DirectX 12 Ultimate Aims to Futureproof Graphics Hardware

We will soon be seeing a new DirectX badge on graphics cards – the DirectX 12 Ultimate. Microsoft announced today that this would provide support for “All next-generation graphics hardware features.”

DirectX is a collection of application programming languages that developers can use to communicate with your hardware. The latest version has been DirectX 12 which is supported by Windows 10 and Windows 7 for certain games.

DirectX 12 Ultimate isn’t a complete overhaul but rather an updated version with new technology. The main updates include DirectX Raytracing (DXR), variable rate shading (VRS) as well as sampler feedback and mesh shaders. 

The main reason for this update and the culmination of new technology is to prepare Microsoft for the launch of Xbox Series X.

“These features represent many years of innovation from Microsoft and our partners in the hardware industry. DX12 Ultimate brings them all together in one common bundle, providing developers with a single key to unlock next-generation graphics on PC and Xbox Series X,” Microsoft said in the announcement.

What Are The Benefits Of DirectX 12 Ultimate?

The main notable benefit that gamers will be able to experience is that the new graphics cards they buy will support all the latest features. This ensures that graphics cards are future-proofed for a while at least.

Microsoft said that DirectX 12 will still be able to run on hardware, but there will be some missing features if they’re not upgraded to DX12 Ultimate. However, if you’re thinking of upgrading your graphics card, we’d definitely recommend looking out for the DirectX 12 Ultimate badge to take full advantage of ray tracing support – something which will be key to the future of gaming. 

“It is very important to note that DX12 Ultimate will not impact game compatibility with existing hardware which does not support the entire breadth of DX12 Ultimate features. In fact, next-generation games which use DX12 Ultimate features will continue to run on none-DX12 Ultimate hardware. Though such hardware won’t provide the visual benefits of the new features, it can still provide a very compelling gaming experience on next-generation games, depending on the specifics of the hardware.” 

When Will It Be Available?

The software behind DirectX 12 Ultimate will come with Windows 10’s next major update. In terms of graphics cards, Nvidia has already announced that they will support the API. It’s likely that other graphics card developers such as AMD will do the same, especially with the next generation cards due to come out. If we hear any updates in the meantime, we will keep you in the loop.