Categories: News

Intel CPUs Get Official Vulkan Support

Intel has released the first graphics driver for its CPUs with official support for the Vulkan API. While the company had previously supplied beta drivers which supported Vulkan, they were notoriously unstable. Intel’s official Vulkan support, though, is limited to sixth-generation Skylake chips with Windows 7, 8.1, and 10, or seventh-generation Kaby Lake processors with Windows 10 only.

“Intel announces that we are moving from beta support to full official support for the Vulkan* API on Windows going forward,” the company says. “Vulkan targets high performing real-time 3D graphics applications, like games, while giving low-overhead hardware control over GPU acceleration to developers. Vulkan* promises great performance and predictability, while paving the way to better equip games to handle virtual reality or 4k HDR.”

Vulkan, made by Khronos, is effectively the successor of OpenGL, which for years was the only direct rival to Microsoft’s DirectX API, and borrows much from AMD’s Mantle API to allow developers more closely access PC hardware. The benefits of using Vulkan to play supported games with AMD graphics cards are clear: titles such as DOOM (2016) get a performance boost of up to 35% on Radeon cards over the nearest equivalent NVIDIA GeForce model.

It’s not entirely clear what the benefits of Intel’s official Vulkan support will be, but the chipmaker might be pre-emptively signalling a shift in marketing strategy to counter the impending arrival of AMD’s Ryzen processors, given the latter’s greater performance handling of the API.

Ashley Allen

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