Is DirectX Holding Back Gaming Performance?

Posted on July 2, 2011 at 8:13 pm by Donna Warren

According to Richard Huddy, relations managers of AMD’s GPU division, “one of the biggest obstacles to PC gaming performance is simply that Microsoft’s venerable DirectX keeps “getting in the way.”

According to Ben Hardwidge from, “Despite what delusional forum chimps might tell you, we all know that the graphics hardware inside today’s consoles looks like a meek albino gerbil compared with the healthy tiger you can get in a PC. Compare the GeForce GTX 580′s count of 512 stream processors with the weedy 48 units found in the Xbox 360′s Xenos GPU, not to mention the aging GeForce 7-series architecture found inside the PS3.”

However, in side to side comparisons sometimes the overall performance of a PC is slightly slower than the gaming console. Why?

According to Huddy, “It’s funny. We often have at least ten times as much horsepower as an Xbox 360 or a PS3 in a high-end graphics card, yet it’s very clear that the games don’t look ten times as good. To a significant extent, that’s because, one way or another, for good reasons and bad – mostly good, DirectX is getting in the way.”

The Good: The unified API allowed all games to work on any hardware the user has.

Huddy said, “Wrapping it up in a software layer gives you safety and security, but it unfortunately tends to rob you of quite a lot of the performance, and most importantly it robs you of the opportunity to innovate,

The Bad: To get the greatest performance, the unified API would have to be abandoned.

That would result in each hardware manufacturer having to ensure component stability while developers push the limits of the hardware. Special drivers would need to be created and PC enthusiasts would have a much harder time getting the best performance out of their hardware.

According to Michael Glueck, R&D Director of Crytek, “the idea would appeal to us. Although, It definitely makes sense to have a standardized, vendor-independent API as an abstraction layer over the hardware, but we would also prefer this API to be really thin and allow more low-level access to the hardware. This will not only improve performance, but it will also allow better use of the available hardware features.”

Do you think that all the hardware incompatibilities would be worth a slightly better game performance?

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