Microsoft Readies Software Rasterizer for Windows 7

Microsoft Windows 7 to Get Software Emulator for DirectX 10, DirectX 10.1

by Anton Shilov
12/01/2008 | 02:23 PM

Microsoft Corp. plans to introduce specially created software rasterization method that will emulate DirectX 10.1/10 hardware in Windows 7 operating system. The Windows Advanced Rasterization Platform (WARP) will allow to make it easier to implement graphics user interfaces (GUI) and use DirectX applications without appropriate graphics processing units (GPUs) inside.


“Our primary goal during WARP10 development was to produce a rasterizer that met or exceeded all the precision and conformance requirements of the Direct3D 10 and 10.1 specifications. We wanted to do this while achieving a high level or reliability and stability. If this rasterizer was going to be used as a fallback for when hardware was not functioning, it’s important that it worked in all scenarios, configurations and different types of machines,” Microsoft explained in a statement.

WARP10, a high speed, fully conformant software rasterizer that uses power of central processing units (CPUs) for graphics processing , is a new component that will be part of DirectX graphics technology in Windows 7. It is shipping in beta form in the November 2008 DirectX software development kit. Apart from Microsoft Windows 7 interface, the software DirectX emulation may also be useful for casual games, existing non-game applications, games and some other.

According to Microsoft, software developers will not have to tune up their applications for the WARP and that simulation will be completely seamless to end-user as well as software.

Microsoft Windows Vista can use graphics processors to render Aero interface and can also use CPU to draw Windows Basic interface. It is interesting to note that GPUs render more advanced interface quicker than microprocessor draws less sophisticated GUI. Moreover, when it comes to rendering of video games, software rendering proved its inefficiency compared to hardware-acceleration many years ago. Still, at least some developers hope that once central processing units acquire more cores and get even higher performance, software rendering will be back.

“We don’t see WARP10 as a replacement for graphics hardware, particularly as reasonably performing low end Direct3D 10 discrete hardware is now available for under $25. The goal of WARP10 was to allow applications to target Direct3D 10 level hardware without having significantly different code paths or testing requirements when running on hardware or when running in software,” Microsoft claims.