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What is an API? What it means for Gamers?

Whenever we buy an upgrade for our PC or just buy something, we think that it's always the hardware that does all the work which is a common misconception among a lot of people. In a series of blogs, I will try to explain the importance of some software that helps out in your everyday tasks. First off today, I will explain what is API?

Definition

API (Application Programming Interface) is a set of instructions dedicated for a peripheral or device on a computer to show the OS about what the device is and what it is used for, It provides a communications path among various devices and the OS such as Windows. This definition is for the APIs used in PCs and gaming. Their use is not limited to these 2 areas, they are used in almost every department such as in websites etc.

Importance

As said above, API sets up a communications channel between parts of your PC which are trying to communicate or exchange info. It can reduce the number of instructions and effective set up a path for instruction flow while increasing the overall efficiency of the computer in a relevant program etc. It is behind the scenes same like most other software. To be specific, we are talking about APIs such as DirectX 10, 11 etc.

Now, If you are talking DirectX or the recently released AMD Mantle, it will depend solely on the graphic card you have on your system or the integrated chip. To check out which DirectX version you have, do the following steps:
  • Press Windows key + R key.

  • Type "dxdiag" with out the quotation marks and press enter.

  • Go to the second tab and you'll see the version in the info given on the right.
AMD's Mantle is recently released and available on almost all cards having Graphics Core Next (GCN) architecture.

APIs having continued to play a vital role in the gaming era. Time to time better APIs have been made bringing various improvements to the gaming world. It does depend on game support but better APIs have also enabled developers to make better optimized and more beautiful graphics rich games.

Such as a recent benchmark of AMD showed the FPS improvement compared to DirectX 11 and also managed to add more textures to the game. Let us see some popular APIs being used in today's era;

DirectX 11

The successor of DirectX 10.1 and being used in the market since 2009, This is one of the most popular and most used API in the gaming world and available from most low-level to high-level cards. Its arrival on the market improved multi-core support and allowed developers to make better games that were better optimised for Dual cores or quad cores etc.

AMD Mantle

Mantle is AMD's recently announced low level API for Graphics Core next cards and APUs etc. It was developed by AMD and DICE to reduce CPU bottleneck and improve parallelization. Benchmarks published by AMD and AMD users report up to 50% performance better performance on specific hardware compared it DirectX 11.

Thats pretty much about APIs and a short intro. Let us know which API you are using and you prefer and tell us if you have any problem with them.

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