The Khronos Group today launched Vulkan 1.1, the first big revision of its vendor-neutral, cross-platform GPU API.
The new revision standardizes a handful of features that were previously offered as extensions. The release rounds out the API, bringing parity with Microsoft’s DirectX 12 in a few areas where it was absent, improving compatibility with DirectX 12, and laying the groundwork for the next generation of GPUs.
One feature in particular goes a long way toward filling a Vulkan gap relative to Microsoft’s API: explicit multi-GPU support, which allows one program to spread its work across multiple GPUs. Unlike SLI and Crossfire of old, where the task of divvying up the rendering between GPUs was largely handled by the driver, this support gives control to the developer. With the addition, developers can create “device groups” that aggregate multiple physical GPUs into a single virtual device and choose how work is dispatched to the different physical GPUs. Resources from one physical GPU can be used by another GPU, different commands can be run on the different GPUs, and one GPU can show rendered images that were created by another GPU.
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