Microsoft Boldly Outs DirectX 12_2 Feature Support For AMD Big Navi, Intel Xe-HPG And Qualcomm GPUs
Feature level support is a bit of a confusing thing, so let's break that down before we dive in too deep here. With DirectX, there are standard feature sets and feature levels, which help streamline coding for games and provide developers with an idea of what a particular GPU can handle. Standard features are a baseline set that any GPU can handle. Feature levels, however, are integrated differently, depending on what a graphics card can do. For example, ray tracing support is a feature level item. Cards which do not support ray tracing in hardware -- essentially anything other than NVIDIA's GeForce RTX 20 series for now -- would not have the new feature level support. Basically, feature levels detail what a certain GPU hardware or software platform can support. Now, onto the meat of this update from Microsoft...
• DirectX raytracing
• Mesh shaders
• Variable rate shading
• Sampler feedback
Q: Which hardware platforms will support feature level 12_2?
A: We’re absolutely pleased to inform that:
- Feature level 12_2 is supported on NVIDIA GeForce RTX and NVIDIA Quadro RTX GPUs.
- AMD’s upcoming RDNA 2 architecture-based GPUs will include full feature level 12_2 support.
- Intel’s roadmap includes discrete GPUs that will empower developers to take full advantage of Feature Level 12_2.
- Microsoft is collaborating with Qualcomm to bring the benefits of DirectX feature level 12_2 to Snapdragon platforms.The powerful new capabilities in feature level 12_2 represent exciting new possibilities for game and application developers.
This all means that future AMD, Intel, and Qualcomm products (which have not even been announced formally just yet) will be able to utilize the big-ticket rendering techniques detailed above. At first pass, it's impressive that all of these major silicon players will be somewhat catching-up to NVIDIA's GPUs that already support this full feature set. Secondly, it is somewhat surprising that Microsoft is letting the cat out of the bag in this way. With such big name partners, one would expect Microsoft to keep quiet about upcoming products, but that doesn't appear to be the case this time around.
At the end of the day, it is interesting that Microsoft is making confirmations like this. Typically, there's a bit more protocol observed when referencing unreleased products from key partners. Dropping important details like this is exciting for us, though, as it gives a glimpse into the future of next-generation GPUs. Let us know what you think of this seemingly strategic Microsoft leak, and if you are a little more excited for the future of GPU competition.