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Windows Operating Systems Software PC Games (Games)

Real Life DirectX 10 Performance 67

AnandTech has a look at the performance PC gamers can expect see under Windows Vista with DirectX 10. Unfortunately, it isn't pretty. Despite the power of the new 10-compliant graphics cards, the choices made in developing this technology have resulted in a significant gap between what is possible and what is actually obtainable from commercial PC hardware. What's worse, the article starts off by pointing out that much of the shiny effects exclusive to DX10 games would have been possible with DX9, had Microsoft been inclined to develop in that direction. From the article: "[Current] cards are just not powerful enough to enable widespread use of any features that reach beyond the capability of DirectX 9. Even our high-end hardware struggled to keep up in some cases, and the highest resolution we tested was 2.3 megapixels. Pushing the resolution up to 4 MP (with 30" display resolutions of 2560x1600) brings all of our cards to their knees. In short, we really need to see faster hardware before developers can start doing more impressive things with DirectX 10."
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Real Life DirectX 10 Performance

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  • by Kevin143 ( 672873 ) <slashdot.kfischer@com> on Sunday July 08, 2007 @10:53PM (#19795119) Homepage
    I feel so sorry that they can't run the latest games at 2560x1600.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Mex ( 191941 )
      For the money it costs to set up a PC with Windows Vista and a DirectX 10 capable card, yes, I'd feel sorry too.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Pharmboy ( 216950 )
      Then maybe developers will start focusing more on playability and less on eye candy? Anyone?
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by xXBondsXx ( 895786 )
        I've heard this argument thousands of times (especially during arguments about Wii vs. Xbox 360 vs. PS3)

        What people have to realize is that graphics and sound are PART OF THE GAMEPLAY EXPERIENCE. Imagine playing Halo without the soundtrack playing in the background, or riding across the field in Zelda:OoT without the theme music playing. Imagine playing Warcraft III with crappy 2D 600x400 graphics or playing Banjo Kazooie for the N64 in black and white and 3 polygons per model.

        These things would ruin
        • Re: (Score:1, Redundant)

          by Pharmboy ( 216950 )
          By today's standards, TFC has crappy graphics but great gameplay, which is why there are still a couple hundred servers still running it, after 10 years.

          I am not talking about the gaming "experience", I am talking about gameplay: how fluid the controls are, how intuitive the action is, how the game can offer something new each time.

          SimCity 3000 has marginal graphics compared to SimCity 4, but it has better gameplay.
  • That means ... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rrhal ( 88665 ) on Sunday July 08, 2007 @11:02PM (#19795187)
    ... that people who bought DX10 cards so that in the future they will be able to play DX10 games when they come out have basically been sold a "Pig in a Poke". As its currently constituted DX-10 pretty much only serves as a device to obsolete Windows XP in favor of Windows Vista.

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by zakeria ( 1031430 )
      and next we'll all find out that our new machines we all ran out and bought are also too slow to run Vista.. oh wait "we already know that"?
    • This is true basically no matter what the generation of graphics hardware. Graphics card improve at a much greater rate than other hardware. You really can't buy hardware as a "future proofing" deal. Whatever you bought, it'll be outdated fairly soon. As for these current games I'm guessing it is a combination of bad support in games and drivers that aren't optimised for DX. Regardless, when DX10 games start being mainstream (not for a while yet I'm betting, given the number of XP systems and non-DX10 cards
    • Kinda, but . . (Score:3, Insightful)

      by vecctor ( 935163 )

      that people who bought DX10 cards so that in the future they will be able to play DX10 games when they come out have basically been sold a "Pig in a Poke".

      You are correct IF that is the only reason they bought them.

