The battle for graphics card supremacy has raged between Nvidia and AMD for years. We’ve seen the two companies compete for the same discerning marketplace, occasionally throwing barbs at one another in their advertising and on social media, but now DirectX 12 looks set to bring the two houses together.
Apparently planned for a 2015 release alongside Windows 10, DirectX 12 looks to bring a few unexpected features with it alongside the anticipated boosts to performance, according to a new report from Tom’s Hardware. The most unexpected advance is the ability to utilize Nvidia GPUs alongside AMD GPUs in multi-card configurations.
This is a consequence of how DirectX 12 treats video hardware. Because it operates at a lower level than previous versions of the API it is able to treat all available video resources as one unit. Card model and brand makes no difference to a machine running DX12. In theory, at least.
While PC gamers have long faced a difficult decision between the two manufacturers, now it seems that they’ll be able to cherry pick their preferred hardware from both companies and enjoy the best of both worlds. It also means gamers may be able to mix old and new cards.
It’s been clear for some time that Microsoft plans to aggressively target the video game audience with Windows 10, but most of what we’ve seen of that effort up until now has been attempts to further integrate Xbox services with PC hardware. This seems to be a different tack, appealing to the most dedicated of PC fans with the potential for a powerful customized rig.
However, reports on the capabilities of DirectX 12 do make mention of a possible drawback to its hardware-agnostic approach. It’s expected this development will put the onus of optimization on the developers creating the video games, which might lead to a less polished finished product for the user. More hardware options means more potential configurations that games need to run on, and that could cause headaches for smaller studios.
That said, with the details available at present, it’s too early to make any definitive assumptions about the pros and cons of DirectX 12. If the API is set to launch alongside Windows 10, we perhaps won’t have to wait too long to find out more — the annual Game Developers Conference which takes place in March would seem to be a prime candidate for official word.