While we have seen the coming of both AMD and nVidia’s flagship DirectX 10 offerings in the form of the HD 2900 XT and 8800 GTX respectively, along with (significantly later) DX10 patches for some of the best DX9 games available; not to mention previewing some mouth-wateringly good upcoming titles.
Despite the insistence of some that top-end gaming PCs are already too expensive, some wily manufacturers may soon be after your money again for yet another upgrade as the latest SIGGRAPH conference had Microsoft show off slides detailing some updates to the DX10 API.
Apparently coming alongside Vista Service Pack 1, the DirectX 10.1 API mainly makes a lot of the optional features of DX10 mandatory, such as support for 4xAA and 32-bit floating point precision. While many are declaring this as a move which will make current generation hardware redundant, we can assure you that current hardware, such as the 8800 and 2900 series cards, can already support the features of the new API.
More fundamentally, as we learned from the days of nVidia’s 6-series and ATi’s X-series cards and the respective Shader Model implementations, just because an API is available doesn’t mean that hardware manufacturers will implement it anyway.
Of course if it allows them to sell new cards to ill-informed customers, then why wouldn’t resellers want to present their products as DX10.1 capable, but for the record, I doubt very much that anyone will actually find themselves affected by the release at an end-user level.