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Windows Phone 7 Series supports DirectX 9 and SM3

Windows Phone 7 Series supports DirectX 9 and SM3

A slide from a presentation about XNA at South by Southwest reveals the details about the GPU.

Microsoft unveiled its brand new, breaking-with-the-past mobile OS last month in the shape of Windows Phone 7 Series. At two events in the US this week, it’s shed light on the hardware the new software will run on.

As you’d expect for a smartphone, the CPU uses the ARM architecture, specifically the ARMv7. More interesting is the GPU. Microsoft is promising high levels of integration between Windows Phone 7 Series devices and the Xbox 360, but it's surprising just how much power Microsoft wants its new mobile phone to have. At MIX 10, a presentation showing details of the phone listed the GPU as providing ‘DirectX 9 acceleration’, while at South by Southwest (SXSW), in an XNA presentation, the phone’s GPU was claimed to support Shader Model 3.

The presence of SM3 would imply it’s DX9.0c the phone supports - meaning the GPU supports the same kind of features first popularised by PC GPUs such as the GeForce 6800, including HDR lighting and high levels of precision throughout the pipeline. While DirectX 10 and 11 are starting to appear in some new games, the vast majority still target DX9.0c, meaning that we could be seeing mobile games that are on a technical par with PC and console titles.

It seems hard to believe – the SXSW presentation gave the screen resolution as 800 x 480, which might be lower than that of a typical desktop or laptop, but it's hardly an insignificant amount of work for a GPU, especially when it’s running from a battery. More likely, the similarity of the mobile GPU with existing PC GPUs will make it easier to port code written for the Xbox 360 and PC to mobile devices, as well as meaning developers won’t have to learn a new graphics architecture to make a mobile game.

Windows Phone 7 Series supports DirectX 9 and SM3 Windows Phone 7 Series supports DirectX 9 and SM3

The SXSW presentation also shed a little more light on the level of Xbox 360 integration we can expect from Windows Phone 7 Series devices, with a slide promising shared leaderboards, achievements, gamerscore and Avatar access.

Excited by carrying around a DX9c GPU in your phone, or are you yet to be convinced by the idea of mobile gaming? Let us know your thoughts in the forums.

22 Comments

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FelixTech 15th March 2010, 23:48 Quote
Let's just hope they don't get too focused and exclude us non-xbox360-owners.
chrisb2e9 15th March 2010, 23:55 Quote
I'm willing to bet that they will. After all, they have a bit more interest in the xbox 360. Only makes sense to push people in that direction.
Zurechial 16th March 2010, 00:05 Quote
Wouldn't that imply a recompilation of DX9 for the ARM microarchitecture? I think we're likely to see some kind of DirectX 9 offshoot with a subset of the full DX9 features as opposed to 'real' DX9.

The proposed 800x480 WVGA resolution is already in use on some smartphones such as Sony Ericsson's Xperia series and in the case of the X1 and X2 the 528MHz ARM CPU of the device barely has the grunt to drive the WinMo 6.5 desktop at that resolution or play back the device's own recorded videos, nevermind render games with DX9 features!

I think Microsoft may be making devices for Phone 7 prohibitively expensive to both manufacture and buy to capture the kind of pricepoint they'll need to compete with Android and the iPhone.

All these efforts to tidy up the WinMo platform for this iteration of the OS are a step in the right direction, but I can't help but think that the decisions have been heavyhanded in places and 'too little, too late' overall.

===
Ooh! 1000th post!
wuyanxu 16th March 2010, 00:12 Quote
i want to know what GPU are they going to be using. is it going to be from Imagine Technologies? didn't see any DirectX based demonstration on Imagine's stand during career's fair.

looks like my personal career target will be ARM or Imagine tech.
javaman 16th March 2010, 00:12 Quote
Nokia Ngage anyone?
samkiller42 16th March 2010, 00:23 Quote
It could be an nvidia chip, i know nvidia have made ultra mobile chips for phones and PDA's.
Ah yes, i see it now " NVIDIA, the Way it's Meant to be Text"

Right, i shall get my coat....

