DirectX 9.0c was released on April 7, 2006. DX9 is available for Windows 98 and above.
Windows 2000 introduced a new Hardware Abstraction Layer to allow Windows to run on several different platforms. In practice however emulating x86 was not vey efficient compared to modern PC hardware, Recall that Windows NT was available on several different workstation machines, The Intel Itanium processor has found a niche in the server market.
DX9c introduces a new shader model 3. DirectX also is being developed with the .NET framework which is part of the development at Microsoft for a more general purpose middleware layer.
- Multi-Threading: The ability to scale across multi-core CPUs will enable developers to take greater advantage of the power within multi-core CPUs. This results in faster frame rates for games, while still supporting the increased visual detailing.
- DirectCompute: Developers can utilize the power of discrete graphics cards to accelerate both gaming and non-gaming applications. This improves graphics, while also enabling players to accelerate everyday tasks, like video editing, on their Windows XP machines,
DirectShow is now moved to the Platform SDK. The thinking was that media players are a different category than games so Platform SDK was a natural place for it.
Updates for DirectX have been frequent. They have been bundled with Windows updates. Game developers have had to bundle DirectX with their games to be sure that the users machines were updated. The web installed is available for those with internet.
Video cards from AMD/ATI were supporting shader model 2 while NVIDIA is supporting shader model 3. This lead most games to use shader model 2 so that games would have a broader market.