It looks like the first benchmark for DirectX 11 has arrived. Unigine Corp. has released demo/benchmark tool called Heaven that runs in all Direct X 9, 10 and 11 modes. Unfortunately, to be able to see the new and improved DX11 features you’ll need a compatible video card, and there aren’t many of those around yet.
If you want to see the demo for yourself, it’s free to download from the official website. It can be used to fly around a smallish but nicely rendered virtual world with floating islands, windmills and a village with its very own dragon statue. It displays the current frame rate and has benchmarking functionality. We’ve tried it and it looks pretty neat, although with the Nvidia card we used, the difference between DX10 vs. DX11 wasn’t noticeable. ATI users may have better luck, as the demo supports ATI’s Eyefinity technology.
One of the most interesting parts of DX11 in terms of visual improvements is a technology called tessellation. Unigine’s press release sells the feature better than i do:
The distinguishing feature of the benchmark is a hardware tessellation that is a scalable technology aimed for automatic subdivision of polygons into smaller and finer pieces, so that developers can gain a more detailed look of their games almost free of charge in terms of performance. Thanks to this procedure, the elaboration of the rendered image finally approaches the boundary of veridical visual perception: the virtual reality transcends conjured by your hand.
Here’s what it looks like with the new features turned on (although the quality hardly does it justice):
To run the demo you need at least an ATI Radeon 2xxx series/Nvidia GeForce 7xxx series GPU. If you also want it to look good, however, a 4800/8800 series or better card is recommended.