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Friday, August 15, 2014
Intel, Microsoft Tout DirectX 12's Power Saving Features

Microsoft's upcoming DirectX 12 API will add performance and power saving features to devices that handle graphics, the company says.

DirectX is Microsoft’s application programming interface that connects the operating system and applications to any PC graphics hardware. Other proprietary solutions inlcude AMD’s Mantle.

In a demonstration at this week’s SIGGRAPH show in Los Angeles, both Intel and Microsoft showed off a demonstration running on top of the Microsoft Surface Pro 3, powered by a low-power version Haswell Core processor. When flipping the rendering engine from DirectX 11 to DirectX 12, the power consumed by the system dropped by 50 percent.

Intel showed off an application running on the Surface Pro 3 and its Intel HD4400 graphics chip, rendering a scene of 50,000 fully asteroids tumbling through space. The application switched between using the DirectX 11 and DirectX 12 APIs at the tap of a button.

"Like the Surface Pro 3, all devices which support DirectX 12 can benefit from DirectX 12 reduced power consumption, either in the form of longer battery life, increased performance, or some combination of the two," Andrew Yeung, a Microsoft program manager, wrote in a blog post.

"The power savings are coming directly from the efficiency improvements that inherently come with using the DirectX 12 API," Yeung added. "Lower level access to the hardware than ever before allows applications to significantly improve their CPU utilization, enabling them to draw extremely complex scenes at a significantly reduced energy cost."

Microsoft hopes to have a DirectX 12 preview out sometime before the formal release.

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