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DirectX 9

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HLSL is a C like language for writing shaders - which is then compiled into assembly (that the user can inspect if he so desires).

Clearly, performance is dependent on the strengths of the compilers optimizations. With the DX9 compiler, the compiler will match or beat you in performance unless you are a master assembly programmer. It knows many things about hardware performance then the average shader writer, since there is a great deal more to performance then simply looking at the number of instructions.

With many new shader targets, HLSL also gives you the advantage of being able to target many different levels of hardware.

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Is it known what a card has to have on it to be fully D3D9 compliant. I heard some rumors about the amount of texture units and stuff like that but I''m not sure about anything.

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