DirectX stifling PC performance, says AMD

Friday, 18 March 2011 13:38 GMT By Stephany Nunneley

Technology company AMD believes that to unlock the full potential of current PC hardware, it would be best to circumnavigate DirectX.

According to the firm’s developer relations manager Richard Huddy, with DirectX, PC hardware is being restrained by prioritizing console development.

“It’s funny,” he told “We often have at least ten times as much horsepower as an Xbox 360 or a PS3 in a high-end graphics card, yet it’s very clear that the games don’t look ten times as good.

“To a significant extent, that’s because, one way or another, for good reasons and bad – mostly good, DirectX is getting in the way,” adding that many developers wish the application programming interface would just “go away.”

“Being able to have total control over the machine, which is what the very best games developers want, by giving you access to the hardware at the very low level, you give games developers a chance to innovate, and that’s going to put pressure on Microsoft – no doubt at all,” said Huddy.

Huddy goes on to say it was hoped that the introduction of shaders in 2002 would create more “visual variety in games,” but instead shaders are used in the most obvious way.

“That means that they’ve used shaders to converge visually, and lots of games have the same kind of look and feel to them these days on the PC,” he said.

A standard 3D API supposedly ensures that code can run on many different hardware options as possible, but Huddy believes access to shader tools is both a benefit and a liability.

While some of the more vocal developers want to do away with the DX tech, Introversion’s Chris Delay doesn’t: “I don’t want anything to do with that, but presumably it depends on what you’re developing. If you’re making Crysis 3 or something like that, then it may be exactly what you want.”



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  1. Hunam

    Devs can always use Open GL if they want can’t they?

    #1 4 years ago
  2. StolenGlory

    Open GL > DirectX.

    #2 4 years ago
  3. OlderGamer

    “According to the firm’s developer relations manager Richard Huddy, with DirectX, PC hardware is being restrained by prioritizing console development.”

    100% agree with that.

    However the other side of the coin is that by having a standard like DX and having it play sandbag a bit, is that it keep PC gaming prices from rocketing out of control(system specwise).

    The one thing consoles do get right is keeping a uniform standard and minimizing investment into that hardware(unless it breaks frequently – ala xb360s).

    But no doubt DX is aimed at keeping consoles viable.

    #3 4 years ago
  4. freedoms_stain

    my main beef with Direct X is that it puts Microsoft in the driving seat. If it gets thrown out the window we open the door for future games to be compatible with ANY operating system with very little work on the developers part. Honestly, it freakin sucks that PC gamers are more or less chained to Windows.

    I spent over a year dual booting XP and Ubuntu, something like 2007-2009, and I loved Ubuntu, so much better than XP then, and so much better than Win7 now, but when I had the urge to PC game again it was a chore booting between the two systems, and although you can get games to run on Ubuntu, it tends to be older ones that run best, and if you want to play something new you’re forced back onto Windows – that should not be and it doesn’t even have to be.

    #4 4 years ago
  5. Kalain


    If you look at games which are only on PC they can pull some fantastic graphics. When you introduce multiplatform into the equation then you have to start to cater for the lowest common denominator. For instance, the UE3 engine has to cater for the PS3 Nvidia 7 architecture, which is ancient now. Adding DX11 components will do some good, but when you still have to cater for technology that is out of date something has to give, and that is PC performance.

    As for OpenGL, yeah. Its the same as Direct X, so it will get in the way sa well.

    DX/OGL are designed to provide a single set of API’s that could run on as many hardware devices as possible. If these were abandoned then PC games would only run for either AMD or Nvidia, since they would bring about their own ideas on API. DX/OGL binds so that devs don’t need to go deep down.

    Consoles have the advantage that they only have 1 GPU to work with, and it will never be upgraded until the next console cycle.

    SO, until Nvidia and AMD can get together and create a standard set of instructions which will run on either hardware, then the PC will have to live with DX/OGL.

    The guy from AMD is just mixing tech and marketing so people will look towards AMD for a low level solution.

    #5 4 years ago
  6. Hunam


    You mean it’d be like the old days of PC gaming where you’d have to choose between DX, OGL, Glide, Software etc depending on your PC if that AMD guy had his way? Would seem like a lot more effort to devs that could be better used.

    #6 4 years ago
  7. RandomTiger

    “If it gets thrown out the window we open the door for future games to be compatible with ANY operating system with very little work on the developers part.”

    #4 Sorry this is total nonsense, cross platform development that gets the most out of the power of all platforms is very difficult and requires a lot work. Its bad enough just developing on one OS with so many different potential hardware setups.

    Cross platform solutions have to either make big architectural compromises which make them inefficient or they have to have lots of customised code for each platform making them expensive and time consuming to maintain.

