A new DirectX badge is going to start showing up on graphics hardware: It’s called DirectX 12 Ultimate, and it denotes support for “ALL next generation graphics hardware features,” Microsoft announced today. From a report: DirectX is a collection of application programming languages (APIs) that developers use to communicate with your hardware. You can think of it like a conduit between software (especially games) and hardware. Up until now, DX12 was the latest version, supported in Windows 10 (and also in Windows 7 for some games). Now that distinction belongs to DX12 Ultimate. It’s not an overhaul of the API, but a culmination of the latest technologies bundled into one. This notably includes DirectX Raytracing (DXR), variable rate shading (VRS), mesh shaders, and sampler feedback.
One of the reasons Microsoft is doing this is to unify experiences across the PC and its upcoming Xbox Series X, which will launch November 26, 2020 (Thanksgiving Day). “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 explains. The main benefit for gamers is knowing, at a glance, if the graphics card they are about to buy supports all the latest features. Spotting the DX12 Ultimate badge is the key, and I suspect hardware makers will be quick to promote it. Related to that, Microsoft is pitching this as a way of ensuring “future-proof” feature support. There’s no such thing as future proofing, of course, but DX12 Ultimate should remain relevant for at least the next couple of years.