DirectX 11 and DirectX 12 of Microsoft’s graphics API (Application Programming Interface) play a vital role in gaming.
DirectX 11 was the go-to choice for game developers, but now DirectX 12 has emerged as the new contender promising better performance and efficiency.
The comparison between these two will explore the key differences and the features that make each unique.
Here is all about these two versions in detail.
What Is DirectX?
DirectX, a collection of APIs, was created by Microsoft and was included as a part of the Windows operating system.
The API includes Direct3D, DirectPlay, DirectSound, DirectDraw, and many more.
It was designed to help game developers so their software works with as many hardware configurations as possible.
DirectX runs only on Windows, whereas OpenGL and Vulkan run on Mac and Linux. It acts as a medium between the game engine and the graphics driver, interacting with the OS kernel.
The main purpose of DirectX is to simplify the development process by providing a standardized interface to access and utilize various hardware components like graphics cards, audio devices, and input devices.
What Is DirectX 11?
DirectX 11 provides a range of features and functionalities, including advanced rendering techniques, improved shading capabilities, and also support for multithreading.
Its advanced features, performance optimizations, and compatibility make it a trusted choice for game developers looking to create a captivating and immersive experience for their audience.
Furthermore, it provides certain tools and libraries vital in simplifying the entire development process.
The level of abstraction makes it easier for developers to create complex graphics applications without diving deep into the intricacies of hardware-specific programming.
It also supports advanced rendering techniques such as tessellation and geometry shaders, allowing for intricate and detailed graphics.
What Is DirectX 12?
DirectX 12 focuses on reducing CPU overhead and maximizing GPU utilization which therefore results in improved performance and enables more complex and realistic simulations and graphics.
DirectX 12 requires compatible hardware to take advantage of its features.
Even if DirectX 12 is bringing forth significant advancements, it is unlikely to replace DirectX 11 in the near future completely.
The user base of DirectX 11 is large, and it offers compatibility with a wide range of systems.
The latest version of DirectX 12 is DirectX 12 Ultimate. It was released in 2020 and introduced various new features, including DirectX Raytracing and Mesh Shading.
All graphics card doesn’t support DirectX 12 Ultimate; it entirely depends on your hardware.
Here are the additional features that DirectX 12 Ultimate offers:
- DirectX Ray Tracing (DXR)
- Variable Rate Shading
- Mesh Shaders
- Sampler Feedback
DirectX 11 Versus DirectX 12
There are a few differences between DirectX 11 and DirectX 12, and those are:
- DirectX 11 can run on older versions of Windows as long as DirectX 11 runtime is installed. DirectX 12 is exclusive only to Windows 10 and later versions but not the older version of Windows.
- DirectX 11 interacts with and utilizes between two and four CPU cores. On the other hand, DirectX 12 is known to spread the CPU’s workload across the other cores. In short, the load gets evenly distributed.
- DirectX 11 has a high-level API, whereas DirectX 12 has a low-level API.
- In terms of performance, DirectX is known to perform much better than DirectX 11. DirectX 12 displays a lower performance than that of DirectX 11.
- DirectX 12 is known to perform better in games than DirectX 11.
- DirectX 11 operates serially and executes in order, whereas DirectX 12 performs asynchronous operations.
- In the case of DirectX 12, the developers have more control over the game’s utilization of hardware in comparison to DirectX 11.
Should I Use DirectX 11 Or DirectX 12?
The answer to this question depends upon the type of games that you are trying to run.
However, a few games support both DirectX 11 and DirectX 12.
Also, through the game’s settings, the users can switch between both versions.
But switching from DirectX 11 to DirectX 12 depends on various factors like hardware, software, operating system, and compatibility.
Also, the availability of the right set of hardware will definitely be one of the main reasons to choose between DirectX 11 and DirectX 12.
If the CPU you are using isn’t multicore, it is the best way to stay away from DirectX 12.
The main reason for this is if your games are slow or laggy, then using DirectX 12 will make it worse.
Therefore, the unavailability of the right hardware won’t display much improvement since DirectX 12 is specifically designed for high-end gaming PCs that come with newer hardware.
To use DirectX 12, you will need a PC running on Windows 10 or 11, but DirectX 11 can be used on Windows 7 or 8.
But there will be a notable improvement in terms of performance if the user prefers to switch to DirectX 12.
DirectX 11 is obviously a better choice if you have an older PC with an old set of hardware purely for the sake of avoiding compatibility issues.
But before using DirectX 12, you should note that it is still incompatible with some games.
DirectX 11 is a high-level API, so it becomes easier for the developers to work with, resulting in stable, polished, and playable games.
But DirectX 12 allows room for the developers to fine-tune optimization, but it demands extensive knowledge.
Many improvements come with DirectX 12, but it ultimately depends upon the developer’s knowledge of the API and how he implements it.
The most notable advantage of DirectX 11 is its ability to harness the full potential of modern GPUs, enabling the developers to create stunning visual effects.
Which DirectX Is Better For Gaming?
Generally, you can derive a better gaming performance by using DirectX 12 since it has introduced several improvements over its predecessor, DirectX 11.
Those include lower-level hardware access, improved performance, reduced CPU overhead, and better support for multithreading, resulting in better graphics and improved game performance.
But the performance level varies for each game since every game doesn’t require the type of low-level optimization that DirectX 12 offers.
But the choice of DirectX depends upon the particular game you are playing and the hardware type.
Check the system requirements and the recommended settings for the game you want.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- Can DirectX 11 Applications Be Upgraded To DirectX 12?
Yes, the DirectX application can be upgraded to DirectX 12, but it will require rewriting or modifying significant portions of the codebase.
- Can DirectX 11 And DirectX 12 Coexist In The Same Application?
Yes, using both DirectX 11 and DirectX 12 in the same application is possible.
- Do All Games And Applications Benefit From DirectX 12?
Not all games and applications get improved performance from DirectX 12.
If the users need to utilize the features and benefits offered by DirectX 12, then they need to optimize their software for utilizing the new API.
DirectX 11 and DirectX 12 have contributed significantly to the gaming environment by empowering developers to create visually stunning experiences.
However, the choice depends upon the specific needs. Both versions will likely co-exist for a certain amount of time, and the developers will choose the appropriate version based on their preference.