The Vulkan Graphics API Is Here—and Your NVIDIA GPU Is Ready

If you’re a GeForce gamer, you already have what you need to take advantage of what the Vulkan API can do. If you’re a developer, you will now have the choice of a new tool that will give you more control, and greater performance, on a broad range of devices.

Our support for Vulkan, on the day it launches, not just on multiple platforms, but in cutting-edge games such as The Talos Principle, has some of the industry’s most respected observers taking notice.

“To be able to play a game like The Talos Principle on the same day an API launches, is an unheard of achievement,” said Jon Peddie, president of Jon Peddie Research. “NVIDIA’s multi-platform compatibility and fully conformant driver support across many operating systems is a testament to the company’s leadership role in Vulkan’s development.”

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GeForce gamers will be the first to play the Vulkan version of The Talos Principle, a puzzle game from Croteam that shipped today.

What Is Vulkan?

Vulkan is a low level API that gives direct access of the GPU to developers who want the ultimate in control. With a simpler, thinner driver, Vulkan has less latency and overhead than traditional OpenGL or Direct3D. Vulkan also has efficient multi-threading capabilities so that multi-core CPUs can keep the graphics pipeline loaded, enabling a new level of performance on existing hardware.

Vulkan is the first new generation, low-level API that is cross platform. This allows developers to create applications for a variety of PC, mobile and embedded devices using diverse operating systems. Like OpenGL, Vulkan is an open, royalty-free standard available for any platform to adopt. For developers who prefer to remain on OpenGL or OpenGL ES, NVIDIA will continue to drive innovations on those traditional APIs too.

Who’s Behind Vulkan?

vulkan-transparent-webVulkan was created by the Khronos Group, a standards organization that brings together a wide range of hardware and software companies, including NVIDIA, for the creation of open standard, royalty-free APIs for authoring and accelerated playback of dynamic media on a wide variety of platforms and devices. We’re proud to have played a leadership role in creating Vulkan. And we’re committed to helping developers use Vulkan to get the best from our GPUs.

Why You Should Care

Vulkan is great for developers. It reduces porting costs and opens up new market opportunities for applications across multiple platforms. Best of all, the NVIDIA drivers needed to take advantage of Vulkan are already here. On launch day we have Vulkan drivers available for Windows, Linux, and Android platforms. See our Vulkan driver page for all the details.

Here’s what Vulkan will mean for you:

  • For gamers with GeForce GPUs: Vulkan’s low latency and high-efficiency lets developers add more details and more special effects to their games, while still maintaining great performance. Because a Vulkan driver is thinner with less overhead, application developers will get fewer performance surprises. This translates to smoother, more fluid experiences.

    NVIDIA is shipping fully-conformant Vulkan drivers for all GeForce boards based on Kepler or Maxwell GPUs running Windows (Windows 7 or later) or Linux. “We have been using NVIDIA hardware and drivers on both Windows and Android for Vