Monday, October 24, 2011

What DX level does my graphics card support? Does it go to 11?

Recently I run into a situation that I have run into quite a few times. Someone encounters a machine and the question arises: "Is there a DirectX 11 card in this machine?". Typically the reason you are interested in that is because cards with DirectX 11 drivers fully support DirectCompute (and by extension C++ AMP) for GPGPU programming. The driver specifically is WDDM (1.1 on Windows 7 and Windows 8 introduces WDDM 1.2 with cool new capabilities).

There are many ways for figuring out if you have a DirectX11 card, so here are the approaches that you can use, with a bonus right at the end of the post.

Run DxDiag

WindowsKey + R, type DxDiag and hit Enter. That is the DirectX diagnostic tool, which unfortunately, only tells you on the "System" tab what is the highest version of DirectX installed on your machine. So if it reports DirectX 11, that doesn't mean you have a DX11 driver! The "Display" tab has a promising "DDI version" label, but unfortunately that doesn't seem to be accurate on the machines I've tested it with (or I may be misinterpreting its use). Either way, this tool is not the one you want for this purpose, although it is good for telling you the WDDM version among other things.

Use the Microsoft hardware page

There is a Microsoft Windows 7 compatibility center, that lists all hardware (tip: use the advanced search) and you could try and locate your device there… good luck.

Use Wikipedia or the hardware vendor's website

Use the Wikipedia page for the vendor cards, for both nvidia and amd. Often this information will also be in the specifications for the cards on the IHV site, but is is nice that wikipedia has a single page per vendor that you can search etc. There is a column in the tables for API support where you can see the DirectX version.

Read more: The Moth
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