Microsoft details Windows 8's improved graphics performance

By Lee Kaelin on July 24, 2012, 8:30 AM

Microsoft has shared more details about the graphical improvements you can expect from Windows 8 this October, not least of which is DirectX 11.1 and better hardware acceleration. Previous versions of Windows focused on 3D gaming performance, but Microsoft says 2D performance is just as important, especially for Metro.

The result of Microsoft's tinkering is a 150% increase in framerate compared to Windows 7 when rendering paragraphs of text. Rendering small chunks of text like those often found on interface controls such as labels and menus has improved 131% and heading-sized text used for titles in Metro style apps has improved 336%.

Improvements have also been made to 2D geometry rendering, the core graphics technology used to render tables, charts, graphs, diagrams and other user interface elements using HTML5 and SVG technologies for Metro style apps. Framerate increases 184% for the rendering of lines right through to 438% for rectangles.

A new feature, Target Independent Rasterization (TIR), has been developed for DirectX 11.1 GPUs to render irregularly shaped objects, like geographical borders on a map. The advancements mean fewer CPU cycles are spent on tessellation, allowing it to pump drawing instructions to the GPU faster without influencing visual quality.

“As you can see, we've done a lot of work to enable a very fast and smoothly animated user experience in Windows 8. From new ways to measure our progress, to optimizations for mainstream uses of our graphics platform, and new hardware features, we've created the best Windows graphics platform yet," wrote Microsoft's Rob Copeland.




User Comments: 25

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1 person liked this | ET3D, TechSpot Paladin, said:

There's a nice video of this here: http://youtu.be/qtpnVdnkUL0 (HardOCP embedded it in its new item).

My understanding is that D3D 11.1 will be available on 7, too, but probably the OS speed improvements won't be implemented there (but it will still be great for game and application writers).

RH00D RH00D said:

Honestly I am excited for Windows 8 and I will buy a system builder license of it once my new rig is built. Most people just hate it because they hate change or are too "stuck in the past" to give it a fair chance. I don't doubt there are some legitimate scenarios where it may be worse than what we have, but the people those scenarios are applicable to are few and far between I'm sure.

1 person liked this | Guest said:

A new feature, Target Independent Rasterization (TIR), has been developed for DirectX 11.1 GPUs to render irregularly shaped objects, like geographical borders on a map. The advancements mean fewer CPU cycles are spent on tessellation, allowing it to pump drawing instructions to the GPU faster without influencing visual quality.
Nothing new, these were available since DirectX11 and tessellation is independent from CPU. You just upload a basic/cage geometry with a (few) heightmaps to the (DX11 level) GPU, then geometry will be tessellated based on view distance and other factors.

And I think those faster rendering speeds are because of absence of eye candies provided in previous Windows versions. I won't call it a big optimization.

1 person liked this | Adhmuz Adhmuz, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Honestly I am excited for Windows 8 and I will buy a system builder license of it once my new rig is built. Most people just hate it because they hate change or are too "stuck in the past" to give it a fair chance. I don't doubt there are some legitimate scenarios where it may be worse than what we have, but the people those scenarios are applicable to are few and far between I'm sure.

Unfortunately you can't simply put the whole democratic into the category of "They will adapt" and I also don't see this as people being "stuck in the past" more along the line that people like what works, and I'm sorry to say Windows 7 GUI just works better, simply put its more efficient use of the workspace available. I gave it a chance and don't see a need for it to exist. I'm glad to see rectangles will now render 438% faster, and it has to, the GUI is filled with them. I honestly don't care how fast it renders Paragraphs and Lines because its not likely to be noticeable, this is just Microsoft throwing around numbers for the sake of throwing around numbers. If you enjoy the change that's fine with me, I just evolved past the finger painting stage of my life when I was 5 years old.

bugejakurt said:

A new feature, Target Independent Rasterization (TIR), has been developed for DirectX 11.1 GPUs to render irregularly shaped objects, like geographical borders on a map. The advancements mean fewer CPU cycles are spent on tessellation, allowing it to pump drawing instructions to the GPU faster without influencing visual quality.
Nothing new, these were available since DirectX11 and tessellation is independent from CPU. You just upload a basic/cage geometry with a (few) heightmaps to the (DX11 level) GPU, then geometry will be tessellated based on view distance and other factors.

