Thursday, March 18th 2021

Microsoft Introduces Auto HDR Support On PC For Select DirectX 11 & DirectX 12 Games

High dynamic range (HDR) offers the most impressive improvement to the visual experience in recent history. HDR unlocks an entirely new range of colors with more intensity than standard monitors, making games come to life like never before. In November 2020, the Xbox Series X/S consoles launched with the Auto HDR feature which automatically upgrades your backwards compatible games from SDR to HDR to take advantage of this amazing display innovation and provide a richer visual experience even on already-released games. Today we're excited to bring you a preview of Auto HDR for your PC gaming experience and we're looking for your help to test it out. When enabled on your HDR capable gaming PC, you will automatically get awesome HDR visuals on an additional 1000+ DirectX 11 and DirectX 12 games!
While some game studios develop for HDR gaming PCs by mastering their game natively for HDR, Auto HDR for PC will take DirectX 11 or DirectX 12 SDR-only games and intelligently expand the color/brightness range up to HDR. It's a seamless platform feature that will give you an amazing new gaming experience that takes full advantage of your HDR monitor's capabilities. The Auto in the title implies how easy it is for you to enable the feature; a simple settings toggle flip will let you turn the feature on and off.

Setup Auto HDR

From a PC hardware perspective, if you have an HDR monitor equipped PC, then you're good to go! If you're looking to get an HDR monitor to try Auto HDR, we strongly recommend you acquire one that is HDR certified. Auto HDR for PC is currently a preview feature only available in the Windows Insider Program (Dev Channel). To experience this feature now, you'll want to join the program and get access to build 21337 or above. Once part of the Insider Program (Dev Channel), if your PC monitor is already configured to use HDR, you will automatically receive the Auto HDR PC gaming experience.

Configuring Auto HDR
  • Open Settings then go to System->Display
  • Click the Windows HD Color Settings link
  • Scroll down and find the Use HDR toggle
  • If the Use HDR toggle is enabled the Auto HDR toggle will appear.
Future Development

Auto HDR for PC is in preview and we're on a journey to continually improve it with you. For example, we haven't yet enabled Auto HDR on all top DX11/DX12 titles since some are hard to identify as Auto HDR eligible; we also think turning on HDR just for gaming is harder than it should be. We're already working on fixing those issues, optimizing performance, and even adding customizability to your experience. While Auto HDR does take some GPU compute power to implement, we don't expect it to significantly impact your gaming experience.
Source: Microsoft
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23 Comments on Microsoft Introduces Auto HDR Support On PC For Select DirectX 11 & DirectX 12 Games

#1
TumbleGeorge
Do that bad Nvidia colors better and equal to AMD color impression?
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#2
DeathtoGnomes
and we're looking for your help to test it out.
If this means free games, I'm in. :D
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#3
R-T-B
This is sort of like what SpecialK HDR mod has been doing for some time, just built into the OS? Nice. People with a proper HDR supporting monitor really don't know what they've been missing.

I'll still probably use SpecialK since it actually patches the pipeline in DX11 games for real HDR vs a "filter" but options are good.
TumbleGeorgeDo that bad Nvidia colors better and equal to AMD color impression?
I've been HDR gaming on my LG OLED on nearly my entire game library with nvidia for a while now. There is absolutely no color quality difference between brands.
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#4
ZoneDymo
My monitor can do low levels of hdr but so far it's been just annoying.

I don't want to use it when just using Windows everything looks a bit odd and too bright and with Red Dead Online it does not even seem to do anything.

Only warframe so far makes use of it properly but I can't say I actually care enough about it to turn it off and on and off again just because I want to play some game
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#5
Vya Domus
R-T-BThere is absolutely no color quality difference between brands.
That's objectively untrue, for instance on AMD dithering is enabled by default while on Nvidia you have to hack your way in to enable it (and even then it seems it doesn't work for everyone), otherwise you're gonna get worse color banding.
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#6
xela333
I've not found any affordable monitors yet with decent HDR. It's just too expensive. Monitors do not have the FALD backligh array TV's do, so your not going to get decent HDR. And as pointed out above, HDR looks terrible in Windows 10. My Samsung monitor is 'HDR' ready but it looks awful.
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#7
TumbleGeorge
xela333HDR looks terrible in Windows 10
Because of HDR or because of Windows 10? Who is guilty?
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#8
claster17
xela333I've not found any affordable monitors yet with decent HDR. It's just too expensive.
The cheapest monitors with proper HDR are LG OLED TVs.
xela333And as pointed out above, HDR looks terrible in Windows 10. My Samsung monitor is 'HDR' ready but it looks awful.
HDR mode with SDR content should, apart from higher brightness, look almost exactly the same as SDR mode. Any other result is the monitor's inability to display HDR properly.
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#9
Unregistered
My monitor is HDR capable and I have yet to enable it.
#10
xela333
AlexaMy monitor is HDR capable and I have yet to enable it.
What monitor do you have? Probably best leaving off haha
Posted on Reply
#11
Unregistered
xela333What monitor do you have? Probably best leaving off haha
ASUS TUF VG27AQ
#12
xela333
AlexaASUS TUF VG27AQ
Very nice monitor! But would doubt, looking at the specs, that it will do a good job of HDR at all.
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#13
Unregistered
xela333Very nice monitor! But would doubt, looking at the specs, that it will do a good job of HDR at all.
Maybe. HDR is not why I bought it though
#14
claster17
HDR capable only means that it can accept an HDR signal, nothing more, nothing less.
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#15
R-T-B
Vya DomusThat's objectively untrue, for instance on AMD dithering is enabled by default while on Nvidia you have to hack your way in to enable it (and even then it seems it doesn't work for everyone), otherwise you're gonna get worse color banding.
Dithering is something you don't want on HDR, and on nvidia it's turned on on anything below 8-bit RGB full.

