Starting with the AMD Radeon™ HD 5000 Series, AMD Radeon™ GPUs have been built to support a new way of designing GPU drivers called “Windows Display Driver Model 1.2” (WDDM 1.2). AMD Radeon™ HD 7000 Series products based on Graphics Core Next go a step further with full support for DirectX® 11.1. Together, these technologies enable a range of new features for Windows® 8 and other compatible software.

 

Key features of DirectX 11.1 (HD 7000 or higher)


Target-Independent Rasterization


TIR is a new rendering path that enables superior anti-aliasing performance in Direct2d-driven applications. These include the new Windows 8 start screen, PowerPoint charts, or many forms of graphics on webpages. DirectX 11.1 enables this by allowing the GPU to stand in for the processor during the anti-aliasing stage, and the result is a sharper and clearer dynamic interface with excellent fluidity.


Native Stereoscopic 3D


Now with more than 600 supported titles, AMD HD3D technology has provided gamers with an immersive gaming experience through stereoscopic 3D depth.1 Starting with Windows 8, stereoscopic 3D support will be implemented directly in the operating system with a standardized path for support in future games.  Provided a user has a fully 3D-enabled display chain (GPU, driver and display), users will see evidence of this native functionality in the control panel settings. Such a hardware combination might include an AMD Radeon™ HD 7000 GPU, the AMD Catalyst™ 12.11 driver, and a Samsung SA950 (or other compatible display).


D3D11 Video Playback Improvements


Today, a game’s video content and its interactive content operate on different DirectX levels. Whereas gameplay might be rendered via DirectX 10 or DirectX 11, videos are frequently rendered with DirectX 9. This mixture of API levels makes it difficult for game developers to efficiently implement both types of content, an issue that will be streamlined by the API unification that DirectX 11.1 provides.  This unification also provides hardware-accelerated video that’s on par with DirectX Video Acceleration (DXVA), the software library that AMD’s App Acceleration technology already uses to deliver the world’s best video playback quality to AMD Radeon™ customers.2 One practical implication of these improvements could be the inclusion of more and higher quality video cutscenes in tomorrow’s games. Another implication might be improved video transcode performance, which AMD also offers across its full line of available Radeon™ Graphics products.

 

Key features of WDDM 1.2 (HD 5000 or higher)


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One of the key features is a new technology called "DirectFlip," which is designed to optimize power consumption for video playback and other full-screen scenarios. It accomplishes this by guaranteeing that alt+tab actions, or overlaid notifications, do not force the computer to perform an inefficient change of rendering modes. Furthermore, DirectFlip provides optimized memory bandwidth requirements, intelligent management of idle and active power, and smooth transitions from full-screen applications to the desktop. 


Other benefits of graphics drivers based on WDDM 1.2 include better fault tolerance, which means less system crashes or hangs when the GPU driver encounters a bug in an application.  And, finally, WDDM 1.2 also introduces a feature called "GPU preemption," which better manages the way applications access the graphics card in a multi-tasking environment. With WDDM 1.2's GPU preemption, graphics cards are more intelligent about avoiding system pauses or delays as high-intensity loads are executed simultaneously with other GPU-aware applications. 


Any of these WDDM 1.2 features are supported by all of our DirectX 11 products, which include the AMD Radeon HD 5000, HD 6000 and HD 7000 Series GPUs, along with all of our accelerated processing units (APUs).

 

Ready to get started with Windows 8?

 

Grab the AMD Catalyst 12.11 driver and go! This is actually our fourth Windows 8-compatible driver, so you can be assured that AMD Radeon™ graphics have the tried and tested compatibility you deserve for the best experience with your new operating system. While that's downloading, I invite you to explore our other Windows 8-compatible products and technologies on the information page we launched today to coincide with the availability of Windows 8.



FOOTNOTES:


1 AMD HD3D is a technology designed to enable stereoscopic 3D support in games, movies and/or photos. Requires 3D stereo drivers, glasses, and display. Not all features may be supported on all components or systems – check with your component or system manufacturer for specific model capabilities and supported technologies. A list of supported stereoscopic 3D hardware is available at http://www.amd.com/HD3D.


2 AMD App Acceleration is a set of technologies designed to improve video quality and enhance application performance. Full enablement of some features requires support for OpenCL™, DirectCompute or DirectX® Video Acceleration (DXVA). Not all products have all features and full enablement of some capabilities and may require complementary products.


Robert Hallock is a Product Marketing Manager at AMD.  His postings are his own opinions and may not represent AMD’s positions, strategies or opinions.  Links to third party sites, and references to third party trademarks, are provided for convenience and illustrative purposes only.  Unless explicitly stated, AMD is not responsible for the contents of such links and no third party endorsement of AMD or any of its products is implied.