DirectX 11 vs. DirectX 12: What are the differences?

If you are a Windows PC gamer, know if DirectX 12 is better than DirectX 11 It is very important to get the best out of your favorite video games. Now, most people will say DirectX 12 is better because it has a higher number, but things aren’t usually that simple.

DirectX 12 was released in 2015 alongside Windows 10. Microsoft claims that it is the best version of DirectX yet and will likely usher in a new era for gamers. This is because it is able to increase GPU performance while reducing CPU overhead.

The problem is that increasing your computer’s performance isn’t as easy as switching to a new version of DirectX. Or maybe it is, so let’s find out what exactly is going on here.

DirectX 11 vs. DirectX 12

Both versions of DirectX are great, but DirectX 12 is the newer version, and as such, it comes with features not found in DirectX 11. Determining which is better isn’t that straightforward, though.

What is Microsoft DirectX?

So, DirectX is a collection of key APIs designed for the purpose of handling multimedia related tasks. This can include programming video games on Windows, Xbox, and any other Microsoft-based platform.

What are the differences between DirectX 11 and DirectX 12?

DirectX 12 is capable of interfacing with your computer’s hardware at a more advanced level. For example, DirectX 12 is designed to distribute the CPU workload among other cores, but not only that, it can allow each core to communicate with the GPU at the same time.

DirectX 11, on the other hand, only allows games to use two and four CPU cores. In many cases, the maximum number is three, since one of the cores is used to dictate instructions to the GPU.

When it comes to fancy bells and whistles features, DirectX 12 takes the cake here. This includes Pipeline State Objects (PSOs) and asynchronous computing. You see, asynchronous computing boosts GPU utilization by allowing it to drive multiple workloads in parallel.

The hope here is to unlock the full potential of your GPU, although it depends on whether the GPU supports DirectX 12, as not all of them do. Don’t worry because all GPUs that were released after 2015 support DirectX 12, so if the age of your current hardware is in line with that particular date, then all is well.

In addition to rendering graphics, your GPU is in charge of handling a wide range of key tasks. For example, a GPU is required to run machine learning algorithms. Now, if DirectX 11 is used in a machine learning situation, it can only perform tasks one after the other and in a particular order. Whenever that happens, performance tends to suffer as not all of the GPU related resources are used.

DirectX 12 solves this problem by making use of asynchronous computing, thus, unsurprisingly, GPU usage is maximized and as such will improve gaming performance.

Also, we should note that DirectX 12 is the first to introduce PSOs to the masses. For those wondering, PSOs are objects that explain the state of the entire graphics pipeline. You see, a PSO acts like a bottle that contains all the states and components needed for imaging. So, in essence, this will make it possible for the GPU to pre-process all dependent states without having to recalculate the states all the time.

When this is used, the CPU overhead is significantly reduced compared to the way DirectX 11 handles things.

Which should I choose, DirectX 12 or DirectX 11?

So the big question that deserves an answer is, which is better? Well the answer depends on the game you are trying to play. Some games were created with DirectX 11 in mind, while more modern titles were developed with DirectX 12 as the focal point.

Still, if you’re not the type of person who plays old video games, then DirectX 12 is the safe bet because almost all new titles today come with DirectX 12 support compared to the previous version.

READ: How to use the DirectX Diagnostic Tool (DxDiag) for troubleshooting

Will DirectX 12 improve FPS?

Depending on the game, DirectX 12 might offer improvements when it comes to FPS. Some games, like Cyberpunk 2077, have seen a 20 percent frame rate boost at 1080p, while Assassin’s Creed Valhalla managed to get a 25 percent boost at the same resolution.

Do I need DirectX 11 if I have 12?

DirectX isn’t something you can install separately, which means there’s no way to have DirectX 11 and DirectX 12 installed separately on the same computer. Since the DirectX API is not backwards compatible, some games or applications may require the older version to work properly.

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James D. Brown
James D. Brown
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