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Microsoft Expands DirectX 12 Ultimate to more Windows Versions with DirectX 12 Agility SDK

DirectX 12 Agility allows developers to extend the capabilities of DirectX 12 Ultimate to older versions of Windows 10.


's DirectX 12 Ultimate API arrived in 2020 to give gamers access to a host of new graphics features, such as Variable Rate Shading (VS), Sampler Feedback, Mesh Shaders, and DirectX Raytracing (DXR). Microsoft is now making the API available to a wider range of users.

Since launch DirectX 12 Ultimate has only been available to users running Windows 10 20H1 (May 2020 Update) or newer. Because of this limited availability, developers have been cool on creating for the new API is fewer people are using it.

To stir developer interest, Microsoft is launching this week the DirectX 12 Agility SDK. While it is like DX12 Ultimate, the Agility SDK works with older Windows 10 versions. Specifically, including the November 2019 update.


That covers most of the Windows 10 versions Microsoft currently supports and includes most users on the platform. It seems major developers are already seeing the benefits of the DirectX 12 Agility SDK and will use it to bring the power of DirectX 12 Ultimate to games.

Nick Penwarden, Vice President, Engineering, Epic Games, had the following to say:

“Our collaboration with Microsoft on the DirectX 12 Agility SDK enables us to easily implement forward-looking Unreal Engine features, and the new distribution model makes them quickly available to our developer and player communities.”

Microsoft says the new SDK is fully compatible with DirectX 12 Ultimate. That includes with the new HLSL Shader Model 6.6 that was announced this week with the following new features:

  • New Atomic Operations,
  • Dynamic Resources,
  • Helper Lane Detection,
  • Quad-based derivative operations,
  • Pack and Unpack Intrinsics,
  • WaveSize, and
  • Raytracing Payload Access Qualifiers.

If you want to know more about the DirectX Agility SDK and how it relates to DX12 Ultimate, check out Microsoft's blog here.

Tip of the day:

Fast startup (a.k.a hiberboot, hybrid boot, hybrid shutdown) is a power setting that adjusts the OS' behavior when it starts up and shuts down. Though it is unlikely fast startup will seriously harm your computer, there are a few reasons you might want to disable it following our tutorial.

Luke Jones
Luke Jones
Luke has been writing about all things tech for more than five years. He is following Microsoft closely to bring you the latest news about Windows, Office, Azure, Skype, HoloLens and all the rest of their products.