      But the fact is, anyone who bought an 8800 of any variety (the "dx10 cards") bought the fastest DX9 card on the market for use with any game they wanted at the time of purchase. It spanked the next card down, and didn't carry any more of a price premium than any other high end card in the history of discrete graphics (indeed, it carried less of a premium if you looked at price/performance). It was a fast card "right then" regardless of DX10. They

    • You bought the 'DX10' card in order to have faster performance under XP? XP doesn't just become obsolte because Microsoft dictates that. I'm not going to change to vista for the next decade.
  • by complete loony ( 663508 ) <{Jeremy.Lakeman} {at} {}> on Sunday July 08, 2007 @11:07PM (#19795217)
    If the HL2 / Doom3 generation of games taught us anything. Don't believe the hype. Don't upgrade your computer for a game you don't have yet. By the time there's something interesting that requires you to upgrade, it will cost less to do so, and probably perform better.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by MSRedfox ( 1043112 )
      That's so true, and it is always the case. I remember when DirectX 9 came out. The first gen cards were great at running old directX 8 games, but you had to turn the resolution way down to get even so-so frame rates with DirectX 9 titles. And now we've got cards that can pound the living hell out of DirectX 9 games. People have gotten spoiled with super high resolutions. It'll take a gen or two of graphics cards to really rock the DirectX 10 scene. It's nothing new, it happens every time. People need
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by suv4x4 ( 956391 )
      If the HL2 / Doom3 generation of games taught us anything. Don't believe the hype. Don't upgrade your computer for a game you don't have yet. By the time there's something interesting that requires you to upgrade, it will cost less to do so, and probably perform better.

      I've played both games on a GeForce 4 MX (the minimum supported card: no shaders, slower than GeForce 3), and honestly it was playable, even though not at very high settings.

      Later on when I got a faster GeForce with a bazillion of pipelines a
      • Later on when I got a faster GeForce with a bazillion of pipelines and the latest shaders, I tried the games again. Yea, they looked better, some interesting effects here and there, but nothing major.

        While we're giving anecdotal evidence... When I bought Oblivion I played it on an (unsupported) GeForce 4 Ti4600. I had to use the Oldblivion hack just to get it to run, disabling shaders and running at the lowest possible settings.

        About a year later I played again with a C2D and a 7600 GT. It's like a complete

        • by suv4x4 ( 956391 )
          While I trust you about that, you had to HACK the game to make it run (and probably destroy lots of things in the proces). My card was the minimum supported card, but it was supported, no hacks. Despite it was a $30 low end card, I stay by my words that it worked fine.
    • by rhyder128k ( 1051042 ) on Monday July 09, 2007 @03:42AM (#19797143) Homepage
      Don't knock it. There's always someone who's willing to be the early adopter to no advantage. That guy, and others like him, make things affordable for the rest of us. The early adopter is usually happy with the situation and so should we be.
    • So true, should be a +5 not +4

      Don't buy a quad core for 266$ US in July 22n'd after the price drops, by the time a game ACTUALLY needs or uses it, a quad core will be 80$ US and faster.......

      Same with a 500 / 600/ 700$ DX10 card, you want to play DX10 games fast? by the time the games come out we'll have the GF8900 not the 8800 (for example)

      etc etc etc
      Hell, Carmack demo'd Doom 3 on the GF3 with it's amazing shaders! - what actual cards ended up extensively using shaders and looking good / fast in Doom 3?
    • For whatever else they are or are not, the 8800s are rocking gaming card for DX 9 games. If you have a large flat panel, they'll do a good job of playing all the current games in a high rez on it at a high detail. Will they do well for DirectX 10 games? Who knows, way to early to say as we are only seeing the very first titles. There could be problems with the games, problems with the drivers or both. Really, we won't know how well the do DX10 until later when it is more mainstream. However, that's not real
  • by JF ( 18696 ) on Sunday July 08, 2007 @11:07PM (#19795223)
    Some interesting points in the article, but I'm unsure at how running tests that are hyper bandwidth-bottlenecked is any indication of the performance of DX10 features.

    "OMG I can't push 30498230894384023984 pixels/sec through my DX10 card, DX10 sucks."
    • by fbjon ( 692006 )
      Assuming 60 fps, your 823 248 725 x 617 436 544 screen intrigues me, and I would like to subscribe to your newsletter.
  • Shadowrun (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Renraku ( 518261 ) on Sunday July 08, 2007 @11:21PM (#19795333) Homepage
    Shadowrun is a nice example. It can be played on Windows XP with a hack.

    According to Microsoft, its simply not possible as the XP version is still under development. It comes as no big surprise that DX9 can do 90% of what DX10 can do, especially since DX10 is Vista-only. Its just another attempt to push an operating system that very few people want. I'm sure I'll end up with a copy of it in a few years, but very few people actually want it right now.

