GameSpot is reporting that Microsoft has released the latest version of DirectX in beta form. The release is marked as a release-candidate. Now, here at Eurogamer we haven't exactly enjoyed a pleasant relationship with past DirectX betas, but more fool us for trying them, eh? This latest version is a major revision to Microsoft's graphics standard, which concentrates on simplifying the development of shader effects. Expect tech demos by the truckload to impress this fact upon us.
ATI has already released beta drivers with DX9 support and a few such demos, which you can find here. NVIDIA fans may have to wait a while though - the GeForce giant is not expected to release DX9 drivers just yet, although NV30 is due to be announced very shortly and NVIDIA will certainly be shipping DX9 support with that.
If you fancy taking the plunge, you can find DirectX 9 on Microsoft.com here.