AMD, Nvidia Slap-Fight Over DirectX 11

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AMD, Nvidia Slap-Fight Over DirectX 11

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Nvidia and AMD are shooting spitballs at each from across the room with snippy questions and snarky answers about support for DirectX 11 in the newest line of Radeon video cards.

There's an interesting sort of relationship going on between GPU makers Nvidia and AMD, which bought ATI in 2006, and technology site TweakTown. Apparently, as the launch of a new AMD product nears, Nvidia contacts the site to find out if they have sample video cards and when they do, sends them a few tough questions they think need to be asked. So when AMD took the wraps off the Radeon HD 5800, the first video card to support DirectX 11, Nvidia was there, ready to be helpful.

This time, however, TweakTown decided to let AMD speak for itself. The site forwarded the questions to the company and eventually received a response from Chris Hook of AMD Global Communications, who pulled no punches in his answers. Asked when GPU-accelerated Havok games might actually start shipping, Hook pointed out that Nvidia's own hardware-based physics solutions, PhysX, hasn't exactly set the world on fire. "PhysX has been around for years and years, but today, GPU-accelerated PhysX titles are still in the single digits," he said. "The physics experiences that many of those titles delivered have disappointed gamers and were widely panned by the press worldwide. GPU accelerated game physics will only be accepted in the marketplace when industry standards are embraced."

He was even blunter in response to a question about why AMD is focusing on DirectX 11 when "most games are on DX9 console ports," saying, "If NV was able to produce a DirectX11 card today, they'd be delivering a much different narrative on DirectX 11 to the press. If NV really believes that DirectX 11 doesn't matter, then we challenge them to say that publicly, on the record."

I knew the competition between AMD and Nvidia was intense but I had no idea it was so nasty. Shane Baxtor of TweakTown, meanwhile, claimed the site wasn't trying to stir up any trouble between the two companies. "NVIDIA asked the questions, though, and we thought that it was just fair that we get an answer to them," he said, adding that he believes such exchanges are good for users. "It keeps users informed of what's happening in the market and just is generally helpful information," he continued. "Hopefully it is questions and answers like these that push more PhysX or Havoc enabled games on the market while also getting people excited about Direct X 11 and what it's going to offer over the years."

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Hey slow down, I havent even used Dx 10 yet!
I have a dx 10 card but refused to move to vista for it, hopefully that will change for windows 7.
I always prefered Nvidia over ATI but really couldn't care less about dx 11 at the moment.

Hell, I don't know of many games that only use DX10, if any. Most still use DX9, and I tihnk it will stay that way for a while.

What happened to DX10, we don't seem to have got much use out of it so far.

George144:
What happened to DX10, we don't seem to have got much use out of it so far.

Well DX10 is a Vista thing and Vista was...well unpopular.

George144:
What happened to DX10, we don't seem to have got much use out of it so far.

Bioshock is shur purty with it though..

And Batman's pretty sweet lookin' with PhysX too.

Yeah, I'm bringin' out my epeen 'bout my puter.. I get to do it so rarely. :)

Kwil:

George144:
What happened to DX10, we don't seem to have got much use out of it so far.

Bioshock is shur purty with it though..

And Batman's pretty sweet lookin' with PhysX too.

Yeah, I'm bringin' out my epeen 'bout my puter.. I get to do it so rarely. :)

Speaking of PhysX, I wish that would catch on better. I keep imagining what a game like Red Faction: Guerrilla could do with it.

George144:
What happened to DX10, we don't seem to have got much use out of it so far.

DirectX 11 is more like DirectX 10.5. The major features involve better multithreading support and an interface for programmable GPU's. The funny thing is that both of them will run just fine on DirectX 10 hardware - they just need to be added to the drivers. This could mean some major performance gains for everyone running even moderate video cards with modern processors, so it can't really happen soon enough.

The major feature that requires hardware support is tessellation, which will be very cool, but not until it's pretty widely available. Even then it's mostly eye candy.

So is it going to be...

A) DX9 > DX11 > DX10

Or

B) DX11 > DX9 > DX10

Yea, I never saw much use of DX10 other than very very few games that look just as well in DX9, plus they run faster.

(Crysis and Devil May Cry 4, for example)

After the Cryostasis shambles I don't know whether to love or loathe nVidia.

Seems kinda silly for the graphic card makers to be trying to push the envelope, when remarkably right now no games really are since we caught up with what Crytek pushed us to, mostly. DirectX11? Whassat? Oh it follows DirectX10...wait, whats that?

I would have to agree with him there. PhysX is awesome, but why throttle it on an AMD card? Why throttle anything on an AMD card?

It's unpopular for that very reason; exclusiveness makes it worthless.

Is it wrong to NOT be excited about DX11 in the slightest?

Virgil:

George144:
What happened to DX10, we don't seem to have got much use out of it so far.

