No DX11 multi-threaded drivers yet?

Discussion in '3D Hardware, Software & Output Devices' started by Broken Hope, Sep 29, 2010.

  1. Broken Hope

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    Apparently neither Nvidia or AMD have drivers capable of DX11 multi-threading yet, how are drivers able to be classed as DX11 compliant if they don't support one of the major features of the spec?

    http://www.pcgameshardware.com/aid,...h-Interview-What-DirectX-11-is-good-for/News/

     
  2. Andrew Lauritzen

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    Yeah it's a bit ugly but the spec doesn't "require" you to actually take advantage of the multi-threaded mode... in fact it would be hard to mandate something like that (which is basically just performance). All of the drivers obviously support the APIs for multi-threaded rendering, it's just that internally they serialize it all as if it was done from one thread. :(

    Hopefully we'll get real support soon. I keep testing the DXSDK multi-threaded rendering test application each driver release, but no love yet.
     
  3. Demirug

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    That’s not even the driver. That’s the fallback of the runtime when the driver has no support for it.

    Personal I would not expect any speed improvement at all for this sample. It’s just too simple
     
  4. Psycho

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    But wouldn't most of the gain be on the application <-> runtime interface anyway? You're still able to traverse your scene multithreaded, pushing stuff on the contexts. The driver would have to serialize most of the work (for normal frames not requiring shader compilation, texture loading etc) anyway, as the drawing order is still strict.
     
  5. Andrew Lauritzen

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    Certainly, but from the user's point of view it's all "the driver". The relevant point is that the API obviously works fine but none of the graphics drivers currently take advantage of it for performance gain.

    Perhaps but it does show some reasonable variability between the different modes, so that gives some indication that it could be sensitive to driver MT rendering implementations.
     
  6. brain_stew

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    Capcom's Jun Takeuchi has also commented on this:

    http://www.pcgameshardware.com/aid,...technology-drawn-from-the-PC-technology/News/

    That's seriously disappointing as it appears that multi threaded rendering support would have been in LP2 if the drivers were ready. Multi threaded rendering has been common on consoles for several years now, right? If the low end AMD and Nvidia hardware in them machines can support it, then what's the hold up? About time both Nvidia and AMD stepped up to the plate and I'm pleased that we've at least got some developers pushing this issue now, the more press it gets, then the more likely it is seen to offer a competitive advantage and that becoming the case is the only thing that's going to get us serious movement in this area.

    Well worth reading that LP2 article btw. Its crazy that a Japanese devoloper is pushing technology on the PC more than the vast majority of western developers who actually have PC pedigree and heritage. They're pretty smart and diplomatic about their support for the PC, they realise that its not going to be the highest selling version of the game but by adopting advanced PC technology early it means that they'll have a jump on the competition next generation which gives them a serious competitive advantage. Most Japanese developer are still struggling to come to terms with SM 3.0 level technology and yet Capcom already have a pretty advanced and efficient DX11 renderpath up and running. Even if the benefit in the short term is minimal, the potential longterm repercussions are huge. Heck, just look at how far ahead of everyone else they are on the 3DS. Having a scalable high end engine available to port to the platform cheaply has meant they've been able to deliver some fantastic results right out of the gate, whereas most other Japanese developers are barely surpassing PSP levels on the platform, including Nintendo themselves!

    As a PC gamer I'm quite happy to be a guinea pig for next generation rendering techniques! :smile:
     
  7. Rodéric

    Rodéric a.k.a. Ingenu
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    Games don't use it because
    1/ few games are DX11
    2/ it's not supported by NV/ATi drivers

    NOT the other way around :p
     
  8. Silent_Buddha

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    That's a pretty big jump don't you think? Just because most western devs haven't made a point of it in interviews doesn't mean they haven't tried it or didn't want to try it.

    I'm pretty sure Firaxis is a western dev and rather than just talking about it, they actually implemented it.

    As well you've seen here that Demiurg has experimented with it and is keeping tabs on it and he's part of a western dev. :) Just because devs don't talk about features that don't make it into released games doesn't mean they didn't try to implement or didn't want to implement those features.

    Regards,
    SB
     
  9. Demirug

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    From a developer point of view the missing driver support is not the major problem. We all know that if you want better driver support for a feature just use it and add a benchmark to your game. OK this works only if you have a major title in development.

    The main problem is that most games still need to support a DX9 mode. Unfortunately the DX11 multithread support is a structure breaking feature. You need to design your engine around it. But such an engine will not work with DX9 (or OpenGL) anymore as long as you don’t emulate the DX11 multithread feature for other (single threaded) 3D APIs by your own.
     
  10. Silent_Buddha

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    Will the Dx11 multithreaded support work gracefully on Dx10/10.1? Or is the situation there similar to Dx9?

    Regards,
    SB
     
  11. Andrew Lauritzen

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    IIRC if you write in the DX11 API it works on all feature levels (including 9_x although it may force it to serialize the command stream on the lower ones? I don't recall) but the issue is if you want to support a DX9 API app say on Windows XP (not just DX9 cards), it's hard to structure an abstract rendering interface that works well for both. Not necessarily impossible mind you, but hard.
     
