DirectX 12 is the newest, most advanced graphics API in a long time, and it offers game and application developers incredibly low-level access to the resources of your gaming rig's CPU and graphics components. In previous years, with the popularity of DirectX 9, 10, and 11, AMD and Nvidia — Big Red and Big Green — traded blows with the release of each new flagship graphics card. Nvidia is currently enjoying dominance with its GTX 980 Ti and Titan X. But in an early test of Windows 10 and DirectX 12, a last-generation AMD card smashes its more powerful Nvidia rival.
In a test on Ars Technica run between a last-generation AMD Radeon R9 290X (a top-of-the-line mainstream card, with up to 8GB of GDDR5 RAM and a 1000MHz-clocked 28Nm Hawaii XT processor) and a current-gen Nvidia GeForce GTX 980 Ti (a top-of-the-line enthusiast card, with 6GB of GDDR5 RAM and a 1000MHz-clocked 28Nm GM200 processor), the AMD card gets a massive boost moving to the new DirectX 12 code in Ashes Of The Singularity where the Nvidia card actually loses out versus DX11.
That means at higher resolutions like 4K, the AMD R9 290X actually beats the GTX 980 Ti frame-for-frame. Which is incredible for an older card, built on a much older architecture. It's likely that the underlying changes within DirectX 12 are to thank (or to blame, depending on which brand you back more) for the AMD card's success. This may mark a big turning point in the AMD versus Nvidia battle that has been raging since time immemorial. For a full breakdown of what is a genuinely surprising result, head to Ars. [Ars Technica]