Khronos launches Vulkan API 1.1 with support for dual GPUs

The Khronos Group's low-level Vulkan API has slowly been making headway into games since version 1.0 was released a little over two years ago. Today the consortium is introducing version 1.1, a major upgrade that bakes in a wide range of extensions that were available for the previous version, including multi-GPU support.

AMD and Nvidia are no longer pushing Crossfire and SLI as hard as they once were, but there seems to plenty of excitement about Vulkan natively supporting multiple GPUs.

"Vulkan also enriches its connectivity with other APIs by supporting interop operations, and finally enables first-class support for multi-GPU and VR systems. AMD believes that this major upgrade to the API will delight the existing Vulkan community and continue to broaden the user base," Andrej Zdravkovic, AMD's corporate VP of software, said in a statement.

In addition to incorporating a bunch of extensions, the Vulkan 1.1 API adds a few other technical bits, such as support for protected content and subgroup operations, both of which are features that developers have been requesting.

Alongside Vulkan 1.1 (and integral to the API's release), the Khronos Group also published Standard Portable Intermediate Representation (SPIR-V) 1.3 specifications. This is the shading language that Vulkan uses and what gets run on the actual GPU hardware. The big news with SPIR-V is that it has compilers for GLSL, OpenCL C, and HLSL. As PCPerspective points out, this means that developers do not have to rewrite their DirectX shaders to operate on Vulkan. This could help spur adoption of the Vulkan API in the long run.

On top of new tools and features, the Khronos Group announced a new public Vulkan Ecosystem Forum for developers to gather and share issues, and to provide feedback. It's also a place for collaboration. This represents an effort by the Khronos Group to expand and promote the Vulkan ecosystem and could prove just as important in building widespread support for the Vulkan API.

Paul Lilly

Paul has been playing PC games and raking his knuckles on computer hardware since the Commodore 64. He does not have any tattoos, but thinks it would be cool to get one that reads LOAD"*",8,1. In his off time, he rides motorcycles and wrestles alligators (only one of those is true).