  12. homerdog

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    Why can't you just use the DX9 feature level? Then all you lose is WinXP support, which is rapidly becoming a non issue.
     
  13. Demirug

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    The 9.x levels make use of DX9 drivers that have no interface for multithread context support. Therefore the runtime needs to use the fallback.

    The 9.X feature levels have a higher CPU overhead and don’t support all features that you can access by using nativeDX9. As I don’t have actual numbers of Vista/Win7 users with DX) level hardware by hand I don’t know how big this issue is at the moment. But there are still too many XP users out there and with the current state of PC gaming at all it would be a bad idea to kick them out.
     
  14. cho

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    Maybe the DirectX-self not full ready yet ? :)
     
  15. homerdog

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    I'd like to see some estimates on how many XP users still buy AAA PC titles. Does Blizzard have any sort of publicly available hardware survey for SC2 or WoW gamers?
     
  16. Demirug

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    AFAIK not but Blizzard is the technical most conservative AAA games company I know.

    Based on the steam user values are still ~33% Windows XP users. Still too much to pitch a Vista/Win7 only project.
     
  17. Silent_Buddha

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    Not company or even official numbers here, but with local anecdotal evidence.

    Civ V has already lost quite a few sales amoung my circle of RL friends due to it not running well on older Dx9 non-enthusiast hardware. Whereas Starcraft 2 runs perfectly fine. This is with effects turned down to the lowest in Civ 5 and only marginally in Starcraft 2. And while some have decided to upgrade their 3-4 year old computers to play it, they are in the minority due to the economy and putting away money for retirement.

    That's on a mix of XP/Vista/Win7. So that doesn't speak directly to XP, but does show that there's still quite a few systems down in the lower tiers of Dx9 that need to accounted for when many PC publishers need to attract as many buyers as possible. In my case I'd say roughly 35-40% of my RL friends can't run Civ 5 in a playable state.

    But then take that with a grain of salt. As most of us are 30+ years old with professional jobs and gaming is just a hobby. :) I'm one of the few that still bothers going for enthusiast level computer hardware. But even with that, it still represents a sizeable chunk of PC gamers, IMO.

    Regards,
    SB
     
  18. homerdog

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    The Steam survey is screwed up right now. XP32 share up 2.29%, and XP64 up .24%? And Win7x64 down almost 1%, while Vista64 is on the rise!
    I don't think so.

    Civ 5 is about as system requirement friendly as they come, so I'm guessing roughly 35-40% of your RL friends don't buy new release PC games :smile:. And it's odd that they were willing to shell out for enthusiast class DX9 hardware a few years ago, but they can't be arsed for a $50 DX10 GPU today.
     
  19. Andrew Lauritzen

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    Sure although ~10% of them don't even have SM3 capable cards, which many games target as a minimum nowadays. There will always be some percentage at the bottom that isn't really intending to play 3D games (or has steam installed for chatting on their netbook, etc.) even on Steam.

    And as a side note, Civ5 is worth upgrading for :) I also doubt you'll see them complaining about their sales. You can always argue that they could have had "more" if they targeted lower hardware but you can similarly argue without the high-end features they may have had less enthusiasts - neither we can really quantify, and it's not always feasible to have a game support such a huge range of hardware performance levels.
     
  20. brain_stew

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    That comment wasn't directly about DX11 multi threading but a more general observation, just the speed at which Capcom have adopted and experimented with new APIs this generation. Most PC output is still routed in DX9 these days while Capcom had the very first implementation of DX10 (and a very good one at that, with real tangible benefits, the original Lost Planet is still the only game I know of which has "real" fur shading) and they seem to be heavily adopting DX11 quite early as well. Its less a slight against western developers and more a recognition of the good work that Capcom is doing.

    These are multiplatform titles with little PC appeal that they're putting out, they could get away with just a basic DX9 port if they wanted to but they're actually matching or surpassing the efforts of most PC exclusive/centric developers, which to be commended. Their MT Framework technology is a match for anything, it runs great on consoles, PC and even handhelds now and they still manage to offer a lot of PC exclusive goodies. Its just a huge turnaround, going into this generation I'd have never expected a Japanese developer to be leading the charge towards DX10 and DX11 when the likes of Epic are happy to rely on DX9 and sit with the most basic of DX10 implementations.

    I appreciate the work of western PC exclusive developers like Firaxis and multiplatform developers like Dice and Avalanche in these areas just as much of course, thought that's go without saying!


    A quick glance at the Steam hardware survey should show that its pretty insignificant. The fact that titles like Just Cause 2 can succeed on the platform despite not being a particularly PC centric title and it ditching DX9 support completely is pretty strong evidence imo.

    Now, something like CIV. 5 is going to buck that trend somewhat but for most "AAA" titles I'd say it still holds true. At the very least, DX9 gamers are now in the minority of active retail PC game purchasers.
     
    #20 brain_stew, Oct 1, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 1, 2010
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