At its GamesFest event in Redmond today, Microsoft shared the first details of DirectX 11 – the numerically superior successor to DirectX 10.1 – which will feature full support for Windows Vista, as well as future versions of the popular operating system. Worried about hardware? DirectX 11 won't just ignore your fancy DirectX 10 or 10.1 cards – nope, it offers support for both of those standards, as well as for new DirectX 11 hardware.
But what's new and exciting about DirectX 11, you ask incredulously. How about a "new compute shader technology" that gets your GPU ready to do more than just boring old 3D graphics – instead "developers can take advantage of the graphics card as a parallel processor"? Not doing it for you? How about "multi-threaded resource handling that will allow games to better take advantage of multi-core machines" since, y'know, most every computer nowadays has multiple cores? Or "support for tessellation" which allows "developers to refine models to be smoother and more attractive when seen up close"? Something in there has to tickle your fancy.
What it probably means for most of you is this: as hardware manufacturers develop new chipsets to take advantage of DirectX 11's new features, you should be able to snag some of that older 10.1 gear for a song.