DirectX 12 Could Let You Mix NVIDIA And AMD GPUs In The Same PC

DirectX 12 should be one of the more exciting updates to Microsoft's multimedia API since DirectX 9. Along with vastly reduced CPU overhead and a focus on giving developers more control, it might be possible to mix GPUs from different vendors in the same machine, if recent rumours are to be believed.

Quoting a "source with knowledge of the matter", Niels Broekhuijsen at Tom's Hardware reports that thanks to the new API's "explicit asynchronous multi-GPU" feature, you'll be able to use several graphics cards in the one PC, with DirectX 12 taking advantage of all the resources on offer.

(It should be noted the article refers to an "unspoken API", but Broekhuijsen's is reasonably confident it's DirectX 12.)

This is in stark contrast to the multi-GPU technologies of NVIDIA and AMD, which require a special crossover board and GPUs from the same manufacturer. Even then, driver support can be spotty, with some games requiring vendor-made, targeted profiles to work correctly.

Over the years, GPUs have become more ingrained in basic operating system functionality, starting with Windows Vista and desktop composition, which treated the graphics card as just another resource, rather than some sort of special hardware.

If this asynchronous mode turns out to be a real thing, it moves us one step closer to a world where — at least for Windows — GPUs are just a different type of CPU. Arguably, this is already the case with general-purpose GPU frameworks including NVIDIA's CUDA and OpenCL.

As Broekhuijsen mentions, it's the perfect example of the operating system seeing your various pieces of hardware as pooled resources. Invisible to the user (and even the developer), yet we get improved performance and a reason to brush the dust off our old graphics cards. Well, the ones that support DirectX 12 anyway.

Exclusive: DirectX 12 Will Allow Multi-GPU Between GeForce And Radeon [Tom's Hardware]


Comments

    My intergrated GPU might actually not be useless one day.

    whack your old GPU with your new GPU??? lets hope so

    That would be great. Considering that the other rumour is that we may get the ability to add vram in crosfire/ sli instead of just sharing it, both would be sweet.

    I've got my AMD on grunt work and my Nvidia on dedicated Physx. It was a bitch to set up and is only a bitch because these two companies hate each other pettily. I hope DirectX 12 can get through this but I got no hopes up.

    They won't if Nvidia can do anything about it, see dedicated physx processing with an AMD GPU.

    This very much falls into the "I'll believe it when I see it" pile. Even getting two different GPU's from the same family working efficiently together has proved to be a near insurmountable challenge when some company occasionally has a shot at it. Getting two GPU's with entirely different architectures and drivers to play nice would be an amazing achievement. There was a company that claimed to be able to do this and put out a hardware solution named Hydra several years back but it really didn't work :(. I'm not saying it can't be done, more that it's not the first time I've heard about a major company trying this in one fashion or another but no-one has managed to succeed.

    As a side note multi-GPU techs (SLI, X-Fire) aren't spotty anymore, there can be some compatibility problems but overall they're pretty smooth/easy to use, certainly drastically better than they were a few years ago.

    If they could just GPU-switching working on desktops I'd be damn happy :P all that silicon going to waste on my CPU makes me sad >_

    Developers have enough trouble getting games to work on all the assortment and combination of PC components currently available.
    Now we're going to start mixing and matching?
    Like chaoticlusts said above. . . Ill believe it when I see it.

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