Open-Source NVIDIA "NVK" Driver Is Now Conformant For Vulkan 1.0

Written by Michael Larabel in Nouveau on 20 November 2023 at 03:30 PM EST. 10 Comments
Mesa's NVK Vulkan driver atop the Nouveau DRM kernel driver is now officially Vulkan 1.0 conformant for passing all the necessary Vulkan 1.0 conformance test suite cases. Though don't get your hopes too high for this open-source NVIDIA Linux driver as the performance is still overall slow and the driver stack remains a work-in-progress, but at least it's a step in the right direction.

Faith Ekstrand who has been leading much of the Mesa NVK Vulkan driver development announced today that the driver is now considered a Vulkan 1.0 conformant implementation. It's now listed on as a conformant implementation for various generations of NVIDIA GPUs when using the latest Linux kernel and Mesa.

NVK Vulkan 1.0

This though just implies that it passes all of the Vulkan 1.0 tests but not that it's ready for Linux gamers/enthusiasts or that it's a speedy implementation. Not to mention, VKD3D-Proton requires at least Vulkan 1.3 support. Back in August I posted some initial NVK benchmarks. It's improved since then but still not suitable for Linux gamers with modern titles. More recently the new NAK compiler merged as another exciting stepping stone toward better performance in the end. I'm currently working on some updated NVK benchmarks atop Linux 6.7 with the newly-merged NVIDIA GSP firmware support in the Nouveau DRM kernel driver for improving the power management on RTX 20 series and newer as well as providing initial RTX 40 series support.

The open-source community backed by the likes of Collabora and Red Hat continue doing a nice job while NVIDIA maintains their out-of-tree open-source kernel module and remains with their closed-source user-space OpenGL / Vulkan / CUDA / OpenCL drivers. NVIDIA's proprietary driver stack is terrific if you don't care about software licenses and just want all of the features and performance right now, but for those pursuing open-source drivers are better off with AMD Radeon or Intel Arc Graphics for now until the NVK/Nouveau support advances enough for end-users.

As Faith Ekstrand wrote in today's blog post about the Vulkan 1.0 conformance:
NVK is still labeled "experimental" within Mesa but the future is looking bright!
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via

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