    Its not perfect, and the dropping of XP compatibility still seems like a mistake to me, but DirectX has been a total blessing to the games industry.

    #7 4 years ago
  8. Ireland Michael

    “We often have at least ten times as much horsepower as an Xbox 360 or a PS3 in a high-end graphics card,”

    Try convincing a PS3 fan that this is true, and watch as the blood vessels in their neck start to visibly expand…

    #8 4 years ago
  9. OlderGamer

    @8 True tho. But your right.

    #9 4 years ago
  10. RandomTiger

    Off the top of my head, some other reasons for a PC game not to “look ten times as good” as any console game

    1. The game is a console port
    2. The game is written on with an old engine that isn’t efficient any more
    3. The developers were on a short schedule and didn’t get a chance to optimise it as much as they could of
    4. The game developers focused on gameplay rather than graphics

    We are also at the point of diminishing returns, ten times the processing power does not equate to something looking ten times as good. In the old days you could just increase the texture resolution and model detail, that still a factor but its not that simple any more.

    #10 4 years ago
  11. spiderLAW

    Really Michael. Im considered a PS3 fan. I can easily understand that.
    I think you mean, “Try convincing a blind and follish juvenile PS3 fan.”
    lol. Float like a Butterfly, Sting like a bee.

    #11 4 years ago
  12. Crysis

    @8, Little hard to compare different architectures, especially an architecture dedicated to one task, but it’ll be interesting to compare the PS3′s processor with some more traditional pc processors in raw power, no doubt in my mind that a high end PC processor will dominate.
    The GPU is probably as weak as a card from Nvidia’s GeForce 7 Series.

    #12 4 years ago
  13. spiderLAW

    “3. The developers were on a short schedule and didn’t get a chance to optimise it as much as they could Have”
    Or the developers suck entirely.
    Perfect example: Homefront. On max settings the game looks like garbage/rubbish, even compared to older games like COD3. Go and look up Homefront’s MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS and you will be like “WTF, REALLYS!!! why so much!!??”

    #13 4 years ago
  14. Ireland Michael

    @11 You’re an exception, not the rule.

    #14 4 years ago
  15. spiderLAW

    Depends on the build of the processors. Cell processor built for direct CPU tasking can be uber powerful. As is though, your assumption would be correct.

    I know. I just wish it were the other way around. Pity…
    I just try to be optimistic.

    #15 4 years ago
  16. Craymen Edge

    I don’t understand, they’re not forced to use DX are they? So why put their money where their mouth is?

    They’d have to use another API or re-invent the wheel and work it all out for themselves at a hardware level, or are they prevented from reaching this stuff?

    #16 4 years ago
  17. DeathJynx

    @14 I think TEA is the only guy under that rule…

    #17 4 years ago
  18. xxJPRACERxx

    Cell CPU is bad for general purpose code. I don’t even think it support branch prediction and out of order execution, but I’m not sure.

    About DX, it would be awesome if nVidia and AMD/ATI would join force to create a new gfx API. They are too dependent of Microsoft.

    Also, since consoles are eating a portion of GPU sales on PC, they should try to create incitatives for devs to create on PC.

    #18 4 years ago
  19. Lounds

    if Nvidia and AMD don’t shake hands soon eventually they will lose faith in the PC community and slowly but surly people will adapt to console gaming, heck it only take for a game devloper for a console to add support for keyboard and mouse (or get that eagle eye converter) and then you could get PC gamers on your side. The thing about PC gameing is Inovation something new and cool, something that when you look at it it almost brings a tear to you eye, like the first time you play Crysis in Very high on DX10.

    Don’t AMD make more money on Radeon than there CPU’s?

    #19 4 years ago
  20. freedoms_stain

    @7, er, no.

    All games really need is a channel to the hardware. This is why Windows games can be made to run on Linux without needing a true Windows emulator, just a framework that lets the game be happy that x is on a fake C drive and Y is in a fake registry and wherever and whatever else it expects things to be.

    DX is a channel to the hardware that was designed for Windows. The hardware is the important part, so why can’t we use tools that were designed to work at a basic level with the hardware instead of being OS specific?

    #20 4 years ago
  21. xxJPRACERxx

    I don’t know about sales number but I do know less and less people are buying their cards because no games can take advantage of them. They really need to start doing something soon.

    #21 4 years ago
  22. Crysis

    Well once they stop kissing Microsoft’s a$$, Linux could become a true gaming platform, I’d really like to see Linux take off, I’ve tried Ubuntu & it’s pretty simple, but some simple things that’s easy on Windows suddenly become a chore, such as downloading & installing programs, you need a guide to learn how to do every simple thing all over again.
    I’d actually like to see some Linux tablets, they could have some serious potential (yes I know Android is a mod of Linux & I wouldn’t be surprised if iOS is a distant relative too) but I mean proper a Linux OS.

