With Windows 10 launching today, the first half of the path to DirectX 12 has at last been laid down. The GPUs have been here for some time, and now Windows, its graphics APIs, and its driver stack are all ready to support DirectX 12 and the advanced graphics capabilities it brings to the table. Now all we need are some DirectX 12 games to complete the rest of the path, and those should start rolling out later in Q4 of this year.

In the meantime we wanted to quickly cover the state of driver support for Windows 10 and DirectX 12, as matters have evolved slightly differently than we were expecting. Around the time of DirectX 12’s announcement, it was announced that AMD’s GCN GPUs, Intel’s Haswell (Gen 7.5) and newer, and NVIDIA’s Fermi and newer GPUs would all support the technology. And while those plans have not changed, we’ve learned this morning that schedules have shifted slightly, and as a result not every GPU slated to get DirectX 12 support will have that support available today.

DirectX 12 Support Status
  Current Status Supported At Launch
AMD GCN 1.2 (285/380/Fury Series) Working Yes
AMD GCN 1.1 (290/260/390/360 Series) Working Yes
AMD GCN 1.0 (7000/200/370 Series) Working Yes
NVIDIA Maxwell 2 (900 Series) Working Yes
NVIDIA Maxwell 1 (750 Series) Working Yes
NVIDIA Kepler (600/700 Series) Working Yes
NVIDIA Fermi (400/500 Series) Not Available Delayed
Intel Haswell (4th Gen Core) Working Yes
Intel Broadwell (5th Gen Core) Working Yes

Earlier this morning NVIDIA posted a knowledge base article entitled “Windows 10 will not load the NVIDIA display driver for my older graphics card in my PC that has multiple graphics cards”, which addresses the use of mixed generations of GPUs in a single system. In the article NVIDIA notes that WDDM 2.0 drivers – being necessary for DirectX 12 support – are not currently available for their Fermi GPUs. Instead Fermi cards are still using WDDM 1.3 drivers, or in other words the driver base for Windows 8.1.

The article itself is focused on the compatibility issues that can occur mixing WDDM 2.0 and WDDM 1.3 products – basically, you can only have one or the other active at once within a single driver since both modes can’t be used at the same time – however the more important outcome of this article is that it confirms that Fermi DirectX 12 support is behind schedule. NVIDIA is still committed to bringing DirectX 12 support to Fermi, however it will not be available for today’s Windows 10 launch, and NVIDIA has not announced a specific availability date (though if I had to take a guess, I’m thinking the next driver branch).

Ultimately what this means is that only NVIDIA’s Kepler and Maxwell GPUs (the 600 series and newer) will support DirectX 12 as of today’s launch. Meanwhile in committing to supporting Fermi, NVIDIA will be offering DirectX 12 for GPUs about a year and a half older than anything AMD or Intel are supporting, so it’s hard to be too cross with them, but it is at least a minor disappointment that NVIDIA hasn’t been able to adhere to their original schedule. From a gaming perspective NVIDIA still has a few months before any retail games are available, so NVIDIA still has time, though in the meantime this means we’re going to have to wait a bit longer to see what DirectX 12 can do for NVIDIA’s oldest lineup of GPUs.

Finally, support for Intel and AMD GPUs has rolled out as expected. AMD’s Catalyst 15.7 driver offers working DirectX 12 support for all GCN 1.0, 1.1, and 1.2 GPUs, including the newly launched Fury series. And Intel’s latest driver sets for Haswell and Broadwell respectively also enable the necessary driver functionality.

Update (7/29)

Speaking of GPUs, all three vendors have released new driver versions today to coincide with the launch of Windows 10. So without further adu:

AMD: Catalyst 15.7.1


NVIDIA: Release 353.62

Windows Update should also be distributing these drivers directly.

Source: NVIDIA (via SH SOTN)

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  • Gigaplex - Wednesday, July 29, 2015 - link

    4800? I didn't think they worked on 8.1 either. AMD dropped support for that series.
  • jimbo2779 - Thursday, July 30, 2015 - link

    I have a 4890 working just fine in 8.1, why would it not work?
  • Gigaplex - Monday, August 3, 2015 - link

    Because AMD dropped support for the 4000 series before they updated their driver installer to support Windows 8.1. Catalyst 13.1 was the last driver to support the 4000 series, and it doesn't install on Windows 8.1. I suspect you did an in-place upgrade from 8 to 8.1, which worked around the driver installer issue.
  • S1ntti - Monday, August 3, 2015 - link

    Those cards happen to be 7-4 years old
  • makerofthegames - Wednesday, July 29, 2015 - link

    What's the status of TeraScale GPUs? My desktop rocks a 6870, and I was planning to use that as my test platform before putting it on my laptop.
  • makerofthegames - Wednesday, July 29, 2015 - link

    I'm aware they won't have DX12 support, but is there otherwise solid driver support?
  • AndrewJacksonZA - Wednesday, July 29, 2015 - link

    As stated above, my 6670 runs perfectly fine on Windows 10.
  • blaktron - Wednesday, July 29, 2015 - link

    Just not in WDDM2 mode or with DX12
  • makerofthegames - Wednesday, July 29, 2015 - link

    Does WDDM2 offer anything of value besides DX12 support? I see some efficiency improvements, but they require hardware features I'm not sure VLIW5 has.

    Is there any point in having WDDM2 drivers for VLIW5/4, besides the compatibility issues with heterogeneous multi-GPU setups? If so, does anyone know if AMD is planning to make them?
  • Cryio - Thursday, July 30, 2015 - link

    WDDM1.2 in W8 and WDDM1.3 in W8.1, at first glance, offer increased smoothness in desktop operation compared to Windows Vista's WDDM 1.0 and W7's 1.1.

    Other than that, newer WDDM offer lower resource usage, better error handling, therefore fewer Blue Screen of Deaths AND it's what basically offers proper hardware acceleration in browsers, media players like Media Player Classic or VLC.

    HD 2000-3000-4000 offers WDDM 1.1 support, so basically Windows 7 level of hardware acceleration and driver model efficiency. HD 5000-6000 offers support for WDDM 1.3 in Windows 8.1, but apparently AMD won't offer them support for WDDM 2.0 for various reasons.

    Point is, any WDDM 1.x GPU driver should work just fine in Windows 10. So even ATI's Pixel Shader 2 GPUs should work just fine on Windows 10.

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