NVIDIA has released a new driver update that adds support for Microsoft's DirectX 12 Ultimate framework. Announced earlier this year, the collection of developer APIs unifies support for several next-generation rendering techniques, including ray tracing, variable-rate shading (VRS), mesh shaders and sampler feedback.
A lot of DirectX 12's marquee features were already available on RTX GPUs either through existing DirectX 12 APIs or custom frameworks created by NVIDIA. In Wolfenstein: Youngblood, for instance, developer MachineGames used the company's Adaptive Shading technology to add VRS to its co-operative first-person shooter. There are a couple of noteworthy additions, including support for Microsoft's latest DirectX Raytracing (DXR) 1.1 API -- which will help make it easier for developers to optimize ray tracing performance in their games. But for the most part, DirectX 12 Ultimate is a branding exercise that will help consumers know whether the GPU they're about to buy will make the latest games look their best. The way NVIDIA sees it, DirectX 12 Ultimate "codifies GeForce RTX's innovative technologies as the standard for multi-platform, next-gen games."
That said, that doesn't mean RTX owners shouldn't be excited about DirectX 12 Ultimate. Even if you don't factor in ray tracing, each of the other hardware features supported by the framework will improve your gaming experience. To return to VRS, for example, NVIDIA says the technique can improve performance in Wolfenstein: Youngblood by as much as 20 percent. Other features such as mesh shaders have just as much potential. And now that they're supported across the board, they'll become more commonplace.
Besides DirectX 12 Ultimate compatibility, NVIDIA's latest drivers include support for a feature called GPU scheduling. Microsoft says it can reduce latency and improve performance. Provided you have Windows 10's May update installed on your PC, you can enable GPU Scheduling by navigating to the Graphics section of the Settings menu. The update also adds support for nine new GSync-compatible displays.
You can download NVIDIA's latest GeForce drivers directly from the company's website or through the GeForce Experience app.