GPU Computing and Windows 7

GPU Computing and Windows 7

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As we discussed in our earlier blog, at the core of Windows 7 for the first time is the inclusion of the graphics processing unit (GPU) for computing. The GPU is no longer just for graphics. In Windows 7, the CPU and the GPU create a co-processing environment. As a result, Windows 7 PCs with the right balance of CPU and GPU offer a faster, more visual Windows 7 experience.

NVIDIA’s President and CEO, Jen-Hsun Huang talked about GPU Computing in Windows 7 during a keynote presentation at Computex 2009.

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What makes this co-processing possible is one of the most significant additions Windows 7 brings: DirectCompute. DirectCompute enables applications in Windows 7 to take advantage of GPU Computing to accelerate applications. DirectCompute will be distributed as part of the DirectX 11 API and is fully supported by NVIDIA’s current lineup of DirectX 10 GPUs. Murray Vince, General Manager of the OEM Division at Microsoft was at Computex to discuss the new DirectCompute API in Windows 7.

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DirectCompute will enable great consumer visual and interactive experiences such as new high-quality video and photo entertainment, simplified ways to interact with your devices, faster, more responsive PCs, and even new realistic gaming effects. DirectCompute is accelerated by today’s 200 million+ DirectX 10 GPUs and future DirectX 11 GPUs.

Below is an example of the co-processing environment (CPU + GPU) in Windows 7 for applications that operate primarily on sequential (or serial) codes, such as email, office applications (like Word), and basic web browsing. In this case, the CPU does the majority of the application processing and the GPU is used to display the graphics on the screen.


The second example below demonstrates the co-processing environment (CPU + GPU) in Windows 7 for applications that take advantage of parallel  processing, such as video playback, video editing, video conversion, and PC gaming. In this case, DirectCompute is used to leverage the processing power of the GPU to dramatically accelerate the application processing speed.


Windows 7 is also well positioned to be the new ultimate power gaming platform. Next generation PC Games are moving towards much more dynamic and immersive worlds that literally come to life: walls can be torn down, glass can be shattered, trees bend in the wind, and water flows with body and force. The ability to transform static environments into dynamic, physical worlds is powered by GPU computing. By performing the physics calculations on the GPU, game developers can offer real-time effects that have never been seen before. The following is an example of next generation game effects using DirectCompute to perform a real-time dynamic ocean simulation demo.

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The incredible looking wave crests are made possible by using DirectCompute to perform the Fast Fourier transform calculations on the GPU and bring this demo to life. This is a great example of new realism that GPU Computing will bring to next generation games for Windows 7.

DirectCompute will be distributed as part of the DirectX 11 API and is fully supported by NVIDIA’s current lineup of DirectX 10 GPUs.

Windows developers who are interested in learning more about developing with DirectCompute and NVIDIA GPUs can get more information here. Consumers already running a GeForce GPU with Windows 7 can download the new WHQL-certified drivers supporting DirectCompute directly from

We look forward to showing more examples of the power of GPU Computing and DirectCompute.

Chris Daniel
Product Manager for Software at NVIDIA

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  • Sounds nice, So would this technology be used to speed up video encoding/conversion?

  • @7flavor, I know for certain that DirectX 11 is coming to Vista. What I don't know is the when, but I would hope it is by the release of Windows 7.

    Brandon, would you know around when DirectX 11 will be available for Vista?

  • 7flavor
    352 Posts

    So will MS deliver DirectX 11 for Vista around end of its lifecycle?

  • Drazick, my apologies. Silverlight is very easy to install however and works on multiple platforms.

    Velo Steve - great question. Let me pass this on to NVIDIA.

  • What about using the GPU for non-graphics related processing?  For example, I am thinking of long-running simulation programs which may have little to no graphical output.

  • Drazick
    16 Posts

    Too bad you use Silverlight.

    Couldn't watch the videos.