AMD: Current-Generation GCN Graphics Architecture Fully Compatible with DirectX 11.2

AMD’s GCN Architecture Needs New Driver to Support DirectX 11.2

by Anton Shilov
08/21/2013 | 10:36 PM

Although at present AMD Radeon HD 7000-series products based on GCN [graphics core next] architecture cannot take advantage of the DirectX 11.2 application programming interface that will become available with the release of Windows 8.1 “Blue” this fall, going forward Advanced Micro Devices plans to release a driver that will enable DX11.2 on current-gen hardware.


The DirectX 11.2 brings a host of new features to improve performance of games and graphics apps that were designed for the API. For example, Windows 8.1 includes a new Direct3D feature called tiled resources, which exposes a limited virtual graphics memory model to apps and thereby permits loose mapping between logical resource data and physical memory. This allows the creation of large logical resources that utilize small amounts of physical memory. This is useful with terrain in games, app UI and in many other cases.

Although current-generation AMD Radeon HD 7000/8000-series hardware based on GCN architecture can technologically support all DX11.2 capabilities, including tiled resources, the final spec of the API dictates different procedures than AMD assumed. As a result, formally the company cannot claim 100% compatibility with DirectX 11.2.

Laylah Mah, an AMD engineer who spoke with Heise Online web-site, stresses that all AMD needs is to update the driver for the current-generation hardware so to comply with Microsoft’s implementations of DX11.2 functionality. As a result, the Radeon HD 7000/8000 products based on GCN architecture will gain both features and performance in future DX11.2-compatible applications.

Ms. Mah implied that since graphics processor inside Xbox One is based on the GCN technology and will likely utilize DirectX 11.2 capabilities for performance and quality improvements, the existing graphics adapters should naturally support the same functionality.