirectX is relatively bad distribution of tasks among CPU cores. The result is that one of them can be loaded at 80-100%, and the rest just stay idle. With DirectX 12 it will change – Microsoft promises an increase in performance up to 50%.
This is very good news, because it means a free upgrade – ie just by switching to a new version of DirectX (and Windows in particular) users will receive up to 50 percent more performance in games on computers with graphics cards that support DirectX 11. In theory this sounds great, but what about in practice?
Improved DirectX 12 began to come together last week when Futuremark has released an interesting additional module to the popular synthetic performance test 3D Mark. It is designed to maximize the capabilities of the new Windows 10 and the software with it DirectX 12.
The principle on which test module is relatively simple – it requires that the CPU drew on the screen a certain geometric shape. The command passes through a programming interface (DirectX), and is transmitted from the Central to the GPU.
Gradually the load is increased, and the final result of the test indicates how many geometric figures were drawn before the fall of the number of frames per second below the critical minimum 30fps needed for a comfortable game.
Futuremark emphasize that we are talking about the test focused exclusively on the CPU and which almost completely ignores the available graphics chip. I.e., the new module can not and should not be used to compare the performance of video processors.
The results of the test conducted on the gaming PC average price category, which uses a Quad core Intel processor looks very interesting. They demonstrate not just the obvious, and the crushing superiority of the new DirectX 12 in front of the old 11th version, as the performance gain is not measured in percent but in dozens of times!