Microsoft talks about Windows 8 graphics hardware acceleration
In the next of their on-going Building Windows 8 series, Microsoft talks about graphics hardware acceleration.
This is how the article starts:
In computer graphics, high performance is a guiding principle. In the early days of personal computing, discrete, add-on graphics cards were mostly focused on specialized applications such as CAD/CAM and gaming. Even early on, there was a view that all of this graphics horsepower could be used for more: notably a better user interface and experience. One of the first graphics cards for a PC was called a “Windows Accelerator” from S3 Graphics, which focused on the user experience by moving windows around the screen faster. As graphics hardware evolved, so, too, did the methods that developers use to interact with that hardware.
DirectX is the part of Windows that provides a common application programming interface, or API, that allows developers to use the graphics hardware in the PC to draw text, shapes, and three-dimensional scenes, and display them on the screen. DirectX has also evolved over time in both capabilities and performance characteristics. In the early years, DirectX was focused mainly on games. As applications evolved to provide richer and more graphically-intense user experiences, many of them started to use DirectX as a way to get better performance and richer visuals.
Enter Windows 8
When we started to plan the work we’d undertake for graphics in Windows 8, we knew that we would be creating a new, visually rich way for users to interact with apps and with Windows itself. We also knew that we’d be building a new platform for creating Metro style apps, and that we’d be targeting a more diverse set of hardware than ever before. While we had a great graphics platform to start with, there was more work to do in order to support those efforts. We came up with four main goals:
- Ensure that all Metro style experiences are rendered smoothly and quickly.
- Provide a hardware-accelerated platform for all Metro style apps.
- Add new capabilities to DirectX to enable stunning visual experiences.
- Support the widest diversity of graphics hardware ever.
While each of these focus on different aspects of building Windows 8, they all depend on great performance and capabilities from the graphics platform.
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