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Wednesday, November 04, 2009
 Vista Gets DirectX 11 Support
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Message Text: Microsoft has released an update for Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008, adding support for DirectX 11

Microsoft's "Platform Update for Windows Vista" features a set of runtime libraries which add support for new technologies. Probably the most interesting part of the update for the average user is actually support for DirectX 11.

DirectX 11 adds DirectCompute, which comes in three versions - DirectCompute shader model 4.0, 4.1, and 5.0. The 4.0 version contains features allowing it to be run on most DirectX 10 graphics hardware. The 4.1 version is similar, but for DX 10.1 hardware. The 5.0 version of DirectCompute shaders requires DX11 hardware, and is far more robust.

Until now, only AMD's n Radeon 5000 series of graphics cards support DirectX 11. However, users who wish to run DirectCompute accelerated apps (when available) even on DX10 hardware should apply the update.

Microsoft outilnes the updates as follows:

- Windows Ribbon and Animation Manager Library: contains the Windows Ribbon API, a command framework that enables developers to quickly create rich ribbon experiences in their applications, and the Windows Animation Manager API, an animation framework for managing the scheduling and execution of user interface element animations.
- Windows Graphics, Imaging, and XPS Library: components for developers to leverage the latest advancements in modern graphics technologies for gaming, multimedia, imaging and printing applications. It includes updates to DirectX to support hardware acceleration for 2D, 3D and text based scenarios; DirectCompute for hardware accelerated parallel computing scenarios; and XPS Library for document printing scenarios.
- Windows Automation API: allows accessibility tools and test automations to access Windows user interface in a consistent way across operating system versions.
- Windows Portable Devices Platform: supplies the infrastructure to standardize data transfers between an application and a portable device, such as a mobile phone, digital camera, or portable media player.

Note that the Windows Automation API will also be made available as a separate download for PCs running Windows XP.

For specific details about the Platform Update for Windows Vista as well as the Platform Update for Windows Server 2008, click here.

The Platform Update for Windows Vista is available for free via Windows Update, Windows Server Update Services and the Microsoft Download Center.

Note that the Windows Automation API will also be made available as a separate download for PCs running Windows XP.
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