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Microsoft preps OpenCL rival for Windows

updated 09:45 am EDT, Wed July 23, 2008

DirectX 11 with GPGPU Tech

Microsoft's next version of DirectX will have its own alternative to the OpenCL standard proposed by Apple, the company revealed yesterday at its GamesFest conference. DirectX 11 will have support for "compute shader technology" that allows modern, more generalized video cards' effects processors to perform tasks other than rendering video, including physics calculations and other chores that would normally be handled by the main system processor.

The technology could help not only games but also media editing and scientific work, which can often use the specific nature of newer graphics hardware to greatly accelerate math by using the video card as a parallel processor. Both AMD and NVIDIA already have video cards which can be used for the tasks and have also converted video chipsets into dedicated workstation processors, including AMD's FireStream series and NVIDIA's Tesla offerings.

However, the new format also potentially challenges the growth of OpenCL. Where Apple's proposed standard will appear first in Mac OS X Snow Leopard but if approved would be available to any operating system, Microsoft's DirectX library will run only within Windows, discouraging support from primarily Windows-focused software developers who hope to implement compute shaders into either games or productivity apps.

The new upgrade should also have support for more modern existing hardware and rendering techinques that haven't been implemented before. DirectX will become multi-core aware to help developers juggle graphics, sound, and other elements between multiple main processors, while the video element will enable tesselation that automatically adds or subtracts geometry detail from objects as the viewer gets close or backs away.

Microsoft hasn't yet set a timetable for the release of DirectX 11, though it will likely require Windows Vista and will be directly backwards compatible with software written for DirectX 10.

By Electronista Staff


  1. dscottbuch

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Sep 2000


    here we go again

    One more time MS tries to stifle open standards with more smoke and mirrors - pre announcing a closed framework. Hopefully developers will not listen and back an open standard.

  1. eddd

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Dec 2001



    hopefully devs are wiser now (or at least more cautious). Hopefully they'll follow id's example and favor open standards

  1. Smurfman

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: May 2001



    In a way I'm glad M$ bucks the open source movement as they do. It's frustrating that they often add complexity and confusion to technology but it's also good because they're only shootin' themselves in the foot. ;-)

    Anything to knock M$ further down the monopoly mountain is good. Like you said, hopefully developers will be wise and not support their proprietary solutions.

  1. winterspan

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Feb 2008


    s**** MS

    Yes, hopefully developers do not adopt this for GPGPU operations.

    Besides, s**** DirectX! DirectX10 is DOA because of bad decisions with regards to Vista. MS specifically screwed everyone on DX10 by trying to force them to upgrade to Vista, and most didn't give in.

    I think devs should just port their existing frameworks to the next-gen version of OpenGL! All the professional applications use it and so do many game developers, why not move ALL the games to OpenGL?

    That way, both devs and users won't ever be screwed again by Microsoft being locked into a closed platform. Apple's OSX and Linux will then become mainstream PC gaming platforms. Either that or they are going to end up having to create BOTH Directx AND OpenGL games in the future when OSX and Linux combined get up to 25-30% marketshare, which no doubt will happen in the next 5 years! Why not just throw down the gauntlet now and tell M$ to get ********

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