DirectX 11 is more like DirectX 10.5....

I HAVE A QUESTION!
image
You always hear about different game engines like Havok and FMOD...but they all seem to revolve around DirectX in some way.

Is there nothing else besides DirectX? I mean, I know about OpenGL...but off all the different middleware everyone is trying to create, is their nothing to replace DirectX? (would replacing DirectX be silly like replacing numerals in mathematics?)

Virgil:

George144:
What happened to DX10, we don't seem to have got much use out of it so far.

DirectX 11 is more like DirectX 10.5. The major features involve better multithreading support and an interface for programmable GPU's. The funny thing is that both of them will run just fine on DirectX 10 hardware - they just need to be added to the drivers. This could mean some major performance gains for everyone running even moderate video cards with modern processors, so it can't really happen soon enough.

The major feature that requires hardware support is tessellation, which will be very cool, but not until it's pretty widely available. Even then it's mostly eye candy.

Oh well that makes sense, and hopefully means I won't have to keep paying even more money for another new graphic card, woo come on DirectX 11.

Malygris:
I knew the competition between AMD and Nvidia was intense but I had no idea it was so nasty.

N-A-S-T-Y!! And I am loving it!!
image

I couldn't care less about DirectX11 seeing as I literally only just learnt about it at the start of this thread, and I'm gonna assume that's the same for quite alot of people.
As long as nVidia create a card that supports DX11 when it comes out, I'll be happy, or a driver that allows me to keep my now archaic 8600GT 256MB.

I'm running Windows 7, and Vista as soon as they became available for the Technet Plus subscribers, and bought a DX10 video card the day it came out (the most expensive one even).

And what do I play? PS3 and Xbox 360 games... oh yeah, and as of this week WoW.
So screw DX11... Let's start focusing on gamePLAY darnit! :(

AceDiamond:

George144:
What happened to DX10, we don't seem to have got much use out of it so far.

Well DX10 is a Vista thing and Vista was...well unpopular.

UNDERSTATEMENT!

Although to be fair, I think Vista got a bad rap because it was rushed out too soon; its not really any worse than XP now, especially if you take a few minutes to customise stuff. But hey, now its cool to hate Vista, and Windows 7 is on the horizon, so I doubt it'll ever redeem itself.

Anywho, to be honest, I doubt DirectX 10 or 11 will set the world on fire; its good GAMES, GAMEPLAY, and (where appropriate) STORY that make a good worth owning in general; lately, its just been 'my graphics are shinier and/or grittier than yours!'; though, there have been a few really good games lately, like Batman, and Mass Effect, and GTA IV, and so forth (and no, I don't care which of those you personally hate).

Wow, a PC hardware topic... on Escapist? How strange.

Anyway, to inform people who are "disappointed" that games run slower on DX10 compared to DX9 well news flash: a game will run slower in DX9 compared to DX8 mode too. The move from one Direct X API to a higher one is never to improve efficiency (framerate) but improve the quality of graphics, that inevitably has a hardware cost but hardware gets more powerful and cheaper all the time.

But to spite so many game developers (Epic, Crytech, Codemasters, Ubisoft Montreal, 2K games, Capcom) at least supporting DX10 as an alternate rendering mode the fact that big hitters like Infinity Ward, Valve, Bethesda, Monolith and even id-software are not supporting DX10 at all means DX10 remains a novelty, especially considering these developers are able to do so much with DX9 alone

Yes, I said id-software, RAGE will not support DX10 and apparently will be open-gl anyway.

I think it is more important to get the most out of DX9 at the moment to build on previously learned skills with one API rather than try rushing to a newer API tat you have no experience with.

Of course developers should offer DX10 as an alternate rendering mode and kind of "testing ground" if there is time in the development cycle.

The transition from DX9 to DX10 or DX11 or whatever will be long and tough, but I am confident a game built from the grund up and exclusively for DX10 will be absolutely amazing... but no doubt will cripple even the most powerful graphics cards.

hansari:

Virgil:

George144:
What happened to DX10, we don't seem to have got much use out of it so far.

DirectX 11 is more like DirectX 10.5....

I HAVE A QUESTION!
image
You always hear about different game engines like Havok and FMOD...but they all seem to revolve around DirectX in some way.

Is there nothing else besides DirectX? I mean, I know about OpenGL...but off all the different middleware everyone is trying to create, is their nothing to replace DirectX? (would replacing DirectX be silly like replacing numerals in mathematics?)

It has to do with Windows. DX is from Microsoft.

I think a lot of the stuff that has come out in the last couple years is just a giant rat race. Ever since I switched to gaming PCs it's just cost me $5000, invoked mast amount of frustration, and a really shitty pay off.

It seems that technology has been advancing at a grotesquely slow pace. Sure they are constantly announcing new hardware titles, but it's all rubbish.