But we are talking HDR (which in proper implementations is 10bit or higher), so what you are arguing is objectively untrue. It might be true in SDR scenarios, I really don't know.
claster17The cheapest monitors with proper HDR are LG OLED TVs.
Uh, are they really the cheapest? I find that hard to believe.
Posted on Reply
#16
Vya Domus
R-T-BDithering is something you don't want on HDR, and on nvidia it's turned on on anything below 8-bit RGB full.

But we are talking HDR (which in proper implementations is 10bit or higher), so what you are arguing is objectively untrue. It might be true in SDR scenarios, I really don't know.
All I am saying is that difference do exist.
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#17
R-T-B
Vya DomusAll I am saying is that difference do exist.
Yeah, I was speaking exclusively to HDR. Did not mean globally.
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#18
JcRabbit
claster17The cheapest monitors with proper HDR are LG OLED TVs.
Can confirm. HDR on my LG CX 48" OLED looks truly superb (due to its very nature each pixel on an OLED is its own backlight, it can't get any better than that in terms of lighting zones eheh)!

Not to mention that it's still (AFAIK) the only TV/Monitor that (due to HDMI 2.1 support on ALL inputs) does it all **at the same time** without ANY problems (although it did take a handful of firmware revisions to get here): 4K, HDR, 120Hz, GSync/VRR.

Vibrant colors and those blacks, my God, those blacks...!!!! :)

So far no problems with burn in, although I don't expect that to last very long given the 24/7 usage of my PC - but I am prepared for that.
Posted on Reply
#19
R-T-B
JcRabbitCan confirm. HDR on my LG CX 48" OLED looks truly superb (due to its very nature each pixel on an OLED is its own backlight, it can't get any better than that in terms of lighting zones eheh)!

Not to mention that it's still (AFAIK) the only TV/Monitor that (due to HDMI 2.1 support on ALL inputs) does it all **at the same time** without ANY problems (although it did take a handful of firmware revisions to get here): 4K, HDR, 120Hz, GSync/VRR.

Vibrant colors and those blacks, my God, those blacks...!!!! :)

So far no problems with burn in, although I don't expect that to last very long given the 24/7 usage of my PC - but I am prepared for that.
I mean, I'm not debating they are probably some of the best. I was debating the claim they are some of the cheapest "proper" ones. There are some good HDR LCDs that are cheaper. Not as good, but cheaper and still "proper."
JcRabbitSo far no problems with burn in, although I don't expect that to last very long given the 24/7 usage of my PC - but I am prepared for that.
I've "abused" the crap out of my B9 for over a year with nothing more than a screensaver at 5 minutes. No burn in either. :)
Posted on Reply
#20
Raiden85
I use an Asus PG43UQ monitor and HDR is stunning on that with very vibrant colours and very good blacks. But even on that screen screen Windows 10 on the desktop if HDR is enabled looks slightly washed out. Windows is to blame here as it was never designed for it.

Some games, mostly ubisoft ones I find will automatically turn HDR on as you launch the game even if it's turned off in Windows which is great and I really wish all games would do this. Once you exit the game HDR gets switched off automatically.

Good to see MS improving HDR because while it works great it's not seamless.
Posted on Reply
#21
R-T-B
Raiden85But even on that screen screen Windows 10 on the desktop if HDR is enabled looks slightly washed out. Windows is to blame here as it was never designed for it.
I'm thinking more you haven't calibrated the SDR/HDR brightness slider under HDR settings.

Windows treats itself as an SDR app.
Posted on Reply
#22
Raiden85
R-T-BI'm thinking more you haven't calibrated the SDR/HDR brightness slider under HDR settings.
I've tried it but still doesn't look quite right, once HDR is off the Windows desktop looks much better, brighter picture overall, whiter whites, more vibrant colours and better blacks.
Posted on Reply
#23
R-T-B
Raiden85I've tried it but still doesn't look quite right, once HDR is off the Windows desktop looks much better, brighter picture overall, whiter whites, more vibrant colours and better blacks.
Hmm. Yeah, it's probably because it's treating it as an SDR image on a HDR spectrum.

It'd be nice if they let you toggle HDR off for the desktop and still use it in other games, I admit.
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