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Nvidia GeForce RTX graphics cards are now the first Directo 12 ultimate GPUs

Nvidia launched its latest game driver ready for GeForce graphics cards on Tuesday. We don’t normally cover the hot-and-heavy world of driver graphics releases (just keep them updated, okay?), But this one features a notable milestone: Game Ready Driver 451.48 is fully Directo 12 ultimate compliant, meaning Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 20-series graphics is the first hardware to support Microsoft’s next graphics API.

While it’s remarkable, it’s no surprise. Directo 12 Ultimate unifies graphical support across PCs and the upcoming Xbox X Series, rolling in features such as an updated version of Microsoft’s DXR radius plot API, variable rate shadow level 2, mesh shaders, and sample feedback. Most of these technologies appeared first in Nvidia’s “Turing” graphics card — the RTX 20-series and GTX 16-series — but they weren’t seen often in games, as they were limited to Nvidia hardware.

Now that they’re enrolling in the new DX12 Ultimate standard via console and GPU PC looks, expect the features to be more traction. Microsoft calls the unified API “a force multiplier for the entire gaming ecosystem.”

It’s also the justification for Nvidia’s design decision for its latest graphics card architecture. You can learn more at our Turing GPU deep-dive if you’re curious, and more about the specific features of our coverage in the Directo 12 Ultimate ad. They are diligent.

Future AMD Radeon GPUs will no doubt also support DirectX 12 Ultimate, because the company’s RDNA graphics power architecture Xbox One X and the plot rail were confirmed for RDNA2 graphics cards to launch later this year. Offering actual Radeon lacks ray rail capability, however.

Speaking of the latest APIs, Nvidia’s new driver also rolled out full support for Vulkan 1.2.

Hardware-accelerated GPU scheduling, new G-sync compatible monitors

This is not all. Nvidia’s latest game drivers also let your existing hardware perform new tricks.

A new hardware-accelerated GPU scheduling feature might be even more exciting at the user level than Directo 12 Ultimate, at least for now. Microsoft has added the feature of Windows 10 2020 Update May (also needed for DX12 Ultimate), and this driver unlocks Nvidia’s support. Hardware-accelerated GPU scheduling but VRAM management on the graphics card itself, rather than having Windows handle the reins.

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