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Microsoft Graphics Software Entertainment Games

MS Says Windows 7 Will Run DirectX 10 On the CPU 503

Posted by kdawson
from the aero-capable dept.
arcticstoat writes "In what could be seen as an easy answer to the Vista-capable debacle, Microsoft has introduced a 'fully conformant software rasterizer' called WARP (Windows Advanced Rasterization Platform) 10, which does away with the need for a dedicated hardware 3D accelerator altogether. Microsoft says that WARP 10 will support all the features and precision requirements of Direct3D 10 and 10.1, as well as up to 8x multi-sampled anti-aliasing, anisotropic filtering and all optional texture formats. The minimum CPU spec needed is just 800MHz, and it doesn't even need MMX or SSE, although it will work much quicker on multi-core CPUs with SSE 4.1. Of course, software rendering on a single desktop CPU isn't going to be able to compete with decent dedicated 3D graphics cards when it comes to high-end games, but Microsoft has released some interesting benchmarks that show the system to be quicker than Intel's current integrated DirectX 10 graphics. Running Crysis at 800 x 600 with the lowest quality settings, an eight-core Core i7 system managed an average frame rate of 7.36fps, compared with 5.17fps from Intel's DirectX 10 integrated graphics."
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MS Says Windows 7 Will Run DirectX 10 On the CPU

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  • Oh boy. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 30, 2008 @02:50AM (#25931213)

    So we can play things at 7fps with ultra low settings. Whoopee.

    Seriously, buy a goddamn graphics card.

  • Yes. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by James_Duncan8181 (588316) on Sunday November 30, 2008 @02:52AM (#25931219) Homepage
    In other news, Intel graphics chips said to be designed for minimal power draw rather than all out performance. This power draw is decidedly not beaten by running a software renderer that will stress the CPU till it sucks power like an electric chair as the CPU is only general hardware, not specific. More at 11.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 30, 2008 @02:55AM (#25931229)
    they've had an idea, those BASTARDS!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 30, 2008 @02:57AM (#25931245)

    How much is an 8-core system going to cost vs the system with integrated graphics? At that point, it seems wiser to invest more money in a graphics card than in faster CPUs if that's what you're going to be doing.

    By far the more useful thing is that it's probably better for development because the driver developers will have a reference point of how the graphics are supposed to render. Also, larger game companies will be able to point out these differences to get bug fixes out of the graphics card companies. "Your graphics card renders this incorrectly with regards to the reference, fix it" is much more forceful than "your graphics card behaves differently than your competitor".

  • From the summary: (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ben0207 (845105) <ben.burton@gmai l . com> on Sunday November 30, 2008 @02:59AM (#25931251) Homepage

    "Running Crysis at 800 x 600 with the lowest quality settings, an eight-core Core i7 system managed an average frame rate of 7.36fps, compared with 5.17fps from Intel's DirectX 10 integrated graphics."

    So the game went from unplayable at the lowest settings possible, to being still unplayable at the lowest settings possible?

    Great move MS, youv'e really solved a problem there.

  • Grrrreat! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Chordonblue (585047) on Sunday November 30, 2008 @03:01AM (#25931257) Journal

    Does anyone else remember the 'good old days' when certain 3D graphics cards (the ViRGE comes to mind), were actually SLOWER than software renderers?

    The term used then was 'decelerator' and I think MS's stupid decision to (once again) bow to Intel on this should share the same term.

    How long will it take for true 3D acceleration to become an expected standard feature on PC's?

  • by Antlerbot (1419715) on Sunday November 30, 2008 @03:11AM (#25931295)

    Say you get a new computer with a decent CPU, but no graphics card for work. You guys remember that thing, right? Work? Spreadsheets and documents and...yeah. That stuff.

    Anyway, now you can play Tomb Raider on it. The original one. Sweet.

  • lol (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DigitalisAkujin (846133) on Sunday November 30, 2008 @03:12AM (#25931305) Homepage

    /. is silly

    they made this to run the desktop effects

    not crysis xD

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 30, 2008 @03:13AM (#25931311)

    Well in all fairness it's a pretty dumb idea. An 8 core CPU managed 7fps? Whoooopeeee!

    How about instead of wasting time on this, they work with vendors and get properly working drivers for the stand-alone graphics cards?

