Intel adds Vulkan 1.0 support to Windows PC chips for gaming

Intel has released new graphics drivers that add support for Vulkan 1.0 beta

Windows games have mostly been defined by DirectX 12 tools, but a competitive API is coming to PCs running on Intel chips.

Intel is releasing graphics drivers that support the Vulkan 1.0 API for chips running Windows 7, 8 and 10 PCs. The drivers, specifically, add "new beta support for the Vulkan 1.0 API for 6th Generation Intel Core and related processors," the Intel driver page says.

Most games for Windows are written using Microsoft's DirectX 12 programming tools. The Vulkan 1.0 API, however, provides an alternative set of game development tools.

Vulkan 1.0 was introduced last month by industry consortium Khronos Group and replaces the aging OpenGL, which was first introduced in 1991 by Silicon Graphics. It improves graphics on PCs, mobile devices, VR headsets, robots and other devices.

Vulkan is tuned to exploit the latest features on modern hardware, like powerful GPUs and multicore CPUs, so games have more life-like images and higher frame rates.

With the new drivers, developers will be able to exploit features on Intel GPUs, like the Iris Pro, that are integrated in chips alongside CPUs. Intel's rival AMD has already released Vulkan drivers for Radeon graphics processors.

Much like DirectX 12, Vulkan 1.0 provides close access to hardware, which reduces the processing and power overhead in drawing up images. Developers can define, with better access to specific hardware features, how they want graphics rendered. That's an improvement over OpenGL, which had abstraction layers that made hardware virtually invisible.

Graphics quality would also degrade when trying to port games from Windows to the OpenGL standard -- unlike DirectX, OpenGL runs on Linux machines. But with Vulkan, quality of games remains mostly intact when porting from DirectX, said Jason Ekstrand, a developer at Intel, during a talk.

Vulkan 1.0 APIs will also work with Linux-based PCs like Steam Machines. Intel has made available open-source Vulkan drivers for Linux PCs running on chips code-named Broadwell and Skylake.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Agam Shah

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Crucial Ballistix Elite 32GB Kit (4 x 8GB) DDR4-3000 UDIMM

Learn more >

Gadgets & Things

Lexar® Professional 1000x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards

Learn more >

Family Friendly

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Plox Star Wars Death Star Levitating Bluetooth Speaker

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?