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(programming, hardware)
A Microsoft programming interface standard, first included with Windows 95. DirectX gives (games) programmers a standard way to gain direct access to enhanced hardware features under Windows 95 instead of going via the Windows 95 GDI. Some DirectX code runs faster than the equivalent under MS DOS.

DirectX promises performance improvements for graphics, sound, video, 3D, and network capabilites of games, but only where both hardware and software support DirectX.

DirectX 2 introduced the Direct3D interface. Version 5 was current at 1998-02-01. Version 8.1 is included in Windows XP.

Latest version: 8.1 (as of 2001-12-31).


A set of Windows interfaces from Microsoft for programming graphics and sound. Windows developers program to the DirectX APIs, and the manufacturers of sound and graphics cards write DirectX drivers to be included with their hardware. DirectX provides a high-level interface for accessing low-level functions "directly." It accesses the hardware abstraction layer in Windows (see HAL).

The first DirectX API was introduced in late 1995 to encourage game developers to move their software to Windows. Before DirectX, games for the PC were written in DOS in order to redraw the screen fast enough for real-time animation. To obtain the speed, gaming companies had to write drivers for a variety of graphics cards, which was a development headache.

A Single Graphics Interface for Windows
DirectX provides the interface to access the frame buffer and advanced features of the graphics card, which are not provided in the standard Windows GDI graphics interface. When DirectX was introduced, vendors quickly developed drivers that exposed low-level functions of their graphics hardware to the application.

Emulate Graphics Functions in Software
Through the Hardware Emulation Layer (HEL), DirectX is capable of emulating graphics functions in software that are not built into the graphics card. See graphics pipeline.

Which DirectX Version Is Running?
To determine which version of DirectX is installed in your PC, select Run from the Start menu, type in dxdiag and click OK. Look under System Information for the DirectX Version number. See DirectX 10, DirectX 11, GDI, video accelerator and DirectSound.

DirectXInterface      Purpose

 DirectCompute  GPGPU computing

 DirectDraw     2D graphics

 Direct3D       3D graphics

 DirectSound    audio

 DirectSound3D  game audio

 DirectPlay     multi-player games

 DirectInput    game input

 DirectVoice    game audio chat

 DirectShow     streaming media

 DirectVideo    earlier video API
References in periodicals archive ?
Dome theaters have waited a long time for digital projection technology to evolve to a capable solution that can rival or exceed the quality of 70 mm, said Don Kempf president and founder of D3D.
While D3D is the latest generation of holographic display, it is underpinned by over four years of print holography in the hands of Warfighters downrange.
Art Mercurio, VP of Technology at D3D Cinema, adds: "As a 3D system integrator, we're particularly excited about the light levels that lasers can achieve.
I can now happily invite my giant screen colleagues to come and see firsthand what D3D, Christie and Infitec are capable of delivering on an 80 foot screen.
This is the game-changing milestone that the museum giant screen industry has longed to achieve for many years," said Don Kempf, president and founder of D3D Cinema.
Certain statements in this press release including, but not limited to, statements as to the features, uses, capabilities and performance of NVIDIA MAXtreme 9 D3D and POWERdraft 2007 drivers are forward-looking statements that are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause results to be materially different than expectations.
NVIDIA's proven graphics performance and outstanding OpenGL and D3D driver support has made NVIDIA the performance standard in the PC graphics market," said Barlow Blake, vice president of marketing at CG2.
The game has been optimized for both D3D and Glide acceleration, as well as providing a software-only mode.
Initial testing of a sample Xtreme 166 accelerator shows at least a 21% performance increase over existing Savage4 accelerators in every D3D and OpenGL-based benchmark we've tested," said Dean McCarron, principal analyst at Mercury Research and an editor of www.
It's obvious that the V5's 2x anti-aliasing is comparable to the GeForce 2's Maximum D3D anti-aliasing, and painfully obvious that the 4x FSAA of the V5 smokes everything else.
NVIDIA has finally implemented D3D FSAA on their board, but after hours of comparison, we have to say that NVIDIA's FSAA doesn't beat 3dfx in an 'apples-to-apples' comparison," Shah concluded.