And I think those faster rendering speeds are because of absence of eye candies provided in previous Windows versions. I won't call it a big optimization.

Well said. Neither do I call it a BIG optimisation. I think it's quite small in fact...

Staff
Julio Franco Julio Franco, TechSpot Editor, said:

I've added MS' official video to the story. I think this is the kind of attention to detail that will pull Windows 8 through for desktop users, can you believe how choppy image rendering looks in W7 vs. W8?

gamoniac said:

Honestly I am excited for Windows 8 and I will buy a system builder license of it once my new rig is built. Most people just hate it because they hate change or are too "stuck in the past" to give it a fair chance. I don't doubt there are some legitimate scenarios where it may be worse than what we have, but the people those scenarios are applicable to are few and far between I'm sure.

Unfortunately you can't simply put the whole democratic into the category of "They will adapt" and I also don't see this as people being "stuck in the past" more along the line that people like what works, and I'm sorry to say Windows 7 GUI just works better, simply put its more efficient use of the workspace available. I gave it a chance and don't see a need for it to exist. I'm glad to see rectangles will now render 438% faster, and it has to, the GUI is filled with them. I honestly don't care how fast it renders Paragraphs and Lines because its not likely to be noticeable, this is just Microsoft throwing around numbers for the sake of throwing around numbers. If you enjoy the change that's fine with me, I just evolved past the finger painting stage of my life when I was 5 years old.

While I agree with you that this graphic rendering improvement won't be noticeable to regular users, and that it might not be enough reason to persuade folks from upgrading from Vista or Win7, it is still a welcomed improvement. It also means we can run Windows 8 with lower hardware specs and archive better performance than previous Windows. Improvement in software efficiency is too often neglected due to the advancement in hardware. I am quite excited about Win8 improvement, although I am still up in the air about Metro UI after using it for a few months.

Guest said:

While I agree with you that this graphic rendering improvement won't be noticeable to regular users, and that it might not be enough reason to persuade folks from upgrading from Vista or Win7, it is still a welcomed improvement. It also means we can run Windows 8 with lower hardware specs and archive better performance than previous Windows. Improvement in software efficiency is too often neglected due to the advancement in hardware. I am quite excited about Win8 improvement, although I am still up in the air about Metro UI after using it for a few months.
Depends on what you call low spec hardware, no idea about NVIDIA but AMD isn't going to release any Windows 8 compatible drivers for pre RadeonHD 5000 graphics cards which they (RadeonHD 4000 specially) still kick ass of the some new 5000 and 6000 series. Yes, Windows 8 is equipped with some standard drivers for previous cards but don't expect them to provide great performance while using OpenGL and OpenCL powered applications/games on Windows 8.

So in action you won't see any difference because they are forcing new hardware; Just a few useless charts and bars IMO.

Guest said:

That's nice Microsoft... Still Aero>Metro. Mouse>touchscreen. Icons>tiles.

captainawesome captainawesome said:

I wonder what hardware they tested this on?

Anyone know?

Guest said:

This better 2D hardware acceleration includes Windows 8 Aereo ???

;)

Guest said:

It's nice that Microsoft made some improvements, that's what I would expect from a newer OS, otherwise why upgrade. In reality I don't see these improvements making that big of a difference, I for one can't read multiple pages of text in a couple of seconds, so the fact that the computer can display them quicker doesn't really mean much. Also, you will need the proper graphics card with updated drivers to get these increases.

Guest said:

In the end it's going to run at 60FPS to sync with monitor and your GPU will always stay idle. Are you seriously going to stress a highly threaded monster with a few ugly rectangles scattered around screen? Give me a break :D

kevin_p0 kevin_p0 said:

Ok, I'll admit limited knowledge here. How will this improvement affect how Adobe flash player works? Will you be able to see a marked improvement in frame rates here as well? My PC is currently running Windows 7 Ultimate 64 bit with a 2.8 Ghz dual core processor and the maximum 4 GB memory. While flash does run smoothly most of the time, I do still occasionally experience some slow down. If Windows 8 will improve how the flash player operates, I would definitely be on board for a new operating system.

pmcardle said:

