Graphics API calls have evolved along with cards ditto, adding new technologies and new levels of performance every few years. This is used by games, which adopt and integrate new technologies to offer visually much better images to our eyes. However, it seems that after years, the DirectX 9 support in graphics cards it could definitely say goodbye in future models that will be released.
It’s been more than ten years since we saw the jump to DirectX 11, so worrying about the performance of a game under DirectX 9 shouldn’t be an act of concern. However, there are many games in the Steam library or simply installed on our PC that use this API. Therefore, removing native compatibility from a graphics card over said interpreter between the application and the hardware can have severe compatibility and performance consequences. What is it that leads NVIDIA, AMD and Intel to make such a decision?
Goodbye to native support for DirectX 9 in future graphics
The evolution of graphics APIs in recent times at the graphics chip level has been clear: less dependence on the graphics driver and greater independence from the hardware. It is clear that DirectX 9 had a high dependency on drivers and since several requirements were no longer integrated into the main circuitry of the graphics card chip, then this had to be emulated through other functions.
This is a nightmare for driver developers. Since in order for old games not to suffer from any type of compatibility error, they have to spend hours and elbows to make these games work perfectly. Which they achieve in two different ways:
- In some cases even keeping units and items that are no longer used by current games inside the GPU just in case.
- Replacing the process with another through a compute shader that performs the same task from the driver. Therefore, completely invisible to the application and the user.
Well, it seems that Intel has been the first to remove support for DirectX 9 in the drivers. Although we also know that AMD and NVIDIA will not be far behind in this regard for the next generation. All this to localize its human resources to new technologies.
Will the lack of support affect my games?
Well, in the best case scenario, the games that use this API will continue to work as usual. In the worst we can find screen errors and sudden performance drops, but those will be a minority. We cannot forget that when developing games on PC, different techniques are used than on consoles, since we are not talking about a single hardware, but about a plurality of configurations.
Actually all this does not mean that games under DirectX 9 stop working, but the optimizations that were made for each new generation of cards will not be done. In any case, we are talking about titles that currently achieve several hundred frames without problems on most graphics cards. What’s more, your games won’t stop working, they just won’t scale in performance like the rest.
So if you are worried about the fact that DOTA 2 or CS: GO may not be able to run on your PC, then do not worry about it, since Valve has been adapting these games to a more advanced graphics API for some time. Vulkan or DX11 depending on the case and its dependencies for DirectX 9 have been reduced to the maximum and even eliminated. In any case, this does not mean that occasionally and in very specific cases we do not see compatibility problems, we cannot put our hand in the fire. Since we have also seen problems in very new games, under the most advanced APIs and with updated drivers.