  • Re:Yes. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by GigaplexNZ (1233886) on Sunday November 30, 2008 @03:17AM (#25931325)
    Servers are plugged in at all times, and we still want minimal power draw to save money and heat output (and for people who care, the environment). It isn't just about battery life.
  • by WiiVault (1039946) on Sunday November 30, 2008 @03:18AM (#25931337)
    To think that anybody would want to run a DX10 game on an 800mhz no SSE CPU is insane, even considering the company involved. Perhaps for DX 7,8 and perhaps 9 games this might be reasonable (though not likely) but jesus, no thanks!
  • by DigiShaman (671371) on Sunday November 30, 2008 @03:26AM (#25931359) Homepage

    My guess is that Microsoft wanted their next OS to be virtualized on a server and yet still be able to run applications written for Direct-X.

  • by SanityInAnarchy (655584) <ninja@slaphack.com> on Sunday November 30, 2008 @03:31AM (#25931379) Journal

    Is MS going to rewrite their GUI layers on top of their 3d API a la Apple?

    They did that in Vista. They did it so poorly that customers sued over being sold "Vista-capable" machines which weren't -- including Intel video cards that weren't enough.

    Meanwhile, Ubuntu runs on Compiz, which does just fine on Intel -- and Apple has been so far ahead that someone took the audio from one of the original Vista presentations, and combined it with video from Tiger, thus showing that really everything "new" about Vista was just playing catch-up with Tiger, while Leopard was just around the corner.

    More to the point: I believe it's now possible to run a Windows Server without a video card -- or, indeed, any GUI at all, depending on what apps you need.

  • by RiotingPacifist (1228016) on Sunday November 30, 2008 @03:31AM (#25931381)

    How about the vendors learn to code and stop writing shitty drivers! I mean they have the full spec on the cards and still cant produce a driver as stable as some guys reverse engineering! Vista had a driver model ready for how long? Its not even like the change was unexpected.

  • Re:Grrrreat! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by A Life in Hell (6303) <jaymz@artificial-stupidity.net> on Sunday November 30, 2008 @03:32AM (#25931387) Homepage

    Sadly, never as long as the GUI works most Joe and Jane sixpacks will be just fine; and yes I do know about the Vista debacle but I think the point is still valid.

    How is that sad? If people don't need it, it seems like a waste of money to me.

  • by Lord Crc (151920) on Sunday November 30, 2008 @03:43AM (#25931447)

    Also, larger game companies will be able to point out these differences to get bug fixes out of the graphics card companies. "Your graphics card renders this incorrectly with regards to the reference, fix it" is much more forceful than "your graphics card behaves differently than your competitor".

    DirectX already contains a reference rasterizer, which is better suited for that. This thing seems instead to be meant for applications that doesn't necessarily need more than "interactive" frame rates, but do need to run on a broad class of machines. Or for easing development of applications which could benefit from hardware acceleration when available (image processing f.i.).

    From the MSDN page [microsoft.com] on WARP:

    We don't see WARP10 as a replacement for graphics hardware, particularly as reasonably performing low end Direct3D 10 discrete hardware is now available for under $25. The goal of WARP10 was to allow applications to target Direct3D 10 level hardware without having significantly different code paths or testing requirements when running on hardware or when running in software.

  • Re:Yes. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by afidel (530433) on Sunday November 30, 2008 @03:50AM (#25931473)
    Yes, but running something like a 9600GSO will require less power than pushing 8 cores on the Core i7! The TDP on the Core i7 is 130W, my 9600GSO has a max power draw of 65W. Not only that but you can get PLAYABLE framerates, like 30fps@1080P.
  • Re:lol (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Cyberax (705495) on Sunday November 30, 2008 @03:50AM (#25931475)

    DirectX 10 on CPU is _NOT_ intended for games.

    It'll be used for rendering the Aero interface. And it requires several orders of magnitude less computing power. Hell, even my old 4-year old ATI Radeon 9600 can render Aero just fine.

    Games make a useful test-case, though.

  • Re:lol (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Cyberax (705495) on Sunday November 30, 2008 @04:12AM (#25931571)

    Sure. But you also need good-quality 3D drivers. This way Microsoft will be able to run Aero even on plain VESA framebuffer.

    Also, consider this: the upcoming Intel Larrabee graphics card will consist of 64 independent programmable x86-compatible cores. NVIDIA CUDA also allows direct GPU programming.

    I bet this renderer will be adapted to run directly on such GPUs bypassing their 'native' rendering pipelines. That'll give Microsoft freedom to experiment with new feature such as ray tracing without any help from hardware vendors.

