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First post, by Zup

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I was doing a list of compatibility for Windows retro machines, and I've got some doubts with DirectX.

This are my notes...

  • Until DirectX 9, higher versions keep compatibility with lower ones. So a PC with DirectX 8 should run every game that requires DirectX 5 (more about that later).
  • From Vista onwards, every OS seems to have their own DirectX (Vista being DirectX 10). The only exception is Windows 7, that can have a version of DirectX 12 installed.
  • But, because some games requires some DLLs from DirectX 9 that may be not installed on modern Windows (i.e.: d3dx9_39.dll and d3dx9_43.dll), it would be a good idea to install a DirectX 9 runtime on later OSs (I've got a runtime from June 2010 that has both libraries).
  • DirectX 3.0a is the latest version that runs on NT 4.0. There is a beta version of DirectX 5 that can be installed, but... why using a NT workstation for gaming?
  • DirectX 6.1a 7.0a is the latest version that can run on 80486 processors. But I can't imagine why anyone would want to run a DirectX 6 game on a 80486 (It's 7.0a. Tested on PCem using Windows 95 on a 486 board).
  • DirectX 8.0a is the latest version that can be installed on Windows 95. There are people that states that DirectX 9 can run on Windows 95, but every bit of information I've found says that it's not compatible.
  • DirectX 9.0c (July 2004) is the last version supported on Windows 98 (some later 9.0c versions can be installed on Windows 98SE, but I guess that sticking to that version is fine). It is strange that Microsoft used DirectX 9.0c as a kind of "rolling release" (well, I guess DirectX is a rolling release now)... there are at least 5 versions listed on wikipedia with the same number.

And two special components of DirectX that should be mentioned...

  • DirectX Media seems to be an additional installer to DirectX, and a succesor to ActiveMovie. It includes old video codecs and some DLLs that seems related to DirectX, but it seems that it was never integrated into it (or maybe the functions on that DLL were put on other DLLs). Does anyone knows what is the minimum DirectX required to install DirectX Media? If it was integrated inside DirectX... what was the first version that includes that?
  • DirectPlay was deprecated on DirectX 9 (and substituted by GWFL), and it seems that DirectX 9 and later installers do not include DirectPlay DLLs. Do DirectX 9 support DirectPlay or should DirectX 8 be installed prior to DirectX 9 to ensure that DirectPlay games works fine? I thought that there was a standalone installer for DirectPlay (like the DirectX Media one), but I can't find it... maybe my mind is playing tricks and there was no installer? but DirectX 9 still has some DLLs from DirectPlay (I was wrong, see below).
Last edited by Zup on 2021-05-29, 16:01. Edited 4 times in total.

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Reply 2 of 9, by Zup

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A few more things that I've found...

  • I haven't found any file from DirectX Media on any DirectX installer (i.e.: danim.dll or ir41_32.ax), so I guess that DirectX Media never was included with DirectX. Maybe it was included on Windows Media Player installers (because it was the successor to ActiveMovie and predecessor to DirectShow), or even on some Internet Explorer installer.
  • Or maybe it was only a tool to ensure that old codecs were installed and games could show movies without crashes.
  • Still I don't know when (at which DirectX version) did DirectX Media appeared. On DirectX Media installer are some kind of DirectX "mini distro" (very minimal, only to show things on screen), but I can't tell which version is.
  • DirectPlay seems to have appeared on DirectX 5. After that it was overhauled on DirectX 8... and deprecated in DirectX 9. DirectX 9 still have some DirectPlay DLLs (dpmodemx.dll, dpserial.dll and dpnet.dll) and seems to be compatible with DirectPlay... but dpnet.dll is not installed on that version.
  • After that, DirectPlay was included as a "system feature" on Windows Vista and later versions, so can be installed/uninstalled without touching DirectX... but that "system features" thing is like a "hidden things" menu.

I have traveled across the universe and through the years to find Her.
Sometimes going all the way is just a start...

I'm selling some stuff!

Reply 3 of 9, by The Serpent Rider

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DirectX 6.1a is the latest version that can run on 80486 processors

DirectX 7.0a.

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Reply 4 of 9, by Jo22

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From Vista onwards, every OS seems to have their own DirectX (Vista being DirectX 10). The only exception is Windows 7, that can have a version of DirectX 12 installed.

