Microsoft has announced the details of its new DirectX version; to ensure full support one need not only to install Service Pack 1 for Windows Vista but may also need to replace a graphics card. Contemporary graphics accelerators from Nvidia GeForce 8800 and AMD/ATI Radeon 2900 may not support all the new features added to Direct3D 10.1. The features of DirectX 10.1 include incremental improvements to 3D rendering quality. As for the innovations, among them are 32-bit floating-point operations (instead of 16-bit ones, used today by default) and obligatory support of 4x FSAA.
Microsoft's Sam Glassenberg did however note that "DirectX 10.1 fully supports DirectX 10 hardware. No hardware support is being removed. It's strictly a superset. It's basically an update to DirectX 10 that extends the hardware functionality slightly." Glassenberg says DirectX 10.1 will be fully compatible with all graphics cards supporting DirectX 10. All the company wants to do now is to increase the API life cycle. Sam confirmed that existing graphics cards may still not be able to use all the new features of DirectX 10.1 but also stressed that applications designed specifically for DirectX 10.1 are very unlikely to appear, because overall, the updates aren't that critical.
News source: Xbit Laboratories