Hardware Feature Levels

Describes the functionality of the 11_0 through 12_1 hardware feature levels.

To handle the diversity of video cards in new and existing machines, Microsoft Direct3D 11 introduced the concept of feature levels. Each video card implements a certain level of Microsoft DirectX (DX) functionality depending on the graphics processing units (GPUs) installed. A feature level is a well defined set of GPU functionality. For instance, the 11_0 feature level implements the functionality that was implemented in Direct3D 11.

Now when you create a device, you can attempt to create a device for the feature level that you want to request. If the device creation works, that feature level exists, if not, the hardware does not support that feature level. You can either try to recreate a device at a lower feature level or you can choose to exit the application.

The basic properties of feature levels are:

  • All Direct3D 12 drivers will be Feature Level 11_0 or better.
  • A GPU that allows a device to be created meets or exceeds the functionality of that feature level.
  • A feature level always includes the functionality of previous or lower feature levels.
  • A feature level does not imply performance, only functionality. Performance is dependent on hardware implementation.
  • A feature level is chosen when you call D3D12CreateDevice.
  • For more detailed information on supported features (especially those marked Optional in the table below, which means that the hardware might support the feature but is not required to) call CheckFeatureSupport.

For information about limitations creating non-hardware type devices on certain feature levels, see Limitations Creating WARP and Reference Devices. For more information on the introduction of feature levels, refer to the Direct3D 11 documentation on Direct3D feature levels.

Numbering Systems

Hardware feature levels are not the same as API versions. For example, there is a D3D11.3 API, but there is no 11_3 hardware feature level. Feature levels are defined in the D3D_FEATURE_LEVEL enum.

There are three distinct numbering systems:

  • Direct3D versions use a period; for example, Direct3D 12.0.
  • Shader models use a period; for example, shader model 5.1.
  • Feature levels use an underscore; for example, feature level 12_0.

Feature Level Support

The following features are available for each Direct3D feature level.

The headings across the top row are Direct3D feature levels. The headings in the left-hand column are features.

Feature \ Feature Level 12_1⁰ 12_0⁰ 11_1¹ 11_0
Shader Model 5.1 5.1 5.1² 5.1²
Resource Binding Tier Tier2³ Tier2³ Tier1³ Tier1³
Tiled Resources Tier2³ Tier2³ Optional Optional
Conservative Rasterization Tier1³ Optional Optional No
Rasterizer Ordered Views Yes Optional Optional No
Min/Max Filters Yes Yes Optional No
Map Default Buffer Optional Optional Optional Optional
Shader Specified Stencil Reference Value Optional Optional Optional No
Typed Unordered Access View Loads 18 formats, more optional 18 formats, more optional 3 formats, more optional 3 formats, more optional
Geometry Shader Yes Yes Yes Yes
Stream Out Yes Yes Yes Yes
DirectCompute / Compute Shader Yes Yes Yes Yes
Hull and Domain Shaders Yes Yes Yes Yes
Texture Resource Arrays Yes Yes Yes Yes
Cubemap Resource Arrays Yes Yes Yes Yes
BC1 to BC7 Compression Yes Yes Yes Yes
Alpha-to-coverage Yes Yes Yes Yes
Logic Operations (Output Merger) Yes Yes Yes Optional
Target-independent rasterization Yes Yes Yes No
Multiple render target(MRT) with ForcedSampleCount 1 Yes Yes Yes Optional
Max forced sample count for UAV-only rendering 16 16 16 8
Max Texture Dimension 16384 16384 16384 16384
Max Cubemap Dimension 16384 16384 16384 16384
Max Volume Extent 2048 2048 2048 2048
Max Texture Repeat 16384 16384 16384 16384
Max Anisotropy 16 16 16 16
Max Primitive Count 2^32 – 1 2^32 – 1 2^32 – 1 2^32 – 1
Max Vertex Index 2^32 – 1 2^32 – 1 2^32 – 1 2^32 – 1
Max Input Slots 32 32 32 32
Simultaneous Render Targets 8 8 8 8
Occlusion Queries Yes Yes Yes Yes
Separate Alpha Blend Yes Yes Yes Yes
Mirror Once Yes Yes Yes Yes
Overlapping Vertex Elements Yes Yes Yes Yes
Independent Write Masks Yes Yes Yes Yes
Instancing Yes Yes Yes Yes


  • ⁰ Requires the Direct3D 11.3 or Direct3D 12 runtime.
  • ¹ Requires the Direct3D 11.1 runtime.
  • ² Shader model 5.0 can optionally support double-precision shaders, extended double-precision shaders, the SAD4 shader instruction, and partial-precision shaders. To determine the shader model 5.0 options that are available, call ID3D12Device::CheckFeatureSupport. Some compatibility depends on what hardware you are running on: Shader model 5.1 is only supported on hardware that supports the DirectX 12 API, regardless of the feature level that's being used. DirectX 11 hardware only supports up to shader model 5.0. The DirectX 12 API only goes down to feature level 11_0.
  • ³ Higher tiers are optional.
  • Feature levels 12_0 and 12_1 require the Direct3D 11.3 or Direct3D 12 runtime.
  • Feature level 11_1 requires the Direct3D 11.1 runtime.
  • Feature level 11_0 requires the Direct3D 11.0 runtime.

Hardware support for DXGI Formats

To view tables of DXGI formats and hardware features, refer to:

Capability Querying

Understanding Direct3D 12