clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Microsoft details graphics hardware acceleration in Windows 8

New, 49 comments

A recent post on Microsoft's Building Windows 8 blog explains how DirectX 11.1 and hardware acceleration improves UI performance and maximizes battery life.

Windows Phone 8
Windows Phone 8

Everyone knows that Windows 8 is launching with DirectX 11.1 and improved hardware acceleration, but if you've ever wondered how these features will actually enhance your user experience, a recent post on Microsoft's Building Windows 8 blog explains the company's complex process. Microsoft is approaching the graphical user interface (GUI) from two perspectives; raw performance and battery life.

Microsoft thinks it can tackle both by implementing a clever, unified graphics subsystem embodied in DirectX 11.1. Windows 8 does this dividing and balancing the process of rendering text, shapes, and images between the CPU and GPU, giving each a role that it can do most efficiently. By splitting up these duties, Microsoft is seeing framerate improvements of up to 336 percent when rendering text, up to 438 percent with simple shapes, and a 40 percent improvement in JPEG rendering.

The company is also touting the consolidation of the programming APIs needed to take advantage of a snappier GUI pipeline into DirectX 11.1. This is likely an effort to attract developers not only to Windows, but to Metro UI where these tweaks will arguably have the highest impact. While Microsoft may be speaking developer language in its post, its intention is to help developers give Windows 8 customers a smooth and fluid user experience. If you're curious about how Windows 8's UI performance has improved over Windows 7, Microsoft's post has many more details and examples.