Open-Source "Terakan" Vulkan Driver For Radeon HD 6000 Series Shown On Windows

Written by Michael Larabel in Radeon on 20 April 2024 at 06:41 AM EDT. 33 Comments
The past year there's been an independent open-source driver developer working on "Terakan" as a Vulkan driver for old Radeon HD 6000 series GPUs. These pre-GCN GPUs never received any official Vulkan driver support from AMD but thanks to open-source and a strong desire to pull off such a feat, Vitaliy Kuzmin "Triang3l" has been pursuing this challenge and has been pulling off some basic results. The work so far has been predominantly been carried out with the open-source Linux graphics stack while this weekend the Terakan driver was demonstrated under Microsoft Windows.

Vitaliy Kuzmin has been spending much time working to get Radeon HD 6000 series / TeraScale GPUs working on Vulkan and leveraging the Mesa codebase. To much surprise, in his latest status update this Saturday he shows his Vulkan driver in action under Microsoft Windows on an old Radeon HD 6800 series (Barts) GPU:

Terakan Vulkan driver on Windows

He posted to X that he's successfully running some Vulkan demos on his independently-developed Terakan driver using a Radeon HD 6800 series GPU.

It's a fun technical achievement and engineering milestone but ultimately of limited real-world use. These AMD Radeon graphics cards were introduced 13 years ago, simply having a Vulkan driver will not magically allow these vintage GPUs to work well for modern games/workloads, and applicable software sporting multiple API/renderer support will likely see better performance from the well-tuned OpenGL (or DirectX on Windows) drivers.

AMD no longer maintains Windows driver support for the Radeon HD 6000 series and hasn't since 2016 with Windows 10 for their Radeon Software Crimson Edition Beta, so the rest of the AMD driver stack on Windows for these old GPUs is getting rather brittle. At least Terakan on Linux allows users to be running the very latest upstream kernel, Mesa driver support still maintained, etc, rather than resorting to an eight year old driver stack underneath Terakan.

In any event it's fascinating to see what can be achieved by one individual pursuing open-source drivers and pulling off something never officially carried out by AMD for allowing Vulkan on TeraScale era graphics processors.
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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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