Intel Introduces Two New DirectX Extensions to Speed Up Rendering in Video Games

Intel Extends DirectX 11.1 with Two New Performance-Boosting Extensions

by Anton Shilov
03/27/2013 | 11:55 PM

In the recent years Intel Corp. has been paying more and more attention to its integrated graphics cores after it failed to develop a competitive discrete graphics processing unit. While the company yet has to match performance offered by A-series Fusion accelerated processing units from AMD, the company is very serious about improving speed of video games on its solutions. In addition to improving hardware, Intel is also working on software innovations.


Debuting at Game Developers Conference 2013 were new graphics capabilities for forthcoming Intel HD Graphics platforms that are accessible through DirectX extensions, such as code-named Denlow graphics core inside Intel Core i-series 4000-family “Haswell” microprocessors.


The first of these extensions, called PixelSync, provides access to underlying hardware that allows programmers to properly composite partially transparent pixels without the need for an expensive sorting operation. Game developers have long awaited this capability in order to more realistically render smoke, hair, windows, foliage, fences and other complex geometry and natural phenomena.

"The artists working on Grid2 have been requesting this type of effect for years, and prior to this, it wasn't possible to achieve it at a reasonable cost. The fact that this capability will be available to millions of consumers on forthcoming 4th generation Intel Core i-series processors is very exciting to us," said Clive Moody, senior executive producer at Codemasters Racing.


InstantAccess, the second new extension, works by allowing physical memory to be written and read from either the CPU or from the built-in Intel HD Graphics.

"We have been working directly with Intel engineers to fully exploit the Intel-specific rendering extensions that most effectively enhance rendering performance and visual quality of Total War: Rome II,”. With our upcoming game, Total War: Rome II, we have shifted our focus toward ensuring that the game looks great whether you are running it on a slim and sexy ultrabook or a monster desktop. Intel's 4th generation Intel Core i platforms and the new rendering extensions they provide have been an enormous help in making that dream a reality," said Mike Simpson, the creative director of Creative Assembly.

These real-time rendering extensions are being released in advance of the launch of Intel's newest generation of Core processors in order to give developers extra time to begin incorporating them into their products. Initially, these extensions are available through Intel's implementation of DirectX and on 4th generation Intel Core i “Haswell” microprocessors with new-gen graphics cores. Documents describing these extensions are available now from Intel's Visual Computing Source web site.