Menu
Microsoft boosts Windows 7 graphics with hardware

Microsoft boosts Windows 7 graphics with hardware

Microsoft's DirectX 11 will see a performance boost with graphics hardware

Microsoft is trying to improve the visuals in Windows 7 by working with hardware makers on a software interface that maximizes the use of graphics cards.

The OS will support a new API (application programming interface) called DirectX 11 that enables better gaming through more realistic graphics and faster playback of multimedia files. The software giant is working with top graphics chip makers Nvidia and Advanced Micro Devices on those features.

The DirectX 11 graphics drivers are designed to help Windows 7 effectively break up tasks over multiple cores to boost application and graphics performance. For example, Windows 7 will process video faster by unloading the task from the CPU to graphics processor cores.

Nvidia has been able to use DirectX compute capabilities in Windows 7 to accelerate tasks like manipulating images or playing DVDs via its graphics processing unit, said Ned Finkle, vice president of strategic marketing at Nvidia, in a video posted on Microsoft's Windows 7 Web site.

"Microsoft did a number of things within the operating system that allow us to take the computing horsepower we developed for visual computing and apply it to a range of tasks that have never been seen before," Finkle said.

Beyond simple multimedia tasks, AMD said DirectX 11 harnesses the massive parallel processing capabilities of GPUs to improve gaming on PCs, said Neal Robison, director of independent software vendor relations at AMD.

"We're going to see gaming at a whole new level of realism that you've never been able to experience before because it just hasn't been possible," Robison said.

He also said that Windows 7 could speed up conversion of video for playback on portable devices. Users will be able to drag and drop video from PCs to portable devices, with DirectX 11 enabling video conversion on the fly.

While Microsoft has built native DirectX 11 support in Windows 7, users will benefit only with capable hardware. AMD in June showed off a prototype DirectX 11 graphics processing unit, but is yet to formally announce a product.

In a blog entry posted Thursday,

AMD's Robin Maffeo, a Microsoft alliance manager, wrote "there are plans to make native DirectX 11 hardware from AMD in its ATI Radeon GPUs available when Windows 7 is released."

Current graphics cards and integrated graphics on chipsets carry support for DirectX 10 or 10.1.

The ability to break up tasks is an evolutionary step for Microsoft in developing operating systems, said Dan Olds, principal analyst at Gabriel Consulting Group. As users demand heavier graphics from PCs, it is in Microsoft's best interests to offer an operating system that breaks up tasks across multiple graphics cores and CPUs, he said.

"In order to be able to get performance from succeeding generations, you have to have a multicore-aware operating system," Olds said. Execution of tasks on a single core isn't highly efficient, which was a problem that plagued earlier operating systems, Olds said.

The DirectX 11 enhancements could also encourage more developers to build games for Windows 7 and help the company keep pace with competition.

One company competing with Microsoft is Apple, which has changed the basic architecture of its upcoming Mac OS X 10.6 OS, code-named Snow Leopard, to include new features that divvy up graphics and other tasks over multiple CPU and graphics cores. It builds in support for OpenCL, a set of programming tools to develop and manage parallel task execution.

Nvidia and AMD have said they would support DirectX 11 and OpenCL. Intel, which offers integrated graphics on chipsets, in June released updated graphics drivers for Windows 7, but it carried support for only DirectX 10.


Follow Us

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags MicrosoftWindows 7directx

Featured

Slideshows

Meet the leading female front runners of the Kiwi channel

Meet the leading female front runners of the Kiwi channel

Reseller News honoured the leading female front runners of the New Zealand channel at the 2018 Women in ICT Awards (WIICTA) in Auckland. The awards honoured standout individuals across seven categories, spanning Entrepreneur; Innovation; Rising Star; Shining Star; Community; Technical and Achievement.

Meet the leading female front runners of the Kiwi channel
Meet the top performing customer-centric Microsoft channel partners

Meet the top performing customer-centric Microsoft channel partners

Microsoft honoured leading partners across the channel following a year of customer innovation and market growth in New Zealand. The 2018 Microsoft Partner Awards recognised excellence within the context of the end-user, spanning a host of emerging and established providers.

Meet the top performing customer-centric Microsoft channel partners
Reseller News launches new-look Awards at 2018 Judges’ Lunch

Reseller News launches new-look Awards at 2018 Judges’ Lunch

Introducing the Reseller News Innovation Awards, launched to the channel at the 2018 Judges’ Lunch in Auckland. With more than 70 judges now part of the voting panel, the new-look awards will reflect the changing dynamics of the channel, recognising excellence across customer value and innovation - spanning start-ups, partners, distributors and vendors.

Reseller News launches new-look Awards at 2018 Judges’ Lunch
Show Comments