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Intel Plumbs 16-bit Support In Vulkan Driver, Future OpenGL Support
VK_KHR_16bit_storage is the new Vulkan 1.0.54 extension allowing 16-bit types in shader inputs and output interfaces. There's 45 patches out there this morning from the Intel team to provide this 16-bit support and amounts to over two thousand lines of new code. This includes the changes to the ANV Vulkan driver as well as GLSL and NIR support. The patch series also makes known that future OpenGL extensions will provide support for 16-bit types: perhaps more of what we have to look forward to with OpenGL 4.6? When those GL extensions do arrive, it looks like they'll quickly be able to wire it in to this new code.
This 16-bit support will work with Intel Broadwell "Gen 8" graphics hardware and newer. The patch series for now can be found via Mesa-dev.