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DirectX 11 unwrapped

Latest version of DirectX package includes GPGPU, tessellation support and improved multi-threading support

Software giant Microsoft has unveiled DirectX 11 at its GamesFest event in Redmond, Washington. It is the successor to the older DirectX 10 and 10.1.

DirectX is a collection of application program interfaces (APIs) that is used by hardware to interface with multimedia software and 3D games. Some of the APIs include Direct3D, DirectPlay, DirectSound and DirectDraw.

Some of DirectX 11's features are general purpose computing on graphics processing units (GPGPU), tessellation support and improved multi-threading support. GPGPU enables compatible GPUs to perform computation tasks that were traditionally handled by the computer's CPU. Tessellation on the other hand allows developers to make models appear smoother and more realistic when viewed up close, while multi-threading support makes it possible for developers to better utilise multi-core processors.

The latest version of the rendering API is fully Vista compliant and is backward compliant with graphics cards designed for the older DirectX 10 and 10.1 APIs. Reaping the benefits of DirectX 11 will however require a compliant graphics card. To date none of the GPUs on the market support DirectX 11.

Microsoft also stated that DirectX 11 will run on the forthcoming Windows 7 operating system. A final release date has yet to be confirmed.