Kwil:

George144:
What happened to DX10, we don't seem to have got much use out of it so far.

Bioshock is shur purty with it though..

And Batman's pretty sweet lookin' with PhysX too.

Yeah, I'm bringin' out my epeen 'bout my puter.. I get to do it so rarely. :)

I'll whip mine out too if you want a contest xD

PhysX isn't proprietry
GPU accelerated PhysX is
Either way its strange for Nvidia since the 300 series is going to support Dx11 anyway so its not like they aren't focusing on it themselves and everybody uses DirectX in the GPU market

Treblaine:

The move from one Direct X API to a higher one is never to improve efficiency (framerate) but improve the quality of graphics, that inevitably has a hardware cost but hardware gets more powerful and cheaper all the time.

Not entirely correct. The DX10 graphics pipeline is A LOT more streamlined than the DX 9 pipeline. The reason DX10 mode runs slower is that the devs didn't just do a direct port of their DX9 engine, they also added a whole heap of DX10-only effects.

If the general gist is that the current high-end Graphics adapters will support DirX 11, then ATI is making a bunch of hooplah about nothing, my GTX 285 SSC will just convert to that with the driver update.

This report made me laugh. I currently have an AMD card, but that is because I am running an old rig and Nvidia gave up on AGP a long time ago. Anyways, this reminds me of when AMD brought out DX10.1 and claimed that Nvidia by not updating to it was going to be left behind. And as many pointed out, DX10 wasn't used so much and I don't think there is a single game that uses solely 10.1. Of course Nvidia is going to go to DX11 when they need to, and they need to when they decide because they are the market standard. AMD doesn't set the pace, Nvidia does.

hansari:
*Awesome Picture, haha*

From what I understand of it, DirectX is the Windows standard hardware interface. Which, to me, basically lets coders ignore the large variation in different coding languages and hardware used on a PC, and focus on making the software. I think it goes like this, excuse the crappy art:

Software
^runs on
High-Level Programming Language
^runs on
Low-Level Programming Language
^runs on
DirectX/OpenGL (Depending on OS.)
^runs on
Really Low-Level Programming Languages for each piece of hardware.
^runs on
Binary
^runs on
Electricity.

I think... It's probably wrong, I'll drag some software kooks in here to tell us what's what.

TechTerms.com:

DirectX is a set of standard commands and functions that software developers can use when creating their programs. While any Windows-based software program can include DirectX commands, they are usually used in video games. For example, developers may use DirectX for controlling video playback, sound effects, and peripheral input (such as a keyboard, mouse, or joystick). By incorporating DirectX functions into a computer game, programmers can use predefined commands to manage the video and sound of their game, as well as user input. This makes it easier for programmers to develop video games and also helps the games look more uniform, since DirectX games use many of the same commands.

Technically, DirectX is known as an application programming interface (API), which consists of predefined functions and commands. In order to create programs that use DirectX, software developers must use the DirectX software development kit, available from Microsoft. However, most users need only the DirectX "End-User Runtime" installed on their computer in order to run DirectX-enabled software. The DirectX API is available for Windows software and Xbox video games.

Malygris:
He was even blunter in response to a question about why AMD is focusing on DirectX 11 when "most games are on DX9 console ports," saying, "If NV was able to produce a DirectX11 card today, they'd be delivering a much different narrative on DirectX 11 to the press. If NV really believes that DirectX 11 doesn't matter, then we challenge them to say that publicly, on the record."

Oh, publicly, like... this? I love "who's the bigger man" marketing rhetoric.

UberMore:

As long as nVidia create a card that supports DX11 when it comes out, I'll be happy, or a driver that allows me to keep my now archaic 8600GT 256MB.

"When it comes out" is precisely the issue for Nvidia. They're having issues with their new GPU yields, and that's causing a major delay for their DX11 parts. In this case, AMD/ATI is essentially accusing them of trying to cover their own issues through these DX11 things, because Nvidia isn't going to have cards out in time for the first set of games that support it. Whether that actually matters is the whole issue; I certainly haven't seen any reason to rush out and replace my card just yet...

Virgil:
DirectX 11 is more like DirectX 10.5. The major features involve better multithreading support and an interface for programmable GPU's. The funny thing is that both of them will run just fine on DirectX 10 hardware - they just need to be added to the drivers. This could mean some major performance gains for everyone running even moderate video cards with modern processors, so it can't really happen soon enough.

The major feature that requires hardware support is tessellation, which will be very cool, but not until it's pretty widely available. Even then it's mostly eye candy.

While those features could be added to the drivers, if the card doesn't have all of the features required for DX11, it won't qualify. The same things that disqualify current Nvidia cards from being 10.1 certified will also prevent them from being "upgraded" to DX11, since DX11 contains all 10.1 requirements, plus the new ones.