    #22 4 years ago
  23. Ireland Michael

    @17 Let’s not forget that revolutionary morphological anti-aliasing that the PS3 uses…


    #23 4 years ago
  24. Lounds

    @22 that will never happen

    @23 play KZ3 MLAA is amazing for a console on that game, all other PS3 games use QSAA which is built into the Nvidia chip, MLAA uses the cell, BOoyah

    #24 4 years ago
  25. Ireland Michael

    It’s a rather crap anti-aliasing technique, and nothing else.

    You know what’s impressive? 8x anisotropic filtering with FSAA running on twice the resolution of the average standard HDTV.

    The PS3 is not a super computer. Get over it. It’s rather outdated from a pure spec perspective.

    I love the PS3 for the game it has, but Christ, you PS3 fanboys are the worst. It can’t do anything the PC hasn’t been able to do for *years*. Quit deluding yourself. The PS3′s tech is not that impressive.

    #25 4 years ago
  26. theevilaires

    Holy shit guys the PC can play kick ass games like God of War 3 and Uncharted 2?…..Holy cow what are their names I wanna play games of that caliber on PC…oh wait they don’t have any equivalents like that. Just WOW where you create a little troll character give him a drunken irish accent and unleash him off onto the internet to attract attention because he’s a nobody in reality :D

    Also can some one link me to a program where i can run all my videos in thumbnail view with a 15 sec preview in real time like I can easily do on the PS3.

    #26 4 years ago
  27. spiderLAW

    That comment was good. Until the end. PS3 is impressive tech, especially when it was released. Although, the ideas that were cut from it, simply for the fact that Sony didnt account for cost in the beginning is a no-no on Sony’s end.

    #27 4 years ago
  28. Lounds

    @25 or Michael

    I own and PS3 and PC and if you read what I wrote i clear stated ” KZ3 MLAA is amazing for a console” note the word console.

    #28 4 years ago
  29. Crysis

    I’m assuming that’s a shot @ Michael because you hate him for whatever reason… I know you hate me too but you tend to go out of your way to insult him quite often.

    #29 4 years ago
  30. Ireland Michael

    @26 We’re not talking about the quality of the games, you dumb fuck. We’re talking about the quality of the graphical capabilities.

    Any mid range PC made in the last three years could run either of those games in its sleep. Christ, most entry level PC nowadays have higher specs than the PS3, bar maybe graphics card. And a graphics card equivalent to the PS3′s would cost less than a DS nowadays.

    Though I can think of half a dozen spectacle fighters with better gameplay than God of War, easily…

    #30 4 years ago
  31. theevilaires

    still waiting for that link troll….

    and while you’re at it find me GT5, Heavy Rain, Uncharted 2, or God of War 3 equivalent on PC…..

    PS3 it only does everything you actually need to have fun.

    #31 4 years ago
  32. nolgan

    totally agree

    x360 is holding back development, both for the crappy port to PC, like the seedy port to PS3

    pc nowadays has a much higher raw power and restricted the development DX

    PS3 does NOT use DX with the seedy port of DX do to limit the power of PS3, which is significantly higher than x360, as shown in KZ2, UNCHARTED2 multiplayer, god of war3, GT5 and many others, these being not 100% play3 potential, and neither is 100% kz3 potential play3

    this great difference between multis and exclusive, is that multis are based on dx for x360, and the port of dx cl play3 or open what you used or you can use is very inferiror play3 and the worst .. very inconsistent, tb by the hardware design play3 totally opposed to dx and x360

    This is the worst news for Microsoft, developers move from DX, and start using free software or porpietario his who aporbeche 00% on hard hard pc and x360 play3 and softwaree use is as limited as DX, and so each system use 100% power

    I think some of the worst news for microsoft

    pd: the priority is for x360 DX, DX play3 NOT use OpenGL and is used with OpenCL compatibe not limited to any software or APIs, x360 if you can only use DX

    saw this coming, just watch the crappy pc port, by limitacones dx at some point had to explode in the face to Microsoft, the same goes with seedy port of play3 and limitations of dx to be ported to systems lñibre OpenGL and the creation of powerful and unlimited OpenCL


    pd2: besides the hardware makers, the worst they have done is limited to support only on your hard APIS dx, tb limit the power of the hard, this is the fault of AMD and NVIDIA, and very smart for Microsoft to limit comvercerlos APIS hard to serial dx

    Finally .. I hope DX is gone, in its day was a good idea, now is a liability and a delay

    #32 4 years ago
  33. RandomTiger

    @20 Your Linux example must be working through directX though. Its actually directx (having an interface at that layer) that has made that so easy to do, because its standardised the graphics system.