  • by Suddenly_Dead (656421) on Sunday November 30, 2008 @04:17AM (#25931593)

    How does that even make sense? Not to defend Microsoft's bullshit, but how does coding a software renderer on one OS suddenly mean it should work with every OS? There's no possible logical leap there. Hell, why not DOS?

    maybe 'cause I do run he DirectX 10 hack on my XP and no it didn't raise the CPU usage (as claimed be the union of MS Windoze Vista Fanboyz)... it lowered it.

    What? There is no way to use DX10 on XP at this time; the only "hacks" are game-specific, allowing you to use DX10 games on DX9, or bump up the graphics detail on games when in DX9 mode to something closer to what they do in DX10 mode. All that proves is that these particular games don't actually need DirectX 10 to run, or that their DirectX 9 modes are being intentionally crippled.

  • by ozphx (1061292) on Sunday November 30, 2008 @04:32AM (#25931663) Homepage

    I know, they could have backported all of Vista to work on Windows 98! Some people said it wasn't technically possible! All they had to do was put the 98->XP upgrade and then the XP->Vista upgrade on one DVD. But they didn't....

    Oh wait... thats because its a _completely retarded idea_. Adding DX10 to XP would mean backporting a bunch of kernel mods, the new driver model, etc - which while "possible" would certainly be a hell of a lot of work.

    So shut the fuck up freetard and just buy the new OS... you had the old one for six fucking years, do you expect it to be supported forever?

    And no, those DX10 hacks don't "support DX10 on XP" - they emulate a bunch of crap, and they emulated it badly.

  • Yay! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by zmollusc (763634) on Sunday November 30, 2008 @04:58AM (#25931767)

    Hurrah! In the future, when i switch off pointless Aero crap, it will free up lots more cpu cycles for the annoying microsoft apps i need to run to see simple 2d spreadsheet data sent to me by retards who use proprietary microsoft file formats. Microsoft FTW!!

  • Re:Oww it hurts! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Legion303 (97901) on Sunday November 30, 2008 @05:01AM (#25931777) Homepage

    Man, that's like 2 whole fps more. With further optimization they might even crank it up to 15fps, which would get it close to the framerate I got from Crysis on medium settings with my laptop. And the best part is, you can run it on your enterprise-class server when you aren't busy serving up hundreds of thousands of SQL searches! Why pay $400 for a lousy video card when you can buy a $20K server instead?

  • by Whiteox (919863) <htcstech@gmai l . c om> on Sunday November 30, 2008 @05:05AM (#25931789) Journal

    Nvidia and ATI and every 3D card company had serious problems with Vista - not the graphics, but the HDvideo implementation. You see, a Vista capable graphic card also has to be able to play HD Video.

    This has thoroughly been discussed by Peter Gutmann here

    Briefly, the fact that Vista was designed for 'premium content protection' caused long delays to sort out HD graphics driver issues as HD Video will not play unless the Audio can be unscrambled. It's still not fixed, but many companies have designed a work-around that stalls the content protection system. So much for MS OS design, pressure from the RIAA and MPAA.
    Gutmann is very clear on how Vista's design had stuffed up 3D hardware and driver design. A good read.

  • Re:Yes. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MadMidnightBomber (894759) on Sunday November 30, 2008 @05:28AM (#25931895)

    Aye; "wannabe computer companies worry about clock speed. Real computer companies worry about cooling."

  • Re:Bad Summary! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Joce640k (829181) on Sunday November 30, 2008 @05:29AM (#25931897) Homepage

    Which part of "eight core machine" is cheap and low end?

    I'm sure a $50 graphics card is cheaper (and would whip this things ass).

  • by Elrond, Duke of URL (2657) <JetpackJohn@gmail.com> on Sunday November 30, 2008 @05:55AM (#25931983) Homepage

    And it's not just the GPU companies. Creative took their sweet time releasing Vista drivers for their previous generation of audio cards. I believe they were actually released after Vista was, and they're still just dreadful.

    My Audigy 2 is not that old, but after much fighting I still couldn't get 4.1 sound and EAX to work in any capacity. Part of it was Creative insisting on their own competing implementation of how to configure speakers which does not play nicely with the one included with Vista. Other issues are due to the general crummy nature of the drivers. Still other issues apparently only occur on Vista64 with 4 or more GB of RAM. Just awful. Eventually, I had to stop using the Audigy and use the onboard RealTek branded Intel HDA chip which seems to work fine, though the sound is less clean than what I got with my Audigy.

    Another piece of hardware, a Playstation/Gamecube/Dreamcast to USB controller adapter, from EMS Production (http://www.hkems.com) won't work with Vista64 either. Two years in and the company, still alive, has yet to release any Vista64 drivers and the Vista32 drivers are still listed as "beta".

