DirectX 12 Ultimate Getting Started Guide

Jacques van Rhyn

So, you’re a developer sold on the next-gen features in DirectX 12 Ultimate?

Look no further than this little guide!

1) OS

The complete set of DirectX 12 Ultimate features is be available in the next retail version of Windows 10, version 2004 (also called the Windows 10 May 2020 Update).

As of 5/27, you can get this version of Windows by following these instructions. This is recommended for most developers.

We also wrote a handy guide on how a developer can use a VHD (Virtual Hard Disk) for DirectX development. Using a VHD allows setting up temporary OS versions to test new features on, which can then easily be thrown away or replaced as needed, kind of like the PC equivalent of an Xbox devkit.

2) Visual Studio

Once you have the latest Windows 10 build, install Visual Studio 2019 onto it (Note that the free Community Edition will work if you don’t already have the Professional or Enterprise editions)

3) Windows 10 SDK, version 2004

Download and install the Windows 10 SDK, version 2004. You can download it here or by selecting “Windows 10 SDK (10.0.19041.0)” in the optional components of the Visual Studio 2019 Installer.

This SDK provides headers for all the DirectX 12 Ultimate features, and also the latest version of the HLSL shader compiler, dxc.exe.

4) Drivers and hardware

Today, you can get started developing with DirectX 12 Ultimate features with NVIDIA GeForce 20 Series hardware.

  • Developers who want a preview driver with support for Sampler Feedback, Mesh Shaders and DXR 1.1 should go here:
  • Release drivers 430.39 and above already have support for VRS
  • Release drivers 416.16 and above already have support for DXR 1.0

We’ll also update this part of the guide once more DirectX 12 Ultimate hardware is publicly available.

5) PIX

The March 2020 release of PIX has initial support for DirectX 12 Ultimate features – go here to download our very own DirectX 12 debugger.

We’re constantly adding features to PIX so be sure to check out the PIX blog to get the latest.

6) Samples

Check out the DirectX 12 Samples Repo to see samples of DirectX 12 Ultimate features.

We’ll be updating this repo with more samples over time, but we already have samples for VRS, DXR 1.0 and Mesh Shaders to get you started!

7) Specs

The DirectX Spec Repo is where we publish our specs; head here to find the specs for DXR 1.0 and DXR 1.1, Variable Rate Shading, Mesh Shaders and Sampler Feedback

8) Links and Questions

Here’s a list of other useful links to check out:

We highly encourage developers of all skill levels to join our Discord server to ask questions and meet other DX developers! Go to


Discussion is closed. Login to edit/delete existing comments.

Feedback usabilla icon