AMD May Have Accidentally Outed Vulkan 1.1
Written by Michael Larabel in Radeon on 15 February 2018 at 03:44 PM EST. 29 Comments
RADEON --
AMD on Wednesday released the Radeon Pro Software Enterprise Edition 18.Q1 for Linux driver. It really isn't noticeable for its official changes, but does claim to advertise Vulkan 1.1 support.

The Q1 update to the Radeon Pro Software driver stack adds support for CentOS / RHEL 7.4 while continuing with prior EL6/EL7 releases and Ubuntu 16.04 LTS.

The changes found in this driver are basically what was found in the AMDGPU-PRO driver update in December. Those changes include large page support by default and AMDGPU-PRO and AMDGPU-All-Open support from the same driver package.

But a sharp-eyed Phoronix reader spotted in the release notes that this Radeon Pro Linux driver now claims to support Vulkan 1.1 in addition to Vulkan 1.0, OpenGL 4.5, OpenCL 1.2, and VDPAU/VAAPI.


Vulkan 1.1 hasn't been officially announced by The Khronos Group. Up to now they have publicly admitted they are working on the next version as "Vulkan-Next" but details have been light.

At the end of last year Qualcomm's press material was referencing "Vulkan 2" to which Khronos said it was inaccurate. Is Vulkan 1.1 another blunder by a marketing department? It could also very well be real, after all, GDC 18 is one month away where they are likely to release an update to Vulkan... GDC and SIGGRAPH are the two biggest annual events for Khronos and where they tend to release major API updates. This year the Game Developers Conference is back in San Francisco from 19 to 23 March. But if it's called Vulkan 1.1 or something else hasn't been confirmed. As far as what is likely to be found in the next major update to Vulkan, I shared some possibilities of new Vulkan features back in that earlier Qualcomm speculation article.

I'll be poking at this Radeon Pro driver update to see if the updated AMD Vulkan driver does indeed expose some new capabilities explaining Vulkan 1.1 or their release notes writers jumped the gun in early reporting the driver's planned features. I have also reached out to Khronos to see if they have any comment at this time.

Update: Khronos has responded to our inquiry to say that AMD's reference to Vulkan 1.1 was a "miscommunication" and has now been corrected.

About The Author
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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 10,000 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 or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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