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DirectX 12 won't require a new graphics card, but some of its features might

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Turns out that Microsoft's Direct X 12 update won't require you to buy a new graphics card after all, despite what Microsoft officials said following yesterday's Windows 10 event.

Both Nividia and Microsoft today confirmed that most modern PC gaming hardware will work well with DirectX 12.

"Microsoft's recent demonstration of a few new Windows 10 game experiences powered by DirectX12 has led some people to ask what specific hardware will be supported by the DirectX12 API," according to a statement released by Microsoft today. "While we are not yet ready to detail everything related to DirectX12, we can share that we are working closely with all of our hardware partners to help ensure that most modern PC gaming hardware will work well with DirectX12, including; NVIDIA's Maxwell, Kepler and Fermi-based GPUs, Intel's 4th generation (and newer) Core processors and AMD's Graphics Core Next (GCN) based GPUs. We'll have more to share about DirectX12 at GDC in March."

The earlier confusion comes following yesterday's two-hour long Windows 10 press conference on Microsoft's Redmond campus. In a meeting with a gathering of press to show off the Xbox App for Windows 10, Mike Ybarra, partner director of program management who leads engineering efforts for console and PC, responded to the following question about DirectX 12 support of graphics cards.

"To get the full support of DX12 will users need to get a new graphics card?"

To get the "full benefits of DX12," Ybarra replied, "the answer is yes."

"There will be DX 11.1 cards that take advantage of a lot of the driver and software tech that we're bringing in Windows 10, but if you want the full benefits of DX12, you're going to need a DX12 card."

The confusion seems to lie in the difference between full support of DX12 features and support of some DX12 features.

When I went back to Microsoft to get a better sense of that difference a company spokesperson told me that there are a handful of rendering pipeline features that are new in DX12 that we will be outlined at GDC. They added: "The power and frame rate wins we demonstrated come from improvements in CPU usage in the OS runtime and device drivers.  And this was on DX11 devices."