The Vulkan Moments Of 2017: More Games, Better Drivers & Continued Open-Source Adoption

Written by Michael Larabel in Vulkan on 27 December 2017 at 07:21 AM EST. 1 Comment
This year on Phoronix were more than 290 news articles on Phoronix about the Vulkan graphics API, not counting our dozens of Vulkan benchmarking articles, etc. Here's a look at the most popular Vulkan moments of the year.

2017 brought more Vulkan games, the first Vulkan-exclusive Linux game (F1 2017), better Vulkan drivers from AMD / Intel / ANV, the RADV Vulkan driver becoming conformant, the AMDVLK driver most recently being open-sourced, and a ton of open-source/community adoption around this high-performance graphics API with as of writing nearly 1,650 projects on GitHub referencing Vulkan.

First up are the most viewed Vulkan news articles for 2017 followed by our most popular Vulkan benchmarks / hardware tests.

VK9 - Direct3D-Over-Vulkan - Reaches New Milestones
The VK9 project that's working to implement Direct3D 9 over Vulkan that's been under heavy development the past few months has reached new development milestones.

NVIDIA 375.27.08 Vulkan Driver Released
NVIDIA has released a new beta of their Vulkan driver for Windows and Linux.

Mozilla Proposes "Obsidian"; Low-Level Graphics API For The Web, Based On Vulkan
Mozilla has laid out a proposal for a new low-level graphics API for the web dubbed Obsidian.

AMD Open-Sources Vulkan "Anvil"
While waiting for AMD to open-source their Vulkan Linux driver, we have a new AMD open-source Vulkan project to look at: Anvil.

RADV Radeon Driver Is Now "Effectively" A Conformant Vulkan Implementation
The open-source Radeon Vulkan driver, RADV, has now passed another important milestone.

NVIDIA 381.09 Linux Beta Driver Released: New Kernel Support, Updated Vulkan
Coinciding with today's NVIDIA Titan Xp announcement is a new beta Linux driver release!

Qt 5.10 To Have Built-In Vulkan Support
With Qt 5.8 there was experimental Direct3D 12 support that left some disappointed the toolkit didn't opt for supporting Vulkan first as a cross-platform, high-performance graphics API. Fortunately, with Qt 5.10, there will be built-in Vulkan support.

Updated AMDGPU-PRO Driver Has Performance Fixes, Mad Max Works On Vulkan
AMD has just released a new AMDGPU-PRO 17.10 driver. While another 17.10 series driver release for this hybrid stack may not seem exciting without a large version bump, there are some noteworthy changes to this release.

A Chat With Khronos President Neil Trevett About Vulkan, OpenXR, SPIR-V In 2017
Yesterday I had a call with The Khronos Group president Neil Trevett to discuss some of their latest initiatives and the ongoing advancements to the Vulkan API, WebGL, SPIR-V, and more. Here were some of the highlights.

Steam Linux Client Beta Adds Idle Detection, Updated Vulkan Loader & More
Valve pushed out an updated Steam Linux client beta today that includes some useful changes for Linux gamers.

There Are Signs Of Vulkan Within Feral's Linux Port Of HITMAN - Updated
Feral Interactive just released HITMAN for Linux and it looks like they may be working on Vulkan support.

Vulkan 1.0.41 Specification Released
Vulkan 1.0.41 was released this morning as the newest revision to this specification for high performance graphics.

Dolphin Emulator Drops D3D12 Backend, Focuses On Vulkan
Dolphin Emulator, the open-source cross-platform game console emulator for the GameCube and Wii, has been continuing to improve its Vulkan back-end and is also moving forward with its work on a Qt user-interface.

GAPID: Google Has A New Graphics Debugger For Vulkan & OpenGL ES
GAPID is short for the Graphics API Debugger and is a new open-source project out of Google.

ARM Talks Mali Vulkan, Lack Of Open Drivers & More @ Linaro Budapest 17
Linaro Connect 17 was this past week in Budapest. One of the interesting sessions was with regard to ARM's Mali graphics drivers where Vulkan was talked about as well as the lack of current open-source drivers due to lack of customer demand.

More OpenGL / OpenCL / Vulkan Benchmarks Of The GeForce GTX 1080 Ti On Linux
Complementing yesterday's GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Linux review with OpenGL and Vulkan benchmarks and this morning's GeForce GTX 1080 Ti OpenCL benchmarks, here is a range of more standalone benchmarks for this GP102 graphics card.

GTK's Vulkan Renderer Now Working On Wayland
The GTK toolkit's Vulkan renderer continues making quick progress.

PlayStation 4 Running Linux Can Now Use AMDGPU-PRO With Vulkan
The work to run Linux on the PlayStation 4 continues to advance and previously we reported on those behind it managing to exploit the Radeon graphics found on the AMD APU powering the PS4. The latest milestone is they now have Vulkan running on the PS4.

