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DirectX 10 Changes the Way We Look at Hardware

Until recently, modern graphics cards—even in the Xbox 360—were based on DirectX 9.0c. In the early stages of Vista, Microsoft made clear that it would outfit the new operating system with a major rewrite of the DirectX API. Initially, the new API was called "DirectX Next" or "Windows Graphics Foundation," but the Redmond folks eventually decided to go back to the older naming conventions and simply call it DirectX 10 (DX10). But the differences between DirectX 9 and 10 are much more significant than, say, the update from DX8 to DX9. DirectX 10 will of course "fix" a couple of problems, add some minor features, and enhance performance. More importantly, however, a huge part of the DX source code has been rewritten. This new API will radically change the graphics of future computer games, and will leave high-end gaming consoles such as the Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 in the dust. Additionally, DX10 has a much stricter hardware requirement: In contrast to DX9 hardware, all of the next-generation DX10 cards will have exactly the same features. In the past, DX9 wasn’t just DX9, since a couple of manufacturers added new features here and there—a fact that caused a lot of headaches for game developers because they had to adjust their titles to accommodate the products of different vendors. So the only difference of DirectX 10 graphic cards will be performance—not features.

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