Leak: Project Scorpio Phasing out DX11 to adopt DX12 as Preferred API

Project Scorpio Leak, DX12 preferred API

More leaks from Microsoft’s whitepaper emerge online revealing Project Scorpio’s new API preferences.

Back in January, Eurogamer received a Microsoft whitepaper which gave an insight into Project Scorpio’s hardware specs. Apparently, some YouTubers have also got their hands on the document and revealed more interesting tidbits regarding the company’s mid-gen console refresh which is scheduled to arrive around the Holiday 2017.

Project Scorpio leak reaffirms Boost for DX12 support

Microsoft’s leaked PDF reportedly weighs 115 MB. Intended for developers only, the file includes information, some of which is simple while other is highly classified showing off games and their tech demos that aren’t out yet.

The slides were presented at a conference held by Microsoft to teach developers how to get the most out of the Project Scorpio. The company discussed what developers should expect from the new console and how they could achieve 4K 60 FPS recording on it while having their games at a high resolution and high fidelity.

Read More: Project Scorpio uses AMD Vega features, Faster than a PC with equivalent GPU

Project Scorpio Leak - DX12 vs DX11

They also covered a lot of other detailed stuff including the process of delivering textures to Scorpio’s versions of games over the base Xbox One version, but today we’ll only focus on the API usage on the upcoming console. So without further ado, let’s gets started.

The slides on the topic start with a note on the D3D version, saying the D3D11.x is supported on Scorpio but it’s in maintenance mode. This indicates you might have to go through one more step to access DirectX 11 if your games are using that API.

It goes on to say that D3D12.x is the preferred API for Scorpio. We already know that the DirectX 12 is baked into the command processor of the Project Scorpio’s GPU. This gives around 50% boost by reducing thousands of draw calls to just 11 instructions or so, as confirmed by Eurogamer’s Digital Foundry.

“We essentially moved Direct3D 12,” Microsoft told Digital Foundry. “We built that into the command processor of the GPU and what that means is that, for all the high frequency API invocations that the games do, they’ll all natively implemented in the logic of the command processor—and what this means is that our communication from the game to the GPU is super-efficient.”

There are also certain hardware features on Scorpio that will be exposed only in DX12 mode. Meaning, you might have to go without these features if you’re using DX11.

Finally, some of the Scorpio features are automatic in D3D12.x while they are manual in D3D11.x.

To sum it up, Microsoft is really pushing DX12 on Xbox Scorpio. They want people to use the next-gen low level API as they don’t want to let go the significant uplift on the CPU side. The API is still maturing and getting better with time. People will also want to use DX12 once they see the benefits it brings to the table.

Project Scorpio Confirmed Specs

Microsoft has revealed the final specs for the Project Scorpio, and based on these specs, the enhanced Xbox will deliver. Here’s a list of the specs confirmed earlier this month:

  • Highly customized 360mm² AMD System-on-Chip (SoC) built using 16nm FinFET
  • Polaris-derived GPU with 40 Compute Units at 1172MHz
  • 6TFLOPs of Compute Performance
  • Custom x86 “Jaguar Evolved” 8-core CPU at 2.3GHz, 4MB L2 cache
  • 12GB GDDR5 memory with 326GB/s bandwidth (12x 6.8GHz modules on a 384-bit bus)
  • 1TB 2.5-inch HDD
  • 4K UHD Blu-ray player

Read More: Microsoft explains how it achieved Faster Loading Times on Project Scorpio

With these specs, Scorpio should have no issues running Xbox One titles in native 4K resolution; in fact it could still have enough juice left to offer visual enhancements.

Remember the ForzaTech demo shown to Digital Foundry. It was a demo “port” of the original Xbox One game that was running at native 4K 60 FPS on Scorpio, while only using 60-70% of the console’s resources. When graphics settings were ramped up to the equivalent of Forza Motorsport Apex’s ultra settings, Scorpio still did render the racer with ease.

What do you think about Project Scorpio’s new API preferences? Let us know in the comments below.

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