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.