Oh, so you like AMD. That explains it. Next you'll tell everyone you voted for Obama too.

kevin_p0 kevin_p0 said:

Wow. 0 for 2. I run an Intel Pentium D and I did not vote for Obama. Anything else?

sapo joe said:

If only they woke up to the fact that everything could still work with the classic aero interface...

killeriii said:

Unfortunately you can't simply put the whole democratic into the category of "They will adapt" and I also don't see this as people being "stuck in the past" more along the line that people like what works, and I'm sorry to say Windows 7 GUI just works better, simply put its more efficient use of the workspace available. I gave it a chance and don't see a need for it to exist. I'm glad to see rectangles will now render 438% faster, and it has to, the GUI is filled with them. I honestly don't care how fast it renders Paragraphs and Lines because its not likely to be noticeable, this is just Microsoft throwing around numbers for the sake of throwing around numbers. If you enjoy the change that's fine with me, I just evolved past the finger painting stage of my life when I was 5 years old.

ROFL

+1

steve30x steve30x said:

This better 2D hardware acceleration includes Windows 8 Aereo ???

;)

Windows 8 doesnt have aero

pmcardle said:

Wow. 0 for 2. I run an Intel Pentium D and I did not vote for Obama. Anything else?

I was attempting to reply to another post way above yours. Why would you think I was replying to you anyways? At least you didn't vote for Obama.

Guest said:

"I'm glad to see rectangles will now render 438% faster, and it has to, the GUI is filled with them."

LOL

DAOWAce DAOWAce said:

Unless it improves anything from 3D game performance to multimedia transcoding, this OS will be ignored.

Websites will run better, yippee..

kevin_p0 kevin_p0 said:

Wow. 0 for 2. I run an Intel Pentium D and I did not vote for Obama. Anything else?

I was attempting to reply to another post way above yours. Why would you think I was replying to you anyways? At least you didn't vote for Obama.

My bad. I thought you were referencing my comment about the 2.8 Ghz processor. I'd been dealing with someone badmouthing my comments on a different forum and was a bit frustrated right then. My apologies...

Yarrow Yarrow said:

Honestly I am excited for Windows 8 and I will buy a system builder license of it once my new rig is built. Most people just hate it because they hate change or are too "stuck in the past" to give it a fair chance. I don't doubt there are some legitimate scenarios where it may be worse than what we have, but the people those scenarios are applicable to are few and far between I'm sure.

Unfortunately you can't simply put the whole democratic into the category of "They will adapt" and I also don't see this as people being "stuck in the past" more along the line that people like what works, and I'm sorry to say Windows 7 GUI just works better, simply put its more efficient use of the workspace available. I gave it a chance and don't see a need for it to exist. I'm glad to see rectangles will now render 438% faster, and it has to, the GUI is filled with them. I honestly don't care how fast it renders Paragraphs and Lines because its not likely to be noticeable, this is just Microsoft throwing around numbers for the sake of throwing around numbers. If you enjoy the change that's fine with me, I just evolved past the finger painting stage of my life when I was 5 years old.

I can't agree more with your comment and I like change. I bought the Windows 8 upgrade and tried it on my laptop... Epic fail I lose hardware functionality I get an Ugly screen, I have to look up every activity that I want to do. I don't have the time or the interest to dedicate myself to using an OS that was not designed for my PC. I also have to say if you want a tablet with a paying Eco system, by a Nexus ten that's not got a half assed confused os on it and is not under powered.

9Nails, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I can't agree more with your comment and I like change. I bought the Windows 8 upgrade and tried it on my laptop... Epic fail I lose hardware functionality I get an Ugly screen, I have to look up every activity that I want to do. I don't have the time or the interest to dedicate myself to using an OS that was not designed for my PC. I also have to say if you want a tablet with a paying Eco system, by a Nexus ten that's not got a half assed confused os on it and is not under powered.

I agree with this. What really bothered me with Windows 8 is how often I felt trapped in a screen. I press Backspace, Escape, Left Arrow, Right-click hoping to get out and not finding the way to do so. I'm sure if I give it time I'll learn, but at the moment in Windows 7 I'm happy and there's no frustration. Necessity dictates when I switch to a new OS, and there's nothing that requires me to switch to Windows 8. I'll wait for Windows 9 then.

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