NVIDIA 378.09 Driver Adds Multi-Threaded GLSL Shader Compilation, Vulkan Extensions
As reported a few hours ago, it's the day for a new NVIDIA Linux driver beta series. Meet the NVIDIA 378.09 driver release and it's pretty darn exciting for both OpenGL and Vulkan.

Radeon GPU Analyzer Open-Sourced: Analyze OpenGL / Vulkan / OpenCL
In addition to AMD having open-sourced their UMR debugger a few days back, over in their "GPU Open" team they open-sourced the Radeon GPU Analyzer.

And then the benchmarks/featured articles:

Windows 10 vs. Ubuntu Linux Gaming Performance With NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060/1080
It's been a while since last testing Windows 10 vs. Linux on different, newer Linux game ports with a variety of GPUs, but that changed this week. As mentioned this weekend, I've been working on a large, fresh Windows vs. Linux gaming performance comparison. The results available today are for NVIDIA with testing a GeForce GTX 1060 and GTX 1080 on Windows 10 Pro x64 and Ubuntu 16.10 x86_64 with the latest drivers and using a variety of newer Direct3D 11/12 / OpenGL / Vulkan games.

MSI GeForce GT 1030: A $70 Passively-Cooled Graphics Card, Decent With OpenGL/Vulkan/OpenCL/VDPAU
If you are looking for a low-profile, passively-cooled graphics card, the GeForce GT 1030 launched last week and MSI is out the door with such a capable graphics card while only costing around $70~80 USD. Here are some Linux OpenGL, Vulkan, OpenCL, and VDPAU video acceleration benchmarks of the MSI GeForce GT 1030 compared to various other Radeon and GeForce graphics cards under Ubuntu.

AMD Radeon RX 580 Linux OpenGL/Vulkan Benchmarks
For those curious if the Radeon RX 580 "Polaris Evolved" graphics card is worthwhile as a Linux gamer, here are the initial Phoronix figures for the RX 580 8GB graphics card that launched yesterday. These initial tests were done with AMDGPU+RadeonSI/RADV under a variety of OpenGL and Vulkan workloads.

Radeon's Open-Source Linux GPU Driver Has Nearly Caught Up With Windows' Driver
Over the past few months we have seen some incredible progress made to the RadeonSI Gallium3D driver as well as AMDGPU (and the RADV Vulkan driver, though not the focus of today's article) as well as the Mesa 3D stack as a whole. The open-source Radeon Linux driver is much faster now than where it was last year and is becoming competitive with NVIDIA's Linux driver performance. For seeing how close the AMDGPU+RadeonSI stack is now to Windows, here are some fresh benchmarks.

GeForce GTX 1080 Ti: Core i7 7700K vs. Ryzen 7 1800X Linux Gaming Performance
Since last week's tests of the GeForce GTX 1080 Ti, a number of Phoronix readers have requested tests of this high-end GP102 graphics card to be done under both the AMD Ryzen 7 1800X and Core i7 7700K. Here are those OpenGL and Vulkan gaming results for those looking at high-end Linux gaming performance.

OpenGL vs. Vulkan On The AMD Ryzen 3
We have previously looked at Vulkan vs. OpenGL Linux game CPU core scaling and Linux game scaling across multiple CPUs but at the time did not have a Ryzen 3 system. Now having Ryzen 3 Linux box, here is a look at how the Vulkan versus OpenGL performance compares on the low-end processor. As well, it's a fresh look at the NVIDIA vs. RadeonSI/RADV performance.

Radeon RX 560 Linux OpenGL/Vulkan Benchmarks
Last week the "Polaris Evolved" Radeon RX 560 graphics card launched. I picked up a Sapphire Radeon RX 560 for Linux testing and have those results to share today for OpenGL and Vulkan workloads under Linux using the 4.12 development kernel and Mesa 17.2-dev compared to a range of Radeon and GeForce graphics cards.

18-Way NVIDIA/AMD Linux Performance For Dawn Of War III
Today marks the highly anticipated debut of Dawn of War III for Linux (and macOS) ported by Feral Interactive. Here are a number of OpenGL and Vulkan benchmarks of NVIDIA GeForce and AMD Radeon graphics cards running Ubuntu Linux with this game.

Intel Graphics Performance: Ubuntu 17.04 vs. 17.10
Given the Ubuntu 17.10 release this week and its massive desktop changes from GNOME Wayland to Mesa/kernel upgrades, we've been busy benchmarking this new Ubuntu OS release. Complementing the Radeon Ubuntu 17.04 vs. 17.10 gaming comparison are now some OpenGL/Vulkan benchmarks when using Intel Kabylake graphics hardware on Ubuntu 17.04, 17.10 with X.Org and Wayland, and the performance if upgrading against Linux/Mesa Git.

