DirectX is a collection of components for handling multimedia tasks in the Windows platform. This API is especially essential for games and video, allowing gamers to enjoy better multimedia experiences. DirectX 11 is among the best versions with significant improvement from the previous ones.
Your Windows computer includes DirectX by default so you don’t necessarily need to install this application programming interface manually. However, if your Windows PC doesn’t come with the newest version, you might consider installing the latest updates to fix problems.
DirectX 11 Key Features
DX11 has a number of features to provide you with great-looking gaming effects and efficient computer’s resources. Although it was released back in 2009, it can be a perfect option either for gamers or game developers. Here are several highlighted features brought to your table:
Games with realistic graphics tend to place a major burden on the CPU. As a consequence, the frame rate experiences reduction and gamers don’t want this. DX11 offers hardware-based tessellation that addresses this problem by incorporating dedicated logic on the graphics card.
Developers can transform low-resolution data inputs into high resolution models. This method has been used in the Xbox gaming console. But now, it has become a standard feature in DX11. However, please note that users must code for it.
2. Multi-threading Support
While most DirectX games come with single-thread, DX11 promises better gaming performance with multi-threading support. It provides up to 12 threads as found on i7 processors. Unlike single-threaded that utilizes one CPU core, this API is able to leverage CPU’s resources.
DirectX 11 features Direct Compute shader that plays a major role in video transcoding or physics processing. The shader work on AMD and NVIDIA graphic cards as a complement rather than replacement.
This feature is able to control huge computational ability on modern graphic cards, allowing the system to process complex calculation. This is a key to better gaming performance.
4. Texture-compression Improvements
In order to make game engines efficient, software developers compress and decompress in-game textures when necessary to all the store information in the graphic card’s memory. However, compression for high-dynamic-range textures is not supported on older versions of DirectX.
DX11 offers a new feature that allows users to compress two texture formats, including high-dynamic-range and low-dynamic range.
This API introduces BC6 that comes with a 6:1 compression for high-dynamic-range textures, even though it creates a slight loss in quality. It also comes with BC7 that works well on low-dynamic-range texture formats.
DirectX 11 Updates
Since its initial release in 2009, four updates have been released for DX11. Each version comes with improvements to help game developers in creating better games. Take a closer look at version updates below:
- DX11.1 is used in Windows 8. It features Direct Compute, Direct3D, and stereoscopic 3D for gaming and video. This version is partially supported in Windows 7.
- DX11.2 is supported in Windows 8 and 8.1. It comes with new features like geometry realizations and swap chain compositions.
- DX11.3 is designed to complement DirectX 12 and is supported in Windows 10. Standalone update for this version is not available, which means it comes along with Windows Update.
- DX11.X is known as a superset of the latest version DirectX 12 for Xbox One. It offers some features like draw bundles.
How to Check Your DirectX Version
Checking the DirectX version installed on your PC is easy. You can go through the DirectX diagnostic tool that will provide you with a report consisting of detailed information about the DirectX components currently used on your system.
No matter your Windows versions, follow these steps to check which version of DirectX is installed on your computer.
- In the search box, type dxdiag then press Enter.
- Click dxdiag from the result.
- You will see detailed information about the DX components. To check the DirectX version, refer to the System Information section.
If you are running Windows 10, chances are that the DirectX version will show DirectX 12. This is the only supported version in that Windows version. Since there is no standalone version of DirectX 12, it can only be updated as you update the Windows.
DirectX 11 VS DirectX 12
DirectX 11 is designed to be the best API for game engines. Even though it was launched a decade ago, it still works well for many games. There is nothing wrong with this API but still the latest version comes with improvement.
The DX12 offers more power and flexibility, providing games developers with more choices to optimize their games. As the latest version, DX12 brings sophisticated features than DX11 and earlier versions. It is also the only API that has broad native support like DirectML and Variable Rate Shading.
To sum up, DirectX 11 is an improved API with powerful features, allowing you to feel better gaming. Check which of the DirectX versions you have on the computer. If you need a version update, you should go for it.