    “DX is a channel to the hardware that was designed for Windows. The hardware is the important part, so why can’t we use tools that were designed to work at a basic level with the hardware instead of being OS specific?”

    The tools at the basic level are basic and would require us all to write our own custom versions of a lot of stuff DX does for us.

    I see you point on OS compatibility, I was muddling my argument thinking about consoles too, while Linux and Windows hardware is identical its a shame it cant work on both out the box. The way to do that is not to throw the interface layer out but to build it up and give it control over file access etc. Clearly that wont never happen for political reasons.

    #33 4 years ago
  34. theevilaires

    I’m still waiting on a link where the PC can run thumbnail video files in 15 sec loop preview real time by the hundreds like the PS3 can do…..

    #34 4 years ago
  35. Kalain


    Show me the link where a PS3 can show the game you are playing in a thumbnail view, in real time, whilst browsing the internet and checking email at the same time?

    #35 4 years ago
  36. Kalain

    @the Linux game platform comment.

    Linux won’t become a great gaming platform until it becomes one uniform OS instead of seperate different variants each with their own propriety software and graphics API.

    I know from first hand experience that some Red Hat developed games don’t work on Unbuntu and vice versa, due to some graphics calls the OS’s have.

    #36 4 years ago
  37. DaMan

    what number 5 said. exactly.

    and, I’m willing to bet the devs certainly won’t move from using Direct3D.. more so when you have an old man guru like Carmack saying DX > OpenGL..

    also @32 I’m not sure what you’re saying with the
    ‘play3 NOT use OpenGL and is used with OpenCL compatibe not limited to any software or APIs’

    ‘and the port of dx cl play3 ‘

    ‘PS3 does NOT use DX with the seedy port of DX’
    er.. I’m not sure how to interpret all that.. maybe it’s just me or the writing style..
    PS3 is limited in that you can’t use anything apart from OpenGL ES or their proprietary graphics library.. it’s just that despite the outdated rsx they ‘re able to use the cpu to aid it..

    #37 4 years ago
  38. YoungZer0

    @25: I’m disappointed, i thought you’d be above all that.

    #38 4 years ago
  39. theevilaires

    Hey Kaplain you dick head you don’t get it cause you’re fucking stupid. The PC can do a lot of things the PS3 can’t but it was challenged that a PC could do everything a PS3 can and that challenge has yet to be fought so shut your mouth you PC bitch and bow down to the power of CELL!

    #39 4 years ago
  40. bpcgos

    I usually programming my microcontroller using assembly (low-level programming language), it was truly complicated, long coding and difficult to debug. Speed (performance)are not my first concern here (whether I use assembly or C using Winavr) because they seems obsolete in “microcontroller with 12 MHz clock and 256 kb memory” scale. My concern were laid to how much freedom we can get for it, although in processor scale, programming with thousand MHz of clock and many gigabyte of memory to addressed seems like very impossible to do in low-level and will take many years just to finish a game.

    #40 4 years ago
  41. fuchikoma

    Of course they’d have more power with low level access and well written code. DX translates intention to instruction and that has its own overhead.
    So go ahead and make that low-level GPU access game – that runs on ONE video card. It would be like the old days when you’d get a 3dfx card if you wanted 3D acceleration… at all, and if you wanted sound samples, you’d get a Sound Blaster because a Gravis might be as capable or better, but not supported. DX revolutionized that by saying “if you have something capable of this, you can run this game” instead of “requires one of this handful of devices.”

    #41 4 years ago
  42. blackdreamhunk

    I believe it this only more proof that Microsoft is a crooked company and not worth spending money on

    this is why gaming is going down hill.

    #42 4 years ago
  43. aprotosis

    If you did away with the DX API, then you would be left with no instruction to address the specific drivers and hardware of the GPU. You could write you own, sure. An abstract software layer that will go in-between your code and the GPU to translate the instructions… but you know what, that is just another API. Either way you go about it, you need some kind of API to go between your game and the video drivers. It is silly to think otherwise. And DX is really, really good at what it does. Not only does it do a good drop of addressing all the harware capabilities, it is fast. If you want to do a quick graphics application where you don’t really care about performance or you want cross platform PC functions, you can use the OpenGL API. If you want to really make games though, it is a no-brainer to use DX.

    @34 – Windows Explorer can do that. Sheesh. It would take like 30 minutes from a blank project to just make one… and about 2 hours to give it a good GUI. And no, you are barely worth the 30 seconds it took to write this, let alone 30 minutes.

    #43 4 years ago

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