Hi! Vista got DX 10.1 with SP1 and finally, DX 11 a few years later..
From what I remember from my faulty memory, though, not all features were
accelerated or not as feature complete as in Win 7
due to the older driver model in Vista.

https://www.tomshardware.com/picturestory/518 … x-11-vista.html

Windows 7 also got a pseudo-DX 11.1 at some point.
It was part of an update of some sort.

https://walbourn.github.io/directx-11-1-and-w … ndows-7-update/

Edit : Quote added. Also, yes, Windows 7 got DX 12 shortly before it became EOL.
However, it never got an SP2. 🙁
Except if we count that strange "Convenience Rollup" as SP2.

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In what to one race is no time at all, another race can rise and fall..." - The Minstrel

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Reply 5 of 9, by dr.zeissler

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I mostly use DX5 or DX6.1a on Win95 machines. Games that require DX7+ will not work good on that old K6/P2 because I mostly use low-end onboard GPU combined with Voodoo1 or PCX1/2. With DX6.1 you mostly have all your 3dfx-games working already.

Retro-Gamer 😀PowerMac 6100-66/Houdini 486/66 - G4 Cube 450/Rage128pro OS9.0.1 - Macintosh LC/Apple IIe Card OS6.0.8 - Acorn A4000 Archimedes - Unisys CWD 486/66 + Aztech Washington

Reply 6 of 9, by Jo22

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dr.zeissler wrote on 2021-05-28, 14:06:

I mostly use DX5 or DX6.1a on Win95 machines. Games that require DX7+ will not work good on that old K6/P2 because I mostly use low-end onboard GPU combined with Voodoo1 or PCX1/2. With DX6.1 you mostly have all your 3dfx-games working already.

That's interesting. Do you know, by any chance, if it's true that the DirectXin Windows 98SE (v6.1?) uses MMX if available?
I though that was the case, but I'm a bit unsure about it.

From what I also remember, the Windows 98 kernal or some system files had MMX versions.
Not sure though, if that's really the case and/or if they were only copied if MMX was detected during Windows installation..

Ah, well. 😅 My memory is a bit sketchy here. I just remember two things vividly from the eaely 98SE days - the MMX craze and MS Motocross Madness! 😁

Edit : https://jdelezenne.github.io/Codex/History/DirectX.html

"Time, it seems, doesn't flow. For some it's fast, for some it's slow.
In what to one race is no time at all, another race can rise and fall..." - The Minstrel

//My video channel//

Reply 7 of 9, by BitWrangler

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Listening in, I feel like I spend more time fighting DirectX than I do playing games.

Perhaps I'm remembering wrong, but I thought I had DX7 games playing on Voodoo3 back in the day... without DX7 features of course.

2017: Basement full of ancient PC stuff, starting to go through it. 2021: Still starting, heh, many setbacks. So what's this BitWrangler guy's deal ??? >>> Taming the pile, specs to target?

Reply 8 of 9, by Jorpho

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MDGX has downloads for DirectX Media at http://www.mdgx.com/dx.htm . There is also a link to http://web.archive.org/web/20080226045658/htt … dn_dx5media.asp that strongly suggests a link to DirectX 6.0 (despite the URL).

Reply 9 of 9, by dr.zeissler

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Yes I read about DX6 that uses MMX and some 3Dnow Optimizations. For 3dfx MMX it is not really important. I remember Games that worked smooth even on P133/166 with 3dfx (voodoo1) and not much better on 200mmx with 3dfx (voodoo1). That may be different in higher CPU-Classes. I mostly stick to the features and drivers of the GPU. If the GPU is DX5 then I install DX5. If the gpu has DX6 drivers I use DX6.

When installing higer DirectX Versions I don't get much benefits, mostly I run into different problems, so I stick to lower DX-Versions. Running DX3 on Win95 was a not a good idea, because there are only a view games that work with dx3.

My actual testing machines are setup with:
Scenic Micro-Desktop K63/450 RageIIc PCX1 Win95/DX5
Scenic Micro-Desktop P3/500 RageProLT PCX2 or Voodoo1 Win95/DX6.1
Scenic Micro-Desktop P3/600 815e / Voodoo1 Win98se DX7
Scenic Micro-Desktop P3/1400 PCI 9250 or R7000 Win98se DX8

I have tested lot's of scene-stuff against different dx-versions and so a have a bunch of cool demos for each machine. It's good to have different setups to play with. There is always a surprise what can be done with such cool hardware.

Retro-Gamer 😀PowerMac 6100-66/Houdini 486/66 - G4 Cube 450/Rage128pro OS9.0.1 - Macintosh LC/Apple IIe Card OS6.0.8 - Acorn A4000 Archimedes - Unisys CWD 486/66 + Aztech Washington