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Multi-GPU Support

Although Windows Vista already supports multi-GPUs, Windows 7 will feature improved support for multi-GPUs. In Microsoft Windows 7, multi-GPU support falls into two broad categories :

  • Homogeneous multi-adapter
    the PC has multiple graphics adapters that use the same graphics drivers.

  • Heterogeneous multi-adapter
    the PC has multiple graphics adapters that use multiple graphics drivers.


Homogenous Configurations

In a homogeneous multi-adapter configuration, the PC has more than one graphics adapter but all adapters use the same graphics driver. Here are two examples :

  • Two identical cards from the same graphics hardware vendor, e.g. two ATI Radeon HD 4870 cards, each in an x16 PCIe slot.

  • Two different cards from the same graphics hardware vendor, e.g. an NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GTS in an x16 slot and an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 285 in a second x16 slot.

The type of bus or interface used by the graphics cards - PCIe, AGP, or PCI - is irrelevant. The graphics adapters can all be on the same bus or they can be on different buses. The key point is that all graphics adapters use the same graphics driver.


Heterogenous Configurations

In a heterogeneous multi-adapter configuration, the PC has more than one graphics adapter and they use more than one graphics drivers. A common example is the use of graphics adapters from two different manufacturers, each of which requires a different graphics driver from the respective manufacturer.

Windows 7 supports heterogeneous multi-adapter configurations, whereas Windows Vista does not. In Windows 7, a system can have a heterogeneous multi-adapter configuration, with multiple GPUs that require different WDDM drivers. The WDDM model for Windows Vista required that all display adapters use the same driver.


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Windows 7 & Direct3D 10


Desktop Windows Manager (DWM)
DirectX 10-Level-9


Remote Rendering
Direct2D API


Direct3D 11 Introduction
Compute Shader


New DirectX 11 Features For The Compute Shader
   - Explicit Thread Dispatch
   - Random Access I/O (Scatter)
   - Interthread Communications That Use Locally Shared Registers
   - Ability To Read And Sample DirectX Data Objects
   - Atomic Operators On Shared Memory Locations


Supported Configurations For The Compute Shader
Target Applications For The Compute Shader


3D Graphics Improvements In Direct3D 11
   - Use of multiple CPU cores
   - Tessellation
   - High-level shading language
   - Cross-platform development with the XBox 360 platform


Additional Direct3D 11 Features
   - Improved Texture Compression
   - Shader Model 5.0
   - Stream Output Flexibility
   - Depth Buffer Capabilities


Multi-GPU Support
   - Homogenous Configurations
   - Heterogenous Configurations


Linked Display Adapters
Multi-GPU & Aero Glass
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