Overview of Vulkan for GPU 3D Graphics and Compute

Vulkan 3D Tea Pot

Christened as the next generation OpenGL initiative by the Khronos Group Vulkan promises amazing things for the future of the 3DE graphics, high performance computing and Virtual Reality industries.

Initially called glNext, Vulkan was first announced at the 2015 Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, California.

So What is Vulkan?

Vulkan is a set of open standard high performance 3D graphics and compute on modern GPUs. Vulkan is a step up from previous OpenGL APIs as it grants direct control to the GPU hardware allowing the developers greater control to tune and optimize the performance and predictability of 3D games and applications.

This promised high performance optimizations comes without the increased CPU usage overheads and can distribute the CPU load over several cores.

Khronos partnered with AMD to begin the work based on Mantle which is AMD’s 3D set of APIs.

Some Benefits of Using Vulkan

Using these sets of APIs will reduce the CPU work loads by batching tasks. There will be reduced river overheads. Access to multiple CPUs and CPU cores much like Direct3D 12. A problem which DirectX 11 and OpenGL 4 suffer from as the latter are design to work with single CPU cores.

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SPIR-V (Standard Portable Intermediate Representation) will be used as the shading language as opposed to GLSL (OpenGL Shading Language).

Vulkan is cross-platform supported on both mobile devices and high-end graphics cards. This 3D graphics and compute API is compatible with modern graphics cards that support OpenGL 4.x or OpenGL ES 3.1 and higher with additional driver updates.

This initial release is expected to be available for release with SDKs for Windows, Linux and Android in early 2016. Keep up and subscribe to our newsletter as we will be taking a closer look at the APIs and publishing some tutorials to illustrate some interesting concepts of this graphics GPU framework.