Sam
ZERO <ibis> 16th March 2010, 00:28 Quote
The goal is probably to push phone users to the 360. Well if it works all that will happen is perhaps some opengl support on future android and then we will have some really interesting action in the phone market that I am sure will put a big grin on nvidia.
CowBlazed 16th March 2010, 00:47 Quote
I like everything so far, except xbox LIVE. Never cared about it never will, but I guess thats what people will have to put up with if they want some decent gaming on their phone.
wuyanxu 16th March 2010, 01:28 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by samkiller42
It could be an nvidia chip, i know nvidia have made ultra mobile chips for phones and PDA's.
Ah yes, i see it now " NVIDIA, the Way it's Meant to be Text"

Right, i shall get my coat....

Sam

lol.

the nVidia chip you speak of is Tegra, i don't believe it supports DirectX, only OpenGL ES.
docodine 16th March 2010, 05:39 Quote
Given how many people bought the original iPhone, this could be priced at $500 and still sell decently.

A cell phone with absolutely no lag in the interface and functions would be amazing, and I'm sure it'll be flashy etc.

I'd be down if someone released one with a hardware keyboard..
chrisb2e9 16th March 2010, 05:54 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by wuyanxu
lol.

the nVidia chip you speak of is Tegra, i don't believe it supports DirectX, only OpenGL ES.

I can understand why they would use the Tegra. As it currently powers the Zune. Or maybe the tegra 2 as it will be out later this year if I recall correctly.
l3v1ck 16th March 2010, 08:43 Quote
Why DX9 hardware? It's less efficient than DX10 as the pixel and vertex pipelines are fixed. DX10 hardware can run DX9 code, so why not make it DX10 hardware and release DX9 games for it?
crazyceo 16th March 2010, 09:08 Quote
doesn't the HTC HD2 use this res of 800 X 480? I don't have one but I've seen the size of the screen and if I was really bored I suppose I could play a game on a screen that size. If only my life wasn't this interesting.

Kudos to Microsoft for pushing the envelope yet again which I'm sure the rest will follow as always.
Jehla 16th March 2010, 09:25 Quote
Maybe I'm just getting old, but why would I want Dx9 on my mobile phone? I appreciate nice simple popcap style games on a mobile device, but I can't ever see me wanted to play doom on it...
[PUNK] crompers 16th March 2010, 11:18 Quote
steam app much? would be great to chat to steam friends on your phone
Instagib 16th March 2010, 11:36 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jehla
Maybe I'm just getting old, but why would I want Dx9 on my mobile phone? I appreciate nice simple popcap style games on a mobile device, but I can't ever see me wanted to play doom on it...
I've got a port of the original doom on my n900. I never play it as the controls are horrific. Games like that are good ideas, poorly executed.
Darkedge 16th March 2010, 12:38 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by crazyceo
doesn't the HTC HD2 use this res of 800 X 480?

Yup and with the 1ghz Snapdragon it's damn snappy and fine on winmo 6.5. Lovely phone, shame most likely it won't run WP7 as that needs dx9 graphics accelleration.
tron 16th March 2010, 13:23 Quote
Looking forward to some 'proper' mobile gaming on a WP7 handset :)
TSR2 16th March 2010, 19:11 Quote
But can it play Crysis?
supermonkey 16th March 2010, 19:20 Quote
An honest question - what will this mean for potential battery life? Will the graphical enhancements come at a cost to battery life, or will the effect be negligible over time?

EDIT: I see that the article hints at battery life toward the end, but I thought it was worthy of further discussion, since it's a pretty important feature in the hand-held market.
speedfreek 17th March 2010, 15:51 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by supermonkey
An honest question - what will this mean for potential battery life? Will the graphical enhancements come at a cost to battery life, or will the effect be negligible over time?

EDIT: I see that the article hints at battery life toward the end, but I thought it was worthy of further discussion, since it's a pretty important feature in the hand-held market.
It will probably give you up to a day of medium use, that is how they size the batteries so they can get you to buy the extended life one. Every WinMo phone I have ever had has been like this.

Who needs 360 support on their phone? Just another iphone, nothing new, just repackaged (at least there will be models with a physical keyboard.)
kenco_uk 17th March 2010, 16:34 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by TSR2
But can it play Crysis?

And I was beginning to lose hope..

woo! \o/ yay!
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