SOFTWARE REDEVELOPER Microsoft claims that Windows 8 will boast improved 2D and 3D graphics performance.
Microsoft's upcoming Windows 8 operating system will see the firm push 2D graphics acceleration as part of its efforts to make the Marmite Metro interface provide a good user experience. The firm has detailed some of the work it has done to improve graphics performance, claiming that Direct2D will bring anything from a 131 per cent to 336 per cent frame rate increase when rendering things like the user interface button labels and titles and headings.
Rob Copeland, group program manager of Microsoft's graphics team said Direct2D will use fewer CPU cycles on tessellation through the use of Target Independent Rasterisation (TIR). Copeland said GPUs designed for Windows 8 that support DirectX 11.1, which include AMD's Radeon HD 7000 series cards and Nvidia's Kepler cards, will support TIR.
On low power systems, Copeland said Windows 8 will resort to using lower precision arithmetic that shouldn't impact real-world image quality but will reduce power consumption. Interestingly, while AMD and Nvidia almost always claim that doing calculations on the GPU will increase battery life, Copeland said Windows 8 will "effectively balance work between CPU and the GPU" for snappiness.
Most of the improvements Copeland mentioned related to the Metro user interface, but general improvements to tasks such as rendering JPEG and PNG files include greater use of SIMD units on CPUs. Copeland claimed the changes in Windows 8 result in a 40 per cent decrease from Windows 7 in the time taken to display 64 images.
Microsoft's Windows 8 operating system is scheduled to go on sale on 26 October. µ