Report: Doom's Vulkan renderer proves a boon for Radeons


— 11:14 AM on July 13, 2016

Doom's Vulkan rendering path became available to the public this week, and its arrival appears to be a boon for Radeon owners. German site Computer Base ran some new benchmarks with Vulkan turned on for Doom, and the results are rather surprising. At 1920x1080 with graphics settings maxed out, the top-end Radeon R9 Fury X churned out 160.4 frames per second with Vulkan, a 66% increase over its 96.7 FPS showing with OpenGL. The Radeon RX 480 gets a 46% boost or so with Vulkan on, too. It runs the game at 122.6 FPS with the low-overhead API, compared to 83.8 FPS delivered with OpenGL. 

The Fury X gets a similar speed-up at 2560x1440 with Vulkan turned on. In Computer Base's testing, the card rockets from 72.6 FPS in OpenGL mode to 110.4 with Vulkan, a 52% boost. The RX 480 also delivers a rather nice boost, moving from 56.4 FPS to 79 FPS once Vulkan is enabled. At 4K, however, all of the cards Computer Base tested are taxed to the point where the performance increases from API changes are minor.

GeForce cards don't see much of a speed-up with Vulkan enabled, however. At 1920x1080, the Pascal GeForce GTX 1070 moved from 130.6 FPS to 135.7 FPS, or just 4% more FPS on average. The GeForce GTX 970 barely budges: 93.4 FPS with OpenGL and 93.8 FPS with Vulkan. The trend is similar at 2560x1440 and 4K. It's worth noting that Computer Base didn't repeat its tests with the GeForce GTX 1080, but that card delivered slightly lower average FPS rates in OpenGL mode in Computer Base's testing than the Fury X does with Vulkan. We'd be curious to see what Nvidia's top-end card can do with the new API, though.

Longtime TR readers will know what's coming next. We always caution against reading too much into average FPS numbers, since they don't say anything about the quality of the gaming experience like our frame-time benchmarking methods do. Still, going by the measure of potential performance that Computer Base's numbers show, it seems the R9 Fury X (and other Radeons) still have quite a bit of untapped performance to offer when next-gen APIs enter the picture. If you really like Doom and have a high-refresh-rate FreeSync monitor handy, that $400 R9 Fury X floating around Newegg right now might be a worthy upgrade.

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