Doom's Vulkan implementation made waves at the GeForce GTX 1080 launch. Developer id Software showed the Vulkan version of the game running with its settings cranked at well over 100 FPS, and now us common folk can try it out ourselves. A Doom update with the new rendering path is rolling out this morning. id Software says users with minimum-spec hardware will get "better performance at higher video settings," while folks with heavier-duty systems "will experience exceptional performance with Doom's advanced video settings cranked up to full effect." Players will be prompted to choose OpenGL or Vulkan mode upon starting the game with the new update installed.
The release does come with a few caveats. Users will want to update their video card drivers to the latest versions available from Nvidia and AMD. Windows 7 users who have Nvidia graphics cards with 2GB of RAM on board can't enable the new API. GeForce GTX 690 owners won't be able to run the game with Vulkan enabled at all. id Software says that Doom's asynchronous compute features are only working on AMD graphics cards at the moment, though the company says it's working with Nvidia to bring async compute features to the green team's graphics cards, too.
For its part, AMD seems pleased with the benefits of this release. The company says Doom takes advantage of asynchronous compute shaders, shader intrinsics, and "frame flip optimizations" (a feature that the company describes as "[passing] the frame directly to the display once it’s ready") on AMD graphics cards to deliver a substantial increase in performance. For example, the Radeon RX 480 can purportedly run the Vulkan version of Doom as much as 27% faster at 1920x1080 than it can with the OpenGL renderer. At 2560x1440, users might see as much as a 23% performance gain. We'll have to fire up the title and see just how much of a boost Vulkan offers soon.