Direct3D backwards compatibility has always been “you get what your graphics cards run”. For example, Crysis may be a Direct3D 10 game, but if you only have a Direct3D 9-level graphics card, it might only make your jaws open instead of hitting the floor. But that’s all going to change comes Windows 7.
Simply put, in Windows 7, you will experience the same graphics fidelity and detail whether you have a Direct3D 9-level graphics card or even no graphics card. The magic fairy dust which makes this possible is called Direct3D 10Level9 and Direct3D WARP10 respectively.
WARP which stands for Windows Advanced Rasterization Platform is a complete implementation of Direct3D 10 in software form – that is using only the CPU. It’s even capable of anti-aliasing up to 8xMSAA and anisotropic filtering. What’s amazing is that it is parity with the output of a native Direct3D 10 device. The MSDN article describes “the majority of the images appear almost identical between hardware and WARP10, where small differences sometimes occur we find they are within the tolerances defined by the Direct3D 10 specification.”
The question every one of us is asking is of course, so how well does it run. And the MSDN article answers with no other than our good friend Crysis. So this is the benchmark results of WARP10 running 800×600 with lowest quality settings.