Intel Demos Massive Power Saving And Performance Boost With DirectX 12 On Integrated Graphics

Intel might not be the first vendor name to come to mind when the subject of DirectX 12 is brought up, but at the ongoing SIGGRAPH conference in Vancouver, the company wants us to know that it's very much in the game.

Making use of a Microsoft Surface Pro 3 tablet, which is thermally-controlled to mimic 10 - 15 minutes of gametime, DX 11 to DX 12 gains are demonstrated - and the results are downright impressive. Intel's demo is an asteroid field, which it says involves a total of 50,000 fully unique asteroids. In DirectX 11 mode, the demo peaks at 19 FPS. With the hit of a button, DirectX 12 mode is enabled, boosting performance to 33 FPS.

Here's the DirectX 11 screenshot:

Intel DirectX 12 SIGGRAPH Astroids Demo - DX11

And here's the boost seen from switching to DirectX 12:

Intel DirectX 12 SIGGRAPH Astroids Demo - Performance

In DirectX 11 mode, the power between the CPU and the GPU are about even, as the first-half of the blue/red graph in the shot above shows. Once DirectX 12 is enabled, the CPU power requirements go down, and so the GPU is allowed to do more work, resulting in much higher framerates. The key thing to note here is that both modes stay within the termal and power constraints of the device. The biggest reason for the gain is that DX 12 allows for multi-threaded rendering, an efficiency gain that results in the GPU being able to do more.

In this same demo, Intel has a power-saving mode that shows just how power-efficient DirectX 12 can be. In the shot below, the DX 11 run can be seen in the first-half of the graph, while the DX 12 run is in the latter. Throughout the entire demo, the framerate is locked to the same value, so with the simple switch to DX 12, the overall system power dramatically decreases, yet the GPU still gets a slight boost.

Intel DirectX 12 SIGGRAPH Astroids Demo - Power

Obviously, such gains could be a boon to mobile users. It's simple logic, but if the CPU and GPU are able to use half of the power at the same framerate, then battery-life could be dramatically improved while gaming. That is, for games that support the DX 12 API, at least.

This might be Intel's demo, but the gains seen here are likely going to be typical of what AMD and NVIDIA solutions will experience as well. That's pretty exciting.