DirectX 11 – Is it Worth Upgrading?

Along with Windows 7 to ship this October, Microsoft will officially launch its latest version of DirectX as well. Not only developed for Windows 7, DirectX 11 can also be used by Vista users with Service Pack 2 installed. DirectX 11 is claimed to bring lots of benefits and new features named Direct Compute (GPGPU) and Tesselation. But unfortunately for XP users, DirectX 11 will not be supported on this old yet popular OS anymore.

To fully utilize all of this latest DirectX functions, you need to own a DirectX 11 based graphic card. AMD becomes the first vendor to introduce its new line up Radeon 5800 series. nVIDIA will be a bit late this time, it’s reported nVIDIA is not ready yet to offer its GT300 series till first quarter in 2010. For you that still use DirectX 10 or 10.1 cards, you can still reap some benefits from DirectX 11 since it’s backward compatible with older version. But.. the question: Is really DirectX 11 worth waiting for or is it just another marketing hype?

There are 2 main features promised by DirectX 11:

1. Tesselation
– It enables games developers to create smoother, less blocky and more organic looking objects in games. As most anticipated feature, it promises to create natural objects without sacrificing gaming performance.

2. Direct Compute (GPGPU)
– It allows games programmers to treat the GPU in a much less graphics-oriented way; indeed, they can almost treat it like a highly parallel CPU. dx11 feature level 10.0 download By using this feature, GPU will be used more frequently to run tasks faster than CPU is capable of. So, your GPU will be not used solely for gaming purpose only.

Since DirectX 11 is very new, there is still no game available to prove above theories at this time. But, unlike DirectX 10 which got very slow adoption, DirectX 11 have faster supported titles to benefit this latest technology like: Dirt 2, Stalker: Call of Pripyat, BattleForge, Alien vs Predator, Crysis 2, Battlefield: Bad Company 2 etc.

Stalker: COP has even presented its first images comparison between DirectX 11 vs DirectX 10.

So, answering the question regarding worthy or not to upgrade to DirectX 11 graphic card, the answer would be: Depends. In my opinion, if you already got Radeon 4800 series or nVIDIA GT200 series, you might just stick to your current card and wait till DirectX 11 becomes standard for most PC games developers. For information, most current games are multi-platform ones and still developed using old DirectX 9.0 c. Yep… that popular X360 and PS3 still use DirectX 9 rendering.

Besides that, these Radeon 4000 and nVIDIA GT200 series are still powerful enough to run all of the hottest games out there. It’d be better to wait for the second generation of DirectX 11 cards and price becomes more stable. Or you can delay your purchase at current time and see what competitor (nVIDIA) offers later.
But if you have an old card and already struggle to run new games, I’d suggest a new DirectX 11 card as your best bet since it’s more future proof and already includes all of the latest technologies used at least 3 to 4 years from now.