To upgrade to Windows 11, you need to have a GPU or integrated graphics unit that supports DirectX 12. This affects many models, more than some might imagine. But how do you know if your current machine is compatible or if you need to update certain elements? We will explain everything to you.
In the field of video games, DirectX is a benchmark. It is a programming interface (API) provided to developers to make their lives easier, on PC and in the Xbox ecosystem. It has several components, the main one being Direct3D. But there are many others: Direct2D, DirectCompute, DirectWrite, DirectML, etc.
In 2014, Microsoft introduced DirectX 12, whose version of Direct3D was largely inspired by AMD’s work on its own in-house API, Mantle. It was presented as “lower level”, allowing developers to have more control, to seek more performance with less dependence on the central processor (CPU).
Since then, it has continued to evolve with the introduction of new levels of functionality. The most recent was introduced last year as DirectX 12 Ultimate, which is run by the latest GeForce and Radeon. With Windows 11, Microsoft will make DirectX 12 support mandatory, which may leave some (very) old machines in the cold. Here is a little guide to help you see if you are concerned or not.
Which graphics cards are DirectX 12 compatible?
Let’s start with AMD and NVIDIA. For the first, DirectX 12 compatibility began with the GCN (Graphic Core Next) architecture, i.e. the Radeon HD 7000 (launched in 2012) and higher models: 200 to 500 series, Fury, Nano, Vega, RX 5000 (RDNA ) and RX 6000 (RDNA 2), etc. So that’s a lot of people.
As for the GeForces, this dates from the Fermi architecture (launched in 2009), which began with the GeForce GTX 400. As a reminder, the latter were entitled to their first DirectX 12 driver late on.
Be careful, however, in both cases, manufacturers currently only offer Windows 10 drivers for later models: at NVIDIA, the 471.11 released this week only support GeForce GTX from version 600. At AMD , the 21.6.1s released to add Fidelity FX Super Resolution (FSR) support begin with the Radeon RX 400s, while the 21.5.2s started with the HD 7700s.
Let’s finish with Intel, whose processors with a graphics part manage DirectX 12 since Haswell (2013), that is to say the Celeron 2000 series processors, the Pentium 3000 and the 4th generation Core. Here too, you will have to pay attention to the drivers provided for Windows 11 since the latest branch 30.0 only manages the Core from the 6th generation.
DirectX 12 / WDDM 2.0: check your compatibility
To find out if your system is compatible with DirectX 12, nothing could be simpler: open the Start menu and type
dxdiag. This will open the DirectX diagnostic tool which will tell you in the Display tab the version of Direct3D and the supported functionality levels. You will also have the driver model (WDDM).
Windows 11 requires a driver using at least version 2.0 of WDDM.