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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 ?
Fix for lock* ups reported on loading into battle in DirectX9.
According to Microsoft, the minimum hardware requirements for the new operating system are: a 1 GHz or faster processor; 1 GB RAM (32-bit) or 2GB RAM (64-bit); 16 GB available disk space; a DirectX9 graphics processor with 128MB of memory.
Falanx Microsystems' pre-verified, in-house developed software stack supports Java and C/C++ applications, with interoperability guaranteed through the support of standard APIs such as Microsoft DirectX9, Direct3D Mobile, OpenMax, OpenVG, OpenGL ES 1.
0, Smart 2D display technology, MPEG-2 and Microsoft DirectX9 and DirectX10 support.
0, along with advanced DSP and general multimedia acceleration via OpenGL(R) ES, OpenVG and DirectX9 among other APIs.
A set of Emulation libraries which allow OpenGL ES and Direct3D Mobile applications to run directly on any Desktop PC with an OpenGL and DirectX9 compliant graphics accelerator.
Developed out of France by Kylotonn, Bet on Soldier takes full advantage of the latest in DirectX9 graphics and rendering, fully utilizing pixel and vertex shaders, advanced specular effects, and the Kt proprietary physics engine.
5 Improved OpenGL performance - comparable to that of DirectX9 - will be possible thanks to a new OpenGL 1.