A Work-In-Progress Vulkan Driver For The Raspberry Pi / VC4

Written by Michael Larabel in Vulkan on 8 May 2018 at 06:19 AM EDT. 3 Comments
While the current generation Raspberry Pi boards with their VideoCore IV graphics processor only supports OpenGL ES 2.0 and is generally quite slow, there is an experimental/work-in-progress Vulkan driver being worked on.

This is not to be confused with the next-gen VC5 driver stack (now known as "V3D") where Eric Anholt of Broadcom plans on Vulkan support via the BCMV driver as well as OpenCL plans and more for this much more capable Broadcom VideoCore graphics hardware we hope to find out of future Raspberry Pi generations. But a developer has been quietly working on a Vulkan driver for current-gen VC4-based Raspberry Pi boards.

There is the rpi-vulkan-driver on GitHub. While just three commits so far, one of them is a big initial code drop of the initial Vulkan code tailored towards the VC4 DRM driver interfaces. There is the initial test driver so far and test cases.

It will be interesting to see how much of Vulkan can be implemented for the Raspberry Pi / VC4 since generally OpenGL ES 3.1 hardware is considered capable of supporting this modern graphics/compute API but not OpenGL ES 2.0 as is the case with VC4.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com 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 OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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