Vulkan vs. OpenGL On Linux With Core i5, Core i7, Ryzen 7
For those curious about the state of the Radeon Vulkan (RADV) vs. OpenGL (RadeonSI) performance with different Intel and AMD CPUs, here are some fresh benchmark results with the current Vulkan-supported prominent Linux game titles of Dota 2, Mad Max, Talos Principle, and Dawn of War III. During this opportunity for the tests across Core i5 / Core i7 / Ryzen 7 hardware were also CPU usage analytics.

RADV vs. NVIDIA Vulkan/OpenGL Performance For Serious Sam 2017
Yesterday I published some initial RADV Vulkan benchmarks for Serious Sam 2017, their "fusion" update to Serious Sam HD: The First Encounter. In this article are some comparison NVIDIA Linux Vulkan benchmark figures.

RADV Vulkan vs. RadeonSI OpenGL Performance With Linux 4.13 + Mesa 17.3-dev
It's been a few weeks since last delivering any large RADV/RadeonSI open-source AMD Linux graphics benchmark results due to being busy with testing other hardware as well as battling some regressions / stability problems within the AMDGPU DRM code and Mesa Git. But with Linux 4.13 stable and the newest Mesa 17.3-dev code, things are playing well so here are some fresh OpenGL vs. Vulkan benchmarks on three Radeon graphics cards.

Intel vs. Radeon vs. NVIDIA OpenGL/Vulkan Linux Driver Performance
As another interesting benchmark special for Phoronix's 13th birthday is a comparison of Intel Kabylake, NVIDIA, and Radeon Vulkan vs. OpenGL Linux driver performance. Not only are we looking at the raw OpenGL/Vulkan performance but also the relative performance between graphics APIs on each vendor.

NVIDIA Vulkan Driver Shows Impressive Mad Max Linux Performance
Hours ago I posted some RADV vs. RadeonSI results on Mad Max which showed much progress for this first Feral Interactive Vulkan Linux game while the NVIDIA results do show much more impressive performance capabilities with this new graphics API. Here are some of my initial NVIDIA GeForce results for OpenGL vs. Vulkan with Mad Max on Linux while additional tests are on the way.

Core i7 / Core i9 / Ryzen 7 / Threadripper OpenGL+Vulkan Linux Gaming Benchmarks
For those craving to see some fresh OpenGL and Vulkan Linux gaming benchmarks with the recent high-end Intel/AMD CPUs at Phoronix, this article is for you.

RADV vs. AMDGPU-PRO Vulkan Performance vs. OpenGL In May 2017
With the open-source RADV Radeon Vulkan driver recently hitting the milestone of effectively being Vulkan 1.0 compliant, I figured this warranted a good time for running a fresh open-source Vulkan vs. AMDGPU-PRO Vulkan performance comparison on various graphics cards. For additional context, the RadeonSI and AMDGPU-PRO OpenGL numbers are also present to provide additional value.

RADV Mesa 17.1-dev vs. AMDGPU-PRO 16.60 Performance
With Vulkan turning one year old I decided to run some fresh comparison benchmarks of Mesa 17.1-dev RADV (as well as some RadeonSI OpenGL results for reference) compared to AMD's latest public hybrid driver release, the AMDGPU-PRO 16.60.

AMD Open-Source Driver For Vulkan "AMDVLK" Is Now Available
Last week I reported on AMD finally preparing their open-source Vulkan driver that many Linux enthusiasts have been looking forward to since the Vulkan 1.0 debut nearly two years ago. As of this morning, the source-code to this official AMD Vulkan driver is now publicly available. AMD Linux fans and developers can rejoice this weekend building out this "AMDVLK" Vulkan driver and its new Platform Abstraction Layer (PAL).

The Grand Features Of Mesa 17.1: Vega, RadeonSI Shader Cache, Maturing Vulkan, New OpenGL Extensions
We are just a few weeks out from the release of Mesa 17.1 as the latest quarterly update to this important component to the open-source 3D Linux graphics driver stack. With "Mesa 17.1" already having been mentioned in 102 Phoronix articles to date, here's a look at some of the most exciting changes and new features with Mesa 17.1.

RadeonSI Mesa 17.1-dev vs. AMDGPU-PRO 16.60 OpenGL Linux Gaming
Yesterday I ran some fresh Vulkan RADV vs. AMDGPU-PRO benchmarks using the freshest AMD Linux drivers available. For getting your benchmarking fix today are some OpenGL benchmarks of RadeonSI Gallium3D on Mesa 17.1-devel plus Linux 4.10 compared to AMDGPU-PRO 16.60.
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Michael Larabel

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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