Intel drops DirectX 9 support for its GPUs

DirectX 9

All good things come to an end. And for a while, DirectX 9 was about as good as it got. Released all the way back in 2002 this version of the multimedia API introduced a number of key new features.

Including the use of much longer pixel and vertex shader programs.

Of course, while the technology was widely used on Windows 9, Me, and XP, and is supported by all subsequent versions of the operating system, it has been long superseded by newer versions of DirectX that Microsoft has since unleashed.

This vintage technology, then, all ready for sunset, which is why Intel has decided that it will not support DirectX 9 on its hardware natively.

It has confirmed that it has dropped native DirectX 9 or Direct3D 9 on its Xe graphics architecture. This is, of course, the graphics architecture brand that Intel introduced with its 11th gen Tiger Lake chips and continues to use on its processors.

The upcoming Arc lineup of discrete graphics, for example, is based on the Xe HPG variation.

Anyway, the chip maker notes in a support document:

“12th generation Intel processor’s integrated GPU and Arc discrete GPU no longer support D3D9 natively. Applications and games based on DirectX 9 can still work through Microsoft* D3D9On12 interface.

The integrated GPU on 11th generation and older Intel processors supports DX9 natively, but they can be combined with Arc graphics cards. If so, rendering is likely to be handled by the card and not the iGPU (unless the card is disabled). Thus, the system will be using DX9On12 instead of DX9.”

Dropping support does not mean that old games and programs that make use of this vintage API will no longer run on this modern Intel hardware.

Intel assures that games and applications based on its can still run using the D3D9On12 mapping layer. What this means is that instead of natively supporting DirectX 9, newer Intel graphics hardware will rely on this conveniently named interface to emulate these games.

And although the company does not explicitly state that its upcoming 13th gen Raptor Lake line of CPUs will lack DX9 support, the scenario seems pretty certain.

Raptor Lake is, after all, expected to be based on the Xe LP architecture.