    The annoying thing here is that the damn thing shouldn't even *need* an adapter. In Linux it is simply recognized as a HID gaming device and works fine. Vista actually recognizes it as such and DirectX controller diagnostic program can properly read values from the controller, but Vista steadfastly refuses to list the device in the "Game Controllers" control panel dialog, making it pretty useless for anything.

    Sigh... at least both these pieces of hardware work perfectly well in Linux...

  • Re:Oh boy. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by lyml (1200795) on Sunday November 30, 2008 @06:08AM (#25932025)
    I had windows 95 on my 486
  • Re:Ummmm (Score:3, Insightful)

    by NormalVisual (565491) on Sunday November 30, 2008 @06:11AM (#25932035)
    Now, the hardware accelerated audio production system is a relic. They are still made, but they are unpopular.

    This isn't quite true. Certainly the mixing, EQ, effects processing and a lot of signal generation (softsynths, etc.) is done on board the host PC nowadays, but where the rubber meets the road and there's a need have to have really good sample-accurate synchronized input/output in real time without the possibility of clicks and pops, people are still relying on outboard hardware, usually in the form of a pricey rack-mount FireWire interface that's offloading a *lot* of effort from the host computer in addition to performing A/D/A conversion. It's not usually signal processing per se, but still necessary since none of the OS's used in audio production are hard realtime, and consequently can't maintain accurate timing without the help of that extra hardware.
  • by WTF Chuck (1369665) on Sunday November 30, 2008 @06:13AM (#25932043) Journal

    Except the integrated graphics on a bunch of 'Vista Capable' laptops DON'T do DirectX10 or Aero... but if a patch to Vista (or Windows 7) will get Aero working on directX10 on the CPU... a buttload of PCs that CAN'T currently do Aero, now CAN.

    But at what performance cost. If we are talking about the whole "Vista Capable" debacle, aren't we talking about low spec machines that coughed and wheezed when running the low-end version of the OS. Great, lets add 3D rendering to the processor load on those machines.

    I like the idea of rendering the graphics in the CPU rather than an expensive accelerator card for one-off situations, as long as that feature can be turned off. But then, I'm not a gamer, and I'm not into all the eye-candy. If I were a gamer or into eye candy, there's no way this side of hell that I would want to render the graphics in the CPU. I would get the best video card money could buy.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 30, 2008 @06:13AM (#25932045)

    "an eight-core Core i7 system managed an average frame rate of 7.36fps, compared with 5.17fps from Intel's DirectX 10 integrated graphics"

    So a $5 single cheap chip runs crysis slower than an 8-core $1000 200W behemoth CPU?

    Wow. Cheap affordable 3D is here!!!

    FFS.

  • by Whiteox (919863) <htcstech@gmai l . c om> on Sunday November 30, 2008 @07:21AM (#25932339) Journal

    Well I re-read Gutmann and the blogs and I feel a bit ignorant. When I read it a few years ago, I was by his thoroughness, especially with the driver issues..
    How things change.

  • by jonaskoelker (922170) <jonaskoelker&gnu,org> on Sunday November 30, 2008 @07:48AM (#25932455) Homepage

    be able to run Aero. Running Crysis was just a way of demonstrating the capability.

    I think running Aero at would be a better way to demonstrate that capability.

  • by Bert64 (520050) <(bert) (at) (slashdot.firenzee.com)> on Sunday November 30, 2008 @08:19AM (#25932583) Homepage

    And if the CPU is pegged rendering the GUI, what effect is this going to have on whatever the user is actually trying to do?

  • DirectX is middleware between the hardware and software, there's no reason you couldn't implement the frontend side of things, regardless of how it's actually handled on the back end... Just look at wine.

  • Re:Oh boy. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Spy der Mann (805235) <spydermann.slash ... m ['ail' in gap]> on Sunday November 30, 2008 @09:36AM (#25933039) Homepage Journal

    I had been always confused by software advertising (especially Microsoft's). When they say it (i.e. a new version of Windows) would run faster than previous versions, I thought: "Hey! This will work great on my old computer!" - until I saw that the product requirements included the next generation of CPUs. WTF?

    Granted, it may be for some of the new CPU instructions that eliminated latency, but still, I felt kinda deceived.

  • by nxtw (866177) on Sunday November 30, 2008 @10:51AM (#25933485)

    Except the integrated graphics on a bunch of 'Vista Capable' laptops DON'T do DirectX10 or Aero... but if a patch to Vista (or Windows 7) will get Aero working on directX10 on the CPU... a buttload of PCs that CAN'T currently do Aero, now CAN.