Do you think games are going to support 10.3 implementations of drivers (This is a card which supports this DX11 feature, and that DX11 feature, but not those DX11 features, so pretty please turn on the appropriate in-game processing...)? If not, then while they can implement those features through drivers, I don't see how that's going to do anyone any good when it comes to a DX11-game. If you've got more info on this, I'd be very interested to see it (not sarcasm, I mean it, I was just reading up on DX11 due to the 5870 reviews this week), otherwise, I think individuals like the one I'm about to quote are SOL with regards to DX11, and they just don't realize it yet.

odubya23:
If the general gist is that the current high-end Graphics adapters will support DirX 11, then ATI is making a bunch of hooplah about nothing, my GTX 285 SSC will just convert to that with the driver update.

IdealistCommi:
Hell, I don't know of many games that only use DX10, if any. Most still use DX9, and I tihnk it will stay that way for a while.

Stormrise is currently the only game that requires DX10 directly instead of a [if os=not vista then cancel setup] piece of marketing BS. Additionally, it is a very shitty game.

Geoffrey42:
While those features could be added to the drivers, if the card doesn't have all of the features required for DX11, it won't qualify.

That's definitely correct, the cards can't (and won't) ever be considered DirectX 11 cards, but some of the features of the API can still be used on hardware that's not fully compliant. Take a look at this presentation (Powerpoint) for some more details. It's an overview of how game developers can use the DirectX 11 API on DirectX 9 & 10 cards and still get the architectural benefits, even if all the hardware rendering features aren't there.

hansari:
Is there nothing else besides DirectX?

Danny Ocean:
From what I understand of it, DirectX is the Windows standard hardware interface. Which, to me, basically lets coders ignore the large variation in different coding languages and hardware used on a PC, and focus on making the software. I think it goes like this, excuse the crappy art: ...

You're close enough - DirectX (or OpenGL) is how programmers tell the video cards (and other hardware) what to do. The system drivers are then responsible for turning DirectX/OpenGL calls into actual work for their specific piece of hardware. The end result of this (in theory) is that a programmer can know DirectX/OpenGL and not have to know exactly how every video card works, since the system will take care of those details. Anyone that remembers how much work you had to go through to get sound working in DOS games can appreciate DirectX/OpenGL :P

As for replacing it, it wouldn't really make much sense. Any replacement would also have to be supported at the driver level, which means all the major hardware vendors would have to get on board. The only viable replacement would be OpenGL, and the main advantage it offers is more platform compatibility, but at the expense of being generally less developed.

Asehujiko:
Stormrise is currently the only game that requires DX10 directly instead of a [if os=not vista then cancel setup] piece of marketing BS. Additionally, it is a very shitty game.

Because of the relatively poor penetration of Vista, and because DirectX 10 requires Vista's new driver model, most games that support DirectX 10 also have a DirectX 9 renderer built-in. That also means that the use of DirectX 10 is also typically limited to optional eye-candy, and not anything that would use those features for gameplay.

Hopefully Windows 7 will help change that - it's a great OS, and it's kind of stupid that we keep getting better and better graphics hardware that few games can really take advantage of.

Virgil:
That's definitely correct, the cards can't (and won't) ever be considered DirectX 11 cards, but some of the features of the API can still be used on hardware that's not fully compliant. Take a look at this presentation (Powerpoint) for some more details. It's an overview of how game developers can use the DirectX 11 API on DirectX 9 & 10 cards and still get the architectural benefits, even if all the hardware rendering features aren't there.

Thank you for the presentation. That was interesting. So, if I have this right, DX11 is inherently supportive of "profiles" for older hardware. The dependencies then become the hardware people writing drivers that support what features they can (which seems likely), and that the software developers implement their code to support all features available to that hardware profile (which seems likely for new games, at least). Not automatic, but it also doesn't seem far-fetched that developers will put in the effort, since it should be beneficial for everyone involved.

Yet more reason for people with DX10/.1 cards not to care about DX11 cards, though.

Its adorable that ATI is trying to smear Nvidia over physX being an unpopular format while simultaneously suggesting how important it is to be running DX11 RIGHT NOW.

AMD is a bunch of silliness, and their best business plan is to get Intel sued on the basis of anti-american antitrust laws.

thiosk:
Its adorable that ATI is trying to smear Nvidia over physX being an unpopular format while simultaneously suggesting how important it is to be running DX11 RIGHT NOW.

AMD is a bunch of silliness, and their best business plan is to get Intel sued on the basis of anti-american antitrust laws.

DirectX.11 is only going to be important when Windows 7 gets released and more than about 10 games actually use it.
I don't know why PhsyX seems to be unpopular the standard PhysX like ragdoll is handled by any CPU and on the consoles considering its the default physics engine for the Unreal 3 engine
and the GPU acceleration is always an optional extra plus it seems strange to argue that a feature that makes the games better graphicaly doesn't belong on the graphics card.

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