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Intel turns to code translation to run old DirectX9 games on its newest GPUs

<em>Team Fortress 2</em> is one of several still-popular games that use the DirectX9 API instead of a more modern version.

Enlarge / Team Fortress 2 is one of several still-popular games that use the DirectX9 API instead of a more modern version. (credit: Valve)

Intel’s graphics marketing team is currently in the middle of an expectations-setting PR blitz around its upcoming Arc GPUs. Partly because of immature drivers, the new graphics cards generally perform much better in newer games using the DirectX12 and Vulkan APIs than they do in older DirectX and OpenGL games. The problem for Intel is that not all games use the latest APIs, especially competitive multiplayer titles that have been around for a while.

For older games using the DirectX9 API, the company has come up with a unique solution. Tom’s Hardware reports that Intel’s latest GPUs will no longer support DirectX9 natively, instead relying on a Microsoft-provided software translation layer called D3D9On12 to convert Direct3D9 API calls into Direct3D12 ones (Direct3D is the name for the 3D graphics-related parts of DirectX).

Intel’s support page, dated August 10, says that D3D9On12 will be used on all Arc GPUs and the integrated GPUs in 12th-generation Core processors. Despite being nearly identical to their 12th-gen counterparts, the integrated GPUs in 11th-generation CPUs will continue to support DirectX9 natively unless they’re in a PC with an Arc GPU present.

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