Vulkan 1.1.85 Released With Raytracing, Mesh Shaders & Other New NVIDIA Extensions
Written by Michael Larabel in Vulkan on 19 September 2018 at 02:05 PM EDT. Add A Comment
VULKAN --
Leading up to the Turing launch we weren't sure if NVIDIA was going to deliver same-day Vulkan support for RTX/ray-tracing with the GeForce RTX graphics cards or if it was going to be left up to Direct3D 12 on Windows for a while... Fortunately, as already reported, their new driver has Vulkan RTX support. Additionally, the NVX_raytracing extension and other NVIDIA updates made it into today's Vulkan 1.1.85 release.

Most exciting with Vulkan 1.1.85 is the new VK_NVX_raytracing extension to enable a ray-tracing workflow with Vulkan. As implied by the "NVX" vendor pre-fix, this is currently a NVIDIA experimental extension but will be stabilized moving forward and eventually there will likely be an official Vulkan ray-tracing extension backed by multiple vendors.

Besides VK_NVX_raytracing there is also VK_NV_mesh_shader, VK_NV_compute_shader_derivatives, VK_NV_corner_sampled_image, VK_NV_fragment_shader_barycentric, VK_NV_representative_fragment_test, VK_NV_scissor_exclusive, VK_NV_shader_image_footprint, and VK_NV_shading_rate_image. For those most part they are just the Vulkan equivalent of today's new NVIDIA OpenGL extensions - see that article for brief descriptions.

All in all, great to see RTX ray-tracing and mesh shaders in time for launch day for those outside of the Direct3D space. Aside from the new NVIDIA extensions, the Vulkan 1.1.85 update has just other routine document corrections and clarifications. The specification as always is available from Khronos.org.
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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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