    No developer outside of Microsoft in their right mind would make a Vista-only game right now. It would be like releasing some Virutal Boy games.
  • "The AMD Radeon HD 2900 XT clearly outperforms the GeForce 8800 GTS here. At the low end, none of our cards are playable under any option the Call of Juarez benchmark presents. While all the numbers shown here are with large shadow maps and high quality shadows, even without these features, the 2400 XT only posted about 10 fps at 1024x768. We didn't bother to test it against the rest of our cards because it just couldn't stack up." In this day and age who wants to go from 60 FPS by upgrading down to 10 FPS
  • At this point (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Monday July 09, 2007 @12:30AM (#19795897)
    I don't think it is really useful to look at. DirectX 10 is brand new on the market so who knows how well optimised everything is? The drivers for the cards could very well need work. If you were a graphics can company what would you spend your time on: DirectX 9 which is what almost every game runs on, or DirectX 10 which there's maybe 3 game patches for? Also the games themselves may need improvements. Just because they've ported to DirectX 10, doesn't mean they did a good job of it. Any one remember the original Unreal Tournament? At its heart it was a Glide game and it just never ran as well on GL or DirectX, particularly DirectX. UT2003 was DX at its heart and ran smoking fast. It was to the point that on good DX hardware UT2003 could run faster than its predecessor, despite higher visual detail.

    At this point DirectX 10 is more or less just a plaything. Cards are out supporting it, since hardware is almost always ahead of software (harder to develop for something that doesn't exist), but it is brand new and few systems support it (only systems running Vista using teh very newest graphics hardware). IT is at this point a curiosity for the most part. It's not really useful to start talking about performance until there's been a good deal more time for people to work with it, including making games designed for it, not ported to it.
  • Current top cards (2900 and 8800) already use a lot of power, something like 200W or even more. They require powerful cooling, but it seems that every new graphics card generation tends to use a lot more power than the previous one. It's likely that a better manufacturing process (45nm?) will lower the power consumption slightly, but that's probably going to be offset by higher clocks to get it to the same thermal envelope.

    What's the future of the cards' successors like? How long before graphics cards are g
    • by Bert64 ( 520050 )
      Well, those of us who don't want to play the latest games in the highest resolutions, that is the majority of people...
      Someone will come out with lower powered budget versions.
      • Yes, that is true, there are always low-power cards (almost completely useless for gaming, though).

        But I'm more interested in what's going to happen on the high-end and how that's going to work out. I can (unfortunately) imagine 400W "cards" for DirectX 11 :/
        • by Bert64 ( 520050 )
          Well, lower powered cards are usually more than capable of playing older games.
          And there's plenty of benefits to having older games nowadays. New games are often incredibly buggy, and receive several updates over their lifespan. If you play older games, then those updates have already happened so your experience of the game won't be so buggy as the early adopters.
          Plus, there are more likely to be nocd cracks available, so you don't have to deal with keeping physical media around all the time.
          And finally, ol
  • by NateE ( 247273 ) on Monday July 09, 2007 @01:17AM (#19796229)
    The games that Anand benchmarked with were not written from the ground up for DirectX 10. Company of Heroes was DX9 until the developers were nice enough to release a patch. Some developers have said that good DX10 performance requires writing from the ground up for DX10. Since DX10 is so different from DX9, I don't find this difficult to believe.

    As soon as NVidia releases certified drivers for doing SLI in Vista. The problem with driving 30" LCDs will disappear.

    People are forgetting how many years it takes to create a new AAA game title and the fact that game developers still have very little reason to be attracted to Vista. What with it's small installed base and hardware requirements for consumers.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      DirectX 10 isn't so different from DirectX 9, it's basically DirectX 9 without the fixed function pipeline, or in other words you have to use shaders for everything and can't rely on the driver doing even the most basic of texturing &co outside of shaders.

      This makes the pipeline cleaner than that of DirectX 9 and is supposed to give a performance increase when you're dealing with vast numbers of objects.

