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AMD Demos Microsoft DirectX 11 Graphics Chip

The technology enables games developers to create smoother, less blocky, and more organic looking objects.
Advanced Micro Devices on Wednesday demonstrated what it said is the first graphics processor to run Microsoft DirectX 11, the software maker's latest collection of Windows technology for handling multimedia tasks, especially games and video.

AMD conducted the show-and-tell at the Computex trade show in Taiwan. DirectX 11 will be in Windows 7, which Microsoft is scheduled to release on Oct. 22. However, the technology also will run in Windows Vista.

AMD's ATI graphics processors compete with Nvidia in high-end gaming PCs, so support of the latest multimedia technology from Microsoft is pivotal to remain in the good graces of hard-core gamers. During its demonstration, AMD showed examples of faster application performance and the ability to render higher-quality 3-D graphics.

"Today, we're previewing AMD's DirectX 11 graphics processor to build enthusiasm for this key technology so developers will have games available at launch and shortly thereafter," Rick Bergman, senior VP of AMD's products group, said in a statement.

Among the key features in DirectX 11 is tessellation technology that enables games developers to create smoother, less blocky, and more organic looking objects. Tessellation is a technique used to manage and divide datasets so they can be rendered by a graphics engine.

Other features include a "compute shader" that allows programmers to treat the GPU in a much less graphics-oriented way, and more like a highly parallel CPU, making programming easier. Finally, DirectX 11 is much more efficient at using the power of the multiple cores in today's CPUs.

AMD has published a full explanation of the advantages of DirectX 11 on its Web site.

InformationWeek has published an in-depth report on Windows 7. Download the report here (registration required).

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