DirectX 12 Multiadapter will allow PCs to use multiple graphics cards

Rumours that DirectX 12 will allow PC owners to tap into multiple GPUs simultaneously have been confirmed.

Rumours of such a possibility emerged in February, and now Microsoft has confirmed that the API’s Multiadapter feature will use the power found across several graphics cards and even integrated GPUs simultaneously.

Most PC’s will have an integrated graphics processor. These are normally deactivated when a user installs their own dedicated graphics card. But now games built to use DirectX 12 could get a performance boost by adding tapping into this dormant power.

It also opens the door to using Nvidia and AMD cards at the same time, which has until now been an impossibility.

The tech could prove in the long term to be a replacement for Nvidia’s SLI and AMD’s Crossfire which currently allows users to use multiple cards from the same family in unison. Multiadapter (in some configurations, at least) betters on that tech by addressing GPUs individually, assigning each with discrete tasks. Both SLI and Crossfire require the pooling of resources across all cards.

We recognised that most mixed GPU systems in the world were not making the most out of the hardware they had,” Microsoft program manager Andrew Yeung said. So in our quest to maximize performance, we set out to enable separable and contiguous workloads to be executed in parallel on separate GPUs. One such example of separable workloads is postprocessing.

Virtually every game out there makes use of postprocessing to make your favourite games visually impressive; but that postprocessing work doesn’t come free. By offloading some of the postprocessing work to a second GPU, the first GPU is freed up to start on the next frame before it would have otherwise been able to improving your overall framerate.

The fine grained-control over ALL of the hardware in the system offered by DirectX 12 gives game developers the power to use techniques that were simply not possible in DirectX 11. Our Multiadapter demos only scratch the surface of what creative game developers can do now that they have the ability to directly use ALL of the graphics hardware in the system, even if such hardware has different capabilities and is from different manufacturers.”

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