Microsoft’s Creators Update may have dropped just a few months ago, but the company is already hard at work on the next iteration of its Windows 10 operating system, dubbed the Fall Creators Update. (Seriously, guys, hire somebody for the product name division). There’s a number of new capabilities baked into the update, but we’re going to focus on two of the gaming-centric ones in particular.
First, Microsoft is adding the ability for the OS to map GPU utilization and total memory, in much the same way as it can show CPU utilization or RAM consumption. This is a major addition that’s been missing for far too long, and we’re thrilled to see it in the Fall Creators Update. Here’s how Microsoft describes the feature:
For the Task Manager fans out there, we’re happy to share that we’ve heard your feedback and we’ve updated Task Manager to now include GPU info… The Performance tab shows GPU utilization information for each separate GPU component (such as 3D and Video encode/decode), as well as graphics memory usage stats. The Details tab shows you GPU utilization info for each process.
We’ve got two questions we’re hoping Microsoft will answer in the not-too-distant future. First, does the system report the actual amount of GPU RAM utilized, or the amount requested?
This is something we’ve covered in a number of stories, but there’s a common misconception about what applications like GPU-Z actually report. While the application purports to show the total amount of GPU memory in use, what it actually reports is the amount of VRAM the GPU has requested to use. We’ve confirmed that fact with AMD and Nvidia, both of which informed us there are no DX9/DX11-compatible applications that can accurately report the amount of RAM the GPU is actually using. DirectX 12 doesn’t have this limitation, but we don’t have any information yet on how the capability will be implemented.
Ideally, Microsoft won’t just add the ability to monitor the GPU’s activity. While we may not use it often, we’d love to have the option to kill frozen processes running on the GPU in the same way one can kill a frozen desktop application. It’d also be great if Windows users could set application priority when running multiple applications that are capable of using the GPU at the same time. We’re a long way from being able to set per-core or per-cluster affinity levels, but it’d be great to use Handbrake for some GPU-assisted encoding at background priority while still playing a game.
Networking latency and ping
Microsoft is also making some changes to how it reports network latency and ping times, at least when you’re using Xbox Live (though it’s not clear if any of these changes will make their way over to the main networking app).
The new app will give you additional information on your latency, packet loss rate, and whether your home network is properly configured for online play. The company writes: “Here, we’ll help you attempt to identify and resolve issues preventing you from using voice chatting and playing multiplayer games with other Xbox Live users.” Again, we don’t have tons of data on these changes yet, but integrating more of this level of detail is always good for gamers, and could make it easier to get systems up and running for cross-play.
There’s a number of other new features coming to Windows 10 as well. They include various Edge improvements, new Emoji, and updated OneDrive support. There will also be shape writing support for multiple new languages, better language support for text prediction, touch keyboard support for East Asian languages, and various refinements to the handwriting system and pen support.
Now read: Windows 10: The Best Hidden Features, Tips, and Tricks
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