Microsoft Brings VSR Support to DirectX 12

Nvidia supports the feature in-hardware and Intel will support it next-gen.

Microsoft Brings VSR Support to DirectX 12

Microsoft Brings VRS Support to DirectX 12

The idea behind Variable Rate Shading (VRS) is simple, maximise game performance by reducing the shading rate of areas where additional shading is unnecessary. If implemented well, this feature can significantly reduce the GPU cost of rendering certain scenes, resulting in higher framerates and better performance on low-end hardware.  

So far, only Nvidia supports VRS in hardware, with the feature arriving with the company's Turing architecture, though Intel plans to deliver the feature with their Gen11 graphics hardware. Strangely, AMD is absent from Microsoft's announcement, which means that none of their current-generation hardware supports the function. At this time it is unknown whether or not Navi supports VRS, as it is possible that AMD doesn't want to reveal any details about their next-generation graphics hardware at this time. 

In their first example, Microsoft stated that they could render a scene in Civilization VI 14% faster using VRS, challenging readers of their announcement to spot the difference. Better still, Microsoft has also added the ability to use VRS in reverse, increasing shading in areas that allow games to deliver higher quality visuals. 

Below, you can see an image of Civilization VI, where the blue represents a lower shading rate of 2x2 while the red represents a higher shading rate of 1x1. 

Microsoft Brings VSR Support to DirectX 12  

By implementing support for VRS into DirectX 12, Microsoft is enabling developers to quickly take advantage of the features of modern graphics cards, though it is likely to take multiple hardware generations for this feature to become widespread enough to become a must-use feature for developers. Even so, the promise of more performance within DirectX 12 is a tantalising one, with Microsoft confirming that several developers and publishers are working to integrate this technology into their games. 

This list includes Ubisoft, Massive Entertainment, Unity, Epic Games, IO Interactive, Turn 10 Studios, Playground Games and 343 Industries. Given the presence of three Microsoft first party studios within this list, it is probable that we will see support for this feature within Microsoft's next-generation Xbox console. This, in turn, suggests that AMD next-generation GPU offerings will also support this feature, given the likelihood that the next generation of consoles will be powered by AMD/Radeon hardware. 

Microsoft Brings VSR Support to DirectX 12

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Most Recent Comments

18-03-2019, 14:01:57

AMD filed a patent for their implementation of VSR back in August 2017, so yeah Navi seems likely, but it's certainly just a question of when rather than if, as with many of Turing's DirectX extension features.Quote

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