    Aero does not require DirectX 10 [wikipedia.org]; it only needs DirectX 9 with the right features, enough memory, and a suitable driver.

    How many "Vista Capable" laptops aren't Aero-compatible? The Intel 945GM chipset runs Aero, and it began shipping in January 2006 (a year before Vista came out.) Any Intel Mac meets the hardware requirements to run Aero.

    I suppose there could have been some 915GM laptops sold with Vista, or perhaps laptops with the 945GM that had less than 1024MB of RAM.

  • Re:Oh boy. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by modmans2ndcoming (929661) on Sunday November 30, 2008 @11:10AM (#25933603)

    Perhaps if you would try some cognition before you type, this is more about running the interface graphics than it is about gaming graphics.

  • by ceoyoyo (59147) on Sunday November 30, 2008 @12:51PM (#25934349)

    No no, see, now when Windows 7 requires video cards that nobody has but MS puts Windows 7 Ready stickers on all of the new computers anyway, when people say "my Windows 7 Ready computer won't run Windows 7!" MS can point out that yes, it does. Any version of Windows 7. Sure, it takes ten minutes to draw a menu, but it runs!

  • Re:Oh boy. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by supernova_hq (1014429) on Sunday November 30, 2008 @02:43PM (#25935555)
    In every quake (except 4), all hit areas are equal.
    Please hand over your geek card.
  • by SgtChaireBourne (457691) on Sunday November 30, 2008 @02:57PM (#25935671) Homepage

    Choose your "experts" carefully.

    I'll take an expert over a pay-for-say MS "expert" any day. Facts happen to run against MS, get over it. That's why the marketing firms they hire come down so hard on reviewers, evaluators and benchmarkers.

    If you want to get down to the bottom of some of the many, many problems with MS Vista, as well as the OpenGL imitation, then see Peter Gutmann's analysis, A Cost Analysis of Windows Vista Content Protection [auckland.ac.nz].

    Running a smear campaign [boycottnovell.com] may or may not annoy the author, but it is the facts he is reporting. You can even read Peter's response [cypherpunks.to] to the MS attack dogs where he addresses their tactics as well as emphasizes some of the points they chose to skip over.

    MS has a long history of manufacturing abuse of not just critics but also critical data. Money spend on MS products goes into funding unethical, anti-competitive, and, in some cases, illegal activity. Even helping keep the monopoly going, whether intentionally or unintentionally, by not supporting open formats or protocols allows the malfeasance continued funding.

  • Re:Oh boy. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by oakgrove (845019) on Sunday November 30, 2008 @05:09PM (#25936813)
    While I understand what you are thinking, here is what's really going on. When Ubuntu was loaded on this thing, actual programs were chewing up that 100 MB I was talking about. And since, it had 192 MB of RAM, there were 92-ish left over for caching. Which, of course, Ubuntu was using. When I would start Firefox, and open a few tabs, the computer would reclaim all of that cache and more thus the swapping.

    With Arch installed, according to free, there are 17 MB being used by actual programs at the desktop with no extra programs being started by me. The other 175 are, of course, being used for cache. With Firefox going, 51 MB of RAM would be used. The rest being available, and being used, for cache. I get how this cache thing works. I understand that you want as much in cache as possible. I'm not using DOS. These are modern operating systems and that's how they work. I'm not saying "ZOMGWTF WHERE'S MAh RAMS!"

    Here is the crux of the matter. All things being equal, you still want the lightest footprint OS as it leaves more left over for cache. Case in point, Arch loads programs faster than Ubuntu on my machine. A lot of that has to do with the fact that there is more RAM left over for it to cache to. As far as Vista and XP are concerned, I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that the caching system/algorithm in Vista is better than the one for XP so although Vista itself may use up 400MB, leaving the other 612 MB in a 1 Gig system for caching, it still starts programs better than what you would get from the 900 MB that would be left over on the same system after a base install of XP. Of course, this leads us to one of the crucial differences between open and closed source OS's. Wouldn't it be great to just use the Vista caching system in XP? You could have the speed advantage of XP with the latency advantage of Vista. Only problem is, nobody except Microsoft is privy to the underlying code necessary to make backporting non-trivial Vista features to XP possible. With FOSS, this isn't the case. I can install a lightweigh fast distro like Arch and still use the latest latency reducing features like preload, for example, of any other version of Linux.

    I hope I wasn't unclear.

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