Here’s one I didn’t quite see coming. Microsoft is working on allowing Direct3D 10 and 10.1 to run off of the processor, rather than require integrated or discrete graphics. The idea is to use the CPU to push out ample graphics performance to allow basic operation of Windows, in addition to light gaming, and I do mean light.
What that means for Microsoft is a potential end to the Vista-capable debacle. If Aero, or whatever the Windows 7 equivalent is called, could run off of the CPU, then the problem simply vanishes. According to them, this “WARP 10” system can run off of a CPU with an 800MHz frequency, which technically shows that the faster the CPU, the better the graphics performance.
According to the article, this technology proved to be even faster than Intel’s current integrated offering, but the results are a little hard to settle on. The test machine used was an eight-core Core i7 machine, which is a lot of power. If WARP 10 took full advantage of the spare CPU cycles and still only achieved a 2FPS increase over Intel’s integrated solution, then I don’t think there’s a reason to get excited right now.
The most important thing would be to gain enough graphics power to enable the special OS features. As long as that happens, then we can honestly say Microsoft made a smart development move.
(Picture this, but at -1 FPS)
Of course, software rendering on a single desktop CPU isn’t going to be able to compete with decent dedicated 3D graphics cards when it comes to high-end games, but Microsoft has released some interesting benchmarks that show the system to be quicker than Intel’s current integrated DirectX 10 graphics.