Vulkan on Win­dows 10 PCs

Apollo Lake and Kaby Lake added to the list of chips that sup­port Vulkan, writes Agam Shah

Tech Advisor - - Contents -

In­tel is bring­ing more op­tions to im­prove gam­ing and virtual re­al­ity ex­pe­ri­ences on Win­dows PCs with of­fi­cial sup­port for Vulkan (API). The cross­plat­form is sim­i­lar to DirectX 12, and will work with GPUs in­te­grated into In­tel’s Kaby Lake, Sky­lake and Apollo Lake chips.

The firm’s sup­port could open the door for Vulkan ap­pli­ca­tions to work on Win­dows­based VR head­sets. Mi­crosoft re­cently launched VR de­vel­op­ment kits with teth­ered head­sets at its Game Devel­op­ers Con­fer­ence, and later this year, PC mak­ers, in­clud­ing Len­ovo, Dell and HP, are ex­pected to re­lease head­sets that at­tach to Win­dows 10 PCs.

In­tel has ramped up the graph­ics ca­pa­bil­i­ties of its in­te­grated Kaby Lake GPUs, mak­ing them ca­pa­ble of 4K graph­ics. Vulkan will ex­ploit the new fea­tures for a bet­ter gam­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. It’s al­ready pos­si­ble to run Vulkan games on Win­dows PCs via driv­ers pro­vided by Nvidia and AMD, but In­tel’s sup­port for the plat­form is now of­fi­cial.

Most of the lat­est Win­dows games run on closed-source DirectX 12 tech­nol­ogy. The open­source Vulkan has many sim­i­lar fea­tures: it takes full ad­van­tage of the lat­est GPUs and CPUs for bet­ter graph­ics. It also uses fewer sys­tem re­sources and can gen­er­ate im­ages faster.

It’s eas­ier to port games from DirectX 12 to Vulkan, which suc­ceeds the older OpenGL set of APIs. Port­ing games from OpenGL to DirectX was con­sid­ered time-con­sum­ing.

Some pre­mium smart­phones such as Sam­sung’s Galaxy S7 also sup­port Vulkan. Games run­ning the plat­form use fewer sys­tem re­sources and pre­serve bat­tery life in lap­tops and mo­bile de­vices. It is al­ready seen as a fu­ture for gam­ing on Linux PCs and Steam Ma­chines.

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