      They've also added geometry shaders which may be useful for some games and can't be done in directx 9
  • by brucmack ( 572780 ) on Monday July 09, 2007 @04:52AM (#19797589)
    Personally, the most interesting feature of DX10 is the hardware virtualization, so programs can share the card. Should make it possible to play a game on one monitor while playing a movie on another, for example. Presumably these cards wouldn't have a problem with this...
    • Personally, the most interesting feature of DX10 is the hardware virtualization, so programs can share the card. Should make it possible to play a game on one monitor while playing a movie on another, for example. Presumably these cards wouldn't have a problem with this...

      Decent graphics cards have been able to do this for ages. My Radeon X1900XT can do this just fine while playing games in Windows XP, and I play games at 1650x1050 with max settings and 4xAA 8xAF, and I still have plenty of "juice" left ove

      • That's interesting, but I'd like to know whether you're watching videos that make use of the hardware acceleration features of your video card or not.

        I can watch a video downloaded from the net in XVid on my HDTV whilst playing a game on my monitor, as I expect the game is handled by one core of my CPU and the video by the other. The graphics card isn't really doing much work for the video other than outputting the signal on one of the DVI ports (there's probably a separate chip for this per port, but I'm
    • I only hope that there is DRM virtualization so that your digital rights can be managed on both monitors simultaneously. Go progress!
    • by zolaar ( 764683 )

      Should make it possible to play a game on one monitor while playing a movie on another, for example

      Amen, brotha. It's about freaking time!

      If I had a dollar for every time I have been lurking through some part of town in Thief3 -- creeping through the shadows, pickpocketing the locals, trimming Hammerites' nosehairs with broadheads at 100 yards, jumping out of my skin at even the most barely audible footstep, the usual -- and thought to myself, "Hey, I am like totally in the mood for some Top Gun. I've lost

  • by Captain_Chaos ( 103843 ) on Monday July 09, 2007 @12:54PM (#19802277)

    ... a significant gap between what is possible and what is actually obtainable ...
    What's the difference between "possible" and "actually obtainable"?
    • by cswiger ( 63672 )

      What's the difference between "possible" and "actually obtainable"?

      Good question. :-)

      The former tends to mean what is doable in theory or in practice, but may not correspond to any actual realistic situation. For example, if you stuff nothing but data down the PCI (AGP, PCIe, whatever) bus, you get a rate which is about the bandwidth of the underlying bus, but in reality, you have to do some setup and so forth (ie, configure the target address and size for a DMA transfer) before blasting data bits, and other PCI devices also get to get some bus cycles, so the actually

  • Harf. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by stonecypher ( 118140 ) <stonecypher@[ ] ['gma' in gap]> on Monday July 09, 2007 @01:08PM (#19802471) Homepage Journal
    The reason Microsoft couldn't reasonably do Aero under DirectX9 has to do with baselines. One of the biggest advantages of DirectX 10 has less to do with what it is and more to do with what it isn't: old. Microsoft needed a way to do two things: 1) make sure that people weren't trying to run Aero on 386es, and 2) a simply way to tell non-technical people whether or not their hardware was up to modern spec.

    Does DirectX9 have all the capabilities needed to run something like Aero? Yes, but DirectX9 also runs on systems which would drag under the demands of something like Aero. Microsoft has a vested interest in preventing their new software from running on hardware which will struggle with Aero, because then there'll be a lot of people complaining about how (insert the bad side of slow Aero here.)

    DirectX10 has a much higher minimum bar to entry. If your stuff is DirectX10 ready, it's almost certainly Aero ready. That's why they made the requirement - they didn't want old hardware making their shiny new product look like crap. (That it forces new hardware purchase, which gets OEMs and VARs to support the new OS, certainly helps.)

    If you look at it from a business perspective at the same time that you look at it from a technical and an "oh god I have to deal with stupid users" perspective, you'll start to see why just using the DirectX name to set the new low watermark was actually a relatively simple way for Microsoft to flatten several problems at once.
  • You can either use GL which is supported on virtually every platform there is, or you can go with DX10 thus limiting your market to Vista only while simultaneously taking a performance penalty... Since nobody in the right mind would go for the latter option I guess we can expect various windows bugs which adversely affect OpenGL very soon... rolled out as critical security updates of course...

Experience varies directly with equipment ruined.