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AMD Loves DirectX After All

| 28 Mar 2011 18:44
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Richard Huddy of AMD says his comments about DirectX "getting in the way" of PC gaming performance were taken out of context, and that the company stands firmly behind Microsoft's API.

Huddy made headlines last week, at least among the hardware nerd set, when he claimed that gaming graphics on the PC are being held back by Microsoft's aged DirectX API. "We often have at least ten times as much horsepower as an Xbox 360 or a PS3 in a high-end graphics card, yet it's very clear that the games don't look ten times as good," Huddy said. "To a significant extent, that's because, one way or another, for good reasons and bad - mostly good, DirectX is getting in the way."

It wasn't exactly full-out agitation for an end to DirectX but it did come across a bit like a feeler, a sort of look-around to see if anyone else was interested in signing up for the newsletter. But Huddy said in a new interview that AMD isn't looking to change the world and that ditching DirectX would really only be of benefit to "high-end gaming developers."

"It's not something most developers want," he told CRN. "If you held a vote among developers, they would go for Direct X or Open GL, because it's a great platform."

"Direct X provides a highly stable platform," he continued. "It's hard to crash a machine with Direct X, as there's lots of protection to make sure the game isn't taking down the machine, which is certainly rare especially compared to ten or fifteen years ago."

He did reiterate his opinion that modern PCs "absolutely dwarf" the Xbox 360 in terms of sheer hardware power but said that APIs and middleware have to keep up. "A game on a PC will always have a relatively thick software layer, a console does not," he explained. "We're putting a lot more horsepower at the high end. But the software layer that lies between the PC running DirectX and the game itself needs to get involved in a lot of transformation."

"Making the API go away doesn't actually mean there is no longer any API," he said. "They would take a different form."

"We're simply letting Microsoft know the feedback we get from game developers," added Neal Robinson, AMD's senior director of independent software vendor relations. "We've heard from the high-end and the low-end. The very high-end want something more in terms of performance. That's information we give to Microsoft. They've done a tremendous job continuing to innovate with Direct X. Game developers, AMD and Nvidia offer constructive feedback because we want to see them continue to innovate."

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