AMD Set to Release DirectX 11 Graphics Card

Advanced Micro Devices will soon launch a graphics card that supports Microsoft's DirectX 11, which aims to make graphics in Windows 7 seem smoother and more realistic.

The release of AMD's first DirectX 11 graphics card would coincide with the launch of Microsoft's upcoming Windows 7, AMD spokesman John Taylor said on Thursday. The DirectX 11 graphics card will belong to the ATI Radeon line, but Taylor declined further comment on product details or pricing.

The graphics card maker has been demonstrating an ATI Radeon graphics card with DirectX 11 support since June, but has not made a specific product announcement yet.

Microsoft's upcoming Windows 7 has built-in support for new DirectX 11 tools, but there is no hardware available yet that supports those tools. With the new card, AMD will beat rival Nvidia to market. Nvidia has also said it would support DirectX 11, but has not yet made a product announcement. Intel, which mostly offers integrated graphics on chipsets, in June released updated graphics drivers for Windows 7, but offered support for only DirectX 10.

The DirectX 11 tools include a set of APIs (application programming interfaces) for realistic images and better sound when playing games or watching movies. For example, game developers will be able to create smoother and realistic images in a game through better three-dimension modelling.

Most of the discrete graphics cards support existing DirectX 10 and 10.1 tools, which are built into Windows Vista.

DirectX 11 tools are also designed to help Windows 7 recognize multicore systems to improve performance of graphics and other applications. A feature called "Compute Shader" harnesses the parallel processing capabilities of GPUs (graphics processing units) to improve gaming on PCs. These improvements could make games more realistic through faster frame rates.

The tools also help break up multiple tasks effectively over existing CPU and GPU cores. For example, DirectX 11 will enable video conversion on the fly simply by dragging and dropping video from PCs to portable devices. It will also accelerate tasks such as image manipulation or DVD playback by off-loading them over CPUs and GPU cores.

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