OpenGL vs. Vulkan For Older NVIDIA Kepler GPUs (Early 2017)
Written by Michael Larabel in Vulkan on 5 January 2017 at 09:34 PM EST. 21 Comments
Most often when running any regular NVIDIA Linux benchmarks with Vulkan/OpenGL, it's usually just with the newest Pascal GPUs and then the older Maxwell GPUs for reference. But if you are curious about the OpenGL vs. Vulkan performance for GTX 600/700 "Kepler" graphics processors, I have some fresh results today.

With pulling out my available Kepler cards for the Nouveau Linux 4.10 NvBoost benchmarking I published earlier today and then prepping some open vs. closed comparison numbers, in the midst of that I also ran some Kepler-catered OpenGL vs. Vulkan benchmarks with the latest binary driver (375.26).

For reference in seeing the more CPU limited scenarios and what not I also included two Maxwell 2 cards (GTX 980 and GTX 980 Ti). The Kepler cards were the GeForce GTX 680, GTX 760, and GTX 780 Ti. Kepler is as far back as NVIDIA goes in their Vulkan driver coverage on both Windows and Linux.

At the base 800 x 600 resolution for Valve's Dota 2 v7.00 game, the performance is very similar between Vulkan and OpenGL for both Kepler and Maxwell cards tested.

And up through 1080p, the Vulkan renderer remains just a few frames behind OpenGL with Dota 2, similar to our results with newer AMD and NVIDIA cards. When the Source 2 Engine is more catered for Vulkan, those numbers should be even higher.

And at 4K, Vulkan is still behind but given our other results it's likely a matter of the game (Dota 2) simply needing to be more catered towards Vulkan to offer superior performance to OpenGL.

Unfortunately, The Talos Principle was crashing with the Vulkan renderer on Kepler, but there are the OpenGL results for those interested.

If you wish to compare your own system's performance to the results in this article, simply install the Phoronix Test Suite and run phoronix-test-suite benchmark 1701061-RI-KEPLERVUL79 on your Vulkan-enabled Linux system.
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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 or contacted via

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