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Differences Between DX9 and DX10

DirectX_logo_pdDX9 vs DX10

It is just as certain that gamers know about DirectX as much as they know about frags and world realms. Visual and overall sensory experiences are as important to them as gameplay. Some may even favor more realistic visuals than game performance.

Application Programming Iinterfaces, or simply called APIs, are needed for handling functions in relation to multimedia, video, and game programming. Microsoft DirectX is a collection of APIs for applications on a Microsoft PC, and other related gaming platforms.

There are in fact many types of APIs, and they are prefixed with ‘Direct’ (e.g. DirectDraw, DirectPlay, DirectSound, DirectMusic, Direct3D, and so on). The collection was thus named with an X, as in DirectX, wherein X signifies any particular name of the API.

Two of the newer DirectX (DX) versions were the DX9 and DX10, and we will try to shed some light on their differences.

The initial phase of the DX9 was released on December 19, 2002, and it was followed by the versions 9.0a, 9.0b, and 9.0c. The 9.0a and 9.0b were released close to each other’s dates, in 2003. The 9.0c was eventually developed for Windows XP service pack 2 and 3, Windows Server 2003 SP1, Windows Server 2003 R2 and for the console Xbox 360. It should be mentioned that the service pack 3 DX9 came out much later, in 2008.

The initial DX10 was actually released about one and a half years before the DX9.0c for service pack 3. The DX10’s initial release was Windows Vista exclusive. The next follow up for the DX10 was for the Windows Vista Service Pack 1 and Windows Server 2008. A DX10 for the Windows Vista Service Pack 2 was soon to follow. The latter two releases included Direct3D 10.1.

DX9 is already considered excellent in today’s standards. Its code path is truly impressive and noticeably attractive. When it came out, people are just raving about its capabilities. However, in these times of constant improvement and innovations, it is easy to supplant products with newer ones, as the introduction of the DX10 simply put the DX9 into a dark corner.

Hands down, the graphics quality that the DX10 generates in Vista is remotely better than its earlier counterpart. Vista may perform adequately with the DX9, but user visual experience, especially among gamers, is almost cinematic with the DX10 in Vista. Sadly, the DX10 won’t function correctly in Windows XP, as it needs a driver model that present in Vista, and later Windows OS.

In the DX10, the particle effects and lighting is truly staggering, and it works suitably for many of the visually demanding games.


1. The first DX9 was introduced in December 2002, while the DX10’s first release was in November 2006.
2. The initial release of the DX10 was made exclusively for Windows Vista, and was later followed up with Vista SP1 and SP2, as well as, Windows Server 2008.
3. The DX9 has various sub-versions as well – the 9.0a, 9.0b, and 9.0c. The DX9.0c has several versions too.
4. The DX9 mainly considers the Windows XP operating system, while the DX10 won’t operate correctly for Windows XP.
5. The DX10 for Vista provides more visual quality, and almost a cinematic experience.
6. The DX10 is impressive in its own right, but the DX9 is left it in the dust.

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