Intel demos DirectX 12 power savings

August 14, 2014 | 10:58

Tags: #api #direct3d #direct3d-12 #directx #directx-12 #surface-pro-3

Companies: #intel #microsoft

Intel and Microsoft have unveiled a new benchmark at the Siggraph 2014 graphics conference that appears to prove DirectX 12 will be a serious boon for gamers on mobile platforms, significantly lowering power consumption during 3D rendering.

Announced at the Game Developers Conference (GDC) back in March, DirectX 12 is Microsoft's latest application programming interface (API) update. Microsoft's Matt Sandy introduced the new version with the promise of 'a lower level of hardware abstraction than ever before, allowing games to significantly improve multithread scaling and CPU utilisation.' At the time, the company showed off 3DMark benchmark results that showed a halving of the CPU time required to render a scene - but since then the company has been somewhat silent on the new technology.

Intel, rather than Microsoft, has become the company to reveal a few more details, as part of the company's Siggraph 2014 booth. The company's booth is playing host to a Microsoft Surface 3 tablet, powered by the company's Core processor and HD Graphics hardware, running what is claimed to be a genuine implementation of DirectX 12 alongside DirectX 11. The results speak for themselves: at locked framerates, the CPU power consumption drops dramatically when in DirectX 12 mode, with a slight but noticeable drop in GPU power draw at the same time.

For mobile users, that's great news: a drop in power draw means an extension in battery life. For desktop users, Intel demonstrated the flip-side of the equation: at unlocked framerates, the benchmark in use jumped from 19 frames per second to 33 frames per second for the same overall power draw - roughly doubling the performance of the hardware.

Intel's little demonstration also proved something else: hardware that is DirectX 11 compatible, like the Intel HD Graphics integrated into the Surface Pro 3, should be able to benefit from the improvements to DirectX 12 without hardware modification. Sadly, Intel - like Microsoft - has remained silent on a firm launch date for the new DirectX release. More details of the test setup are available on the Intel blog.
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