Khronos Group forges Vulkan 1.1

Hot on the heels of the Khronos Group's announcement of Vulkan 1.0 tools for Apple's macOS and iOS comes the release of version 1.1 of the cross-platform, low-level graphics API. The new version adds 16-bit data type support and new Protected Content and Subgroup Operations functions, and it integrates capabilities previously found in extensions into the core of the API. Along with Vulkan 1.1 comes Standard Portable Intermediate Representation (SPIR-V) 1.3, an update to Khronos' binary intermediate languge for parallel compute and graphics.

Protected Content restricts access to and copying of resources used for rendering and display, which potentially simplifies DRM implementations. Subgroup Operations enable manipulation and sharing of data across multiple, parallel tasks on a GPU within a work group (commonly referred to as "warps" on Nvidia hardware or "wavefronts" on Radeon chips). Terry Makedon, AMD's Director of Software Strategy, tweeted that "subgroup access in compute shaders enable console-like optimizations that will empower developers to exert more control on the GPU than ever before." The new 16-bit data types have potential uses in certain types of GPU compute applications, including those related to machine intelligence.

A number of Vulkan 1.0 extensions have been integrated into the Vulkan 1.1 API core, as well, including multi-GPU capability, simultaneous rendering of multiple image views, and cross-process interopability for advanced rendering and compositing operations. The latter two capabilities are potentially valuable for virtual reality applications. 

The Khronos Group says AMD, ARM, Broadcom, Imagination, Intel, Nvidia, and Qualcomm all have GPUs with conformant Vulkan 1.1 drivers. Developers looking to get started using Vulkan 1.1's new features can begin their testing with AMD's Radeon Software Adrenalin Edition 18.2.3 drivers with Vulkan 1.1 support or Nvidia's GeForce 389.10 beta drivers. The Radeon drivers are a based on last month's Adrenalin release, and Nvidia's driver package is restricted to authorized developers only, but we imagine Vulkan 1.1 support will be part of both vendors' mainline graphics drivers soon.

Vulkan support has been around in Android, Linux, and Windows for a while, and Khronos recently announced open source tools for porting Vulkan applications to Apple's macOS and iOS. The API is supported in game development software, including Unreal Engine, Unity, Source 2, idTech, and CryEngine. Gerbils that want to learn more can check out Khronos' Vulkan Resource page.

Comments closed
    • tipoo
    • 2 years ago

    Multi-GPU, you alway seem like you’re on the horizon.

    I like the idea of all the silicon in my system being used for something or other during a game, but the gains are too small for most developers to bother. And they’d probably reduce CPU boost clocks using the IGP on it at that.

    • sweatshopking
    • 2 years ago

    shouldn’t they be on version 39 by now? I mean, chrome has gone through that many updates in this time frame.

      • odizzido
      • 2 years ago

      it’s not a browser so I guess they’re sticking to a sane numbering scheme.

    • derFunkenstein
    • 2 years ago

    AMD’s open source Linux driver apparently already supports the latest version of Vulkan, too.

    [url<]https://twitter.com/ryszu/status/971389515750395904[/url<]

      • chuckula
      • 2 years ago

      They aren’t Vulkan kidding about their Vulkan driver!

        • Concupiscence
        • 2 years ago

        Joking aside, I’ve really enjoyed AMD’s commitment to Mesa and Vulkan for GCN hardware. If only I had the same luck with Mesa on VLIW kit.

      • Airmantharp
      • 2 years ago

      Also in Nvidia’s Linux drivers too!

      [I have a GTX970 in a Linux-learning box]

    • chuckula
    • 2 years ago

    One very important feature that’s not mentioned in your blurb: The Vulkan 1.1 spec introduces official support for the HLSL shader language (which is compiled down into SPIR V).

    That’s pretty important because HLSL is the shader language used in the Direct3D world (including DX12). Being able to write shaders once and hopefully have them work in both DX12 and Vulkan should make cross-platform compatibility a whole lot easier.

      • Concupiscence
      • 2 years ago

      Yes, and without resorting to performance-sapping middleware or shader translation to boot. I really want Vulkan to take off.

        • renz496
        • 2 years ago

        On linux vulkan doing really well in term of adoption (if i’m not mistaken F1 2017 for linux is using vulkan exclusively). But on windows it is different story. If developer are given choice between DX11, DX12 and Vulkan most of them will pick DX11.

          • Klimax
          • 2 years ago

          Vulcan apparently fixed a lot of API atrociousness of OpenGL thus being somewhat better choice elsewhere even if one has to still waste brutal amount of time on per-GPU optimizations. On Windows one can use DX 11 and thus save time without losing performance.

    • chuckula
    • 2 years ago

    That Vulkan logo has every Vulkan reference they could think of doesn’t it?

    If I see that Vulkan teapot one more time I’ll know there’s another Vulkan press release to read.

    • LostCat
    • 2 years ago

    I love Vulkan, but I feel like I’ll still be waiting for it to be supported by a serious number of apps in 2019. Or past that.

      • DancinJack
      • 2 years ago

      Way past that.

      • odizzido
      • 2 years ago

      Same. We could send a strong message of support by not using W10, or getting off of the DX train entirely. Where is SteamOS?

        • DancinJack
        • 2 years ago

        Wallowing in obscurity.

        • Shobai
        • 2 years ago

        Where it’s been since release. Why aren’t you using it?

        [Edit] beaten by DancinJack

          • odizzido
          • 2 years ago

          I plan on giving it a go once it’s out of beta(which it is now?) and when I install an OS again which will happen when I buy new hardware. I imagine it’s going to have pretty poor support because of the directX problem though. Which is why valve needs to offer financial incentives for GL support.

        • Redocbew
        • 2 years ago

        Obligatory.

        [url<]https://www.penny-arcade.com/comic/2002/07/22[/url<] And I don't even like Windows 10.

        • LostCat
        • 2 years ago

        We would rather eat dirt for a month than stop using win10.

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