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Windows 7 goes DirectX 12

DirectX 12 on Windows 7? Am I seeing right?
Yes, you do. With the release of World of
Warcraft Patch 8.1.5, Blizzard made DirectX 12
available with limitations to Windows 7 users.

Wait a minute… Limitations?

Yes, that’s right! While other DirectX versions are all distributed as Redistribution packs you can download and install from the Microsoft site, DirectX 12 for Windows 7 is not available as standalone download. Instead Blizzard has bundled the Package right away into it’s binary package and thus only World of Warcraft can use the actual API. Other games that could theoretically use DirectX 12 are still tied to the usage of Windows 10.

Now you might rant like “Why is Microsoft such a jerk and not just releasing the DirectX 12 Redistribution Pack for Windows 7?”

The reason is obvious. Microsoft halts all support for Windows 7 in 2020 thus making it a security issue in due time. Microsoft clearly wants users to move towards Windows 10 so that they have to concentrate only on one operating system.

Although Windows 7 is still widespread with over 30% coverage worldwide, there has to be an end for it and this end is set at January 14th, 2020. From then onwards, Windows 7 will no longer receive any form of updates and is then officially declared “End Of Life”.

Yes, we sympathize with those who also call a Windows 7 machine their own as our main poster also runs his main things on that OS. It just works as designed, like his old Windows XP machine did. But let’s face it… you can’t stop modernization. And manufacturers more and more stop supporting Windows 7 according to driver updates. So why should Microsoft go further if manufacturers don’t?

But back to the main topic: With World of Warcraft 8.1.5 it is now possible to make use of the DirectX 12 API which allows the game to render with full DirectX 12 command set on Windows 7. This may or may not have advantages depending on your system.

For our main poster’s system there was a slight step-up of a good 25 to 40% speed but most likely that’s because he has 2 TitanX in his system that can now take better advantage of the distributed rendering speed of DirectX 12. For users of Single-GPU systems they may even see a setback in speed. So this is just experimental.

For what is seen, the speed has dramatically improved if your system is ready for it. But for all those keeping their hope up for a DirectX12 Standalone setup package… it just won’t happen!

However maybe other game designers might follow Blizzard and try to implement DirectX 12 support into their games while running Windows 7 while it lasts. Windows 7 seems to be capable of running DirectX 12 so the sole argument “Windows 10 is better because it runs DirectX 12” is just marketing blabla.

It’s nice to see that Blizzard made a step forward and once again has shown what’s possible with some savvy programming and potent hardware and an OS that has been released almost 10 years ago. Just because an OS is old it just doesn’t mean it’s incapable of coping with modern times. XP was a similar candidate and survived for quite some time as it just did what it was supposed to do: Simply Working!

DirectX 12 will be available in the advanced settings page of World of Warcraft System settings which you can access from the Character selection screen. If WoW detects suitable Hardware it’ll offer you to switch to DirectX 12.

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March 15, 2019 Netspark - 1585 posts - Member since: May 9th, 2011 No Comments »

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