Vulkan graphics API is now supported on Intel chips

(Image Credit: iStockPhoto/KaiDunn)

Intel has announced support for the Vulkan graphics API in the company’s most recent ‘Core’ chips on Windows 10.

Vulkan, a graphics API similar to DirectX 12, is already supported on graphics cards from NVIDIA and AMD. Khronos released v1.0 of the Vulkan specification almost one year ago on February 16th and it has been received well by developers seeking a cross-platform solution to optimise the performance of their software.

Beyond the desktop, Vulkan supports Qualcomm-based mobile devices and the PS4 console. A natural successor to OpenGL, the API is designed to make it easier to port games from DirectX than its notoriously difficult predecessor.

Vulkan API is the future

Most games today continue to use DirectX 12 despite being closed-source and restricted to Microsoft platforms such as Windows and Xbox. While the familiarity of DirectX may keep some developers preferring it over Vulkan, the long-awaited final support from Intel could persuade more to make the jump.

This is how Intel describes Vulkan in its documentation:

“Vulkan targets high-performing real-time 3D graphics applications, like games, while giving low-overhead hardware control over GPU acceleration to developers. Vulkan utilizes many open-source libraries and utilities, and promises great performance and predictability while paving the way to better equip games to handle virtual reality or 4k HDR.”

Intel previously supported Vulkan with beta drivers, but these were considered unstable. The full release provides some comfort the drivers are ready for mainstream use and can be relied on to offer some performance improvements.

While integrated graphics from Intel on their Core chips will be no match for dedicated GPUs from NVIDIA and AMD, there should be some modest performance gains. It will be interesting to see how Vulkan improves the performance of apps running on Windows Holographic VR headsets when they’re released by Microsoft's hardware partners later this year.

What are your thoughts on Vulkan? Let us know in the comments.

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