Intel Vulkan Driver Split Happens - "HASVK" Introduced For Older Gen7/Gen8 Graphics

Written by Michael Larabel in Intel on 2 September 2022 at 07:46 AM EDT. 31 Comments
The recently proposed Intel open-source Vulkan driver split where the Gen7/Gen8 graphics support would be shifted off to a separate "new" legacy driver has happened to allow the Intel ANV Vulkan driver to move forward with its Skylake "Gen9" graphics and later focus.

Within Mesa 22.3 is now the "HASVK" driver (the name dubbed for "Haswell Vulkan") provides the Intel Ivy Bridge / Haswell / Broadwell Vulkan driver support. The Intel "ANV" driver that has long been the open-source Intel Vulkan graphics driver will now be limited to Gen9 graphics and newer. By dropping the oldest generations of their Vulkan driver support, they are able to better re-architect the driver code for the newer hardware and make it easier to perform new optimizations and enhancements without the burden of maintaining the older driver paths or needing to worry about breaking that old Gen7/Gen8 graphics support.

Intel hasn't dropped their old Vulkan graphics driver support from Mesa but punted that IVB/HSW/BDW support off to a new driver called HASVK.

Vulkan on the older Intel HD Graphics hardware isn't too practical aside from very lightweight games and other select conditions, but the hardware is far too inadequate for running much of today's modern games. HASVK is a copy of where the ANV driver is currently at and will largely be left as-is. The open-source community can make improvements to HASVK if there are interested and capable developers but Intel engineers themselves haven't really been concerning themselves with these old generations of Intel graphics for quite a while.

This merge landed today in Mesa 22.3-devel for splitting up this Intel Vulkan driver code. So those still rocking out older Intel CPUs with Gen7/Gen8 graphics can continue using Mesa albeit with this "HASVK" code while the main Intel Vulkan driver "ANV" can push ahead with more modern improvements and not worrying about old technical debt.
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