Microsoft Frees DirectX 9 Release Candidate

The first release candidate of DirectX 9.0 was made available for download Wednesday, an unexpected move that marks the first time Microsoft has opened a DirectX beta for public scrutiny. DirectX 9.0 RC0 follows the Beta 3 release that was issued to testers last month.

Version 9.0 improves security and performance, and includes many new features across all technologies that can be accessed by applications using the DirectX 9.0 APIs, according to Microsoft. The new release adds a high-level shader language -- based on C -- designed to simplify development.

ATI has already released beta "CATALYST" drivers to take advantage of the technologies included with DirectX 9.0. "The combination of DirectX 9.0 and ATI's driver, CATALYST Beta Release Candidate 0, will provide incredible levels of gaming and cinematic realism," said Dean Lester, Microsoft's General Manager Windows Graphics and Gaming Technologies. ATI has created four demos to showcase the new capabilities.

Microsoft is asking users of the beta to submit big reports via BetaPlace. The final version of DirectX 9.0, expected early next year, must be installed before Release Candidate 0 expires on March 19, 2003. DirectX 9.0 RC0 may be downloaded for Windows 98, Me, 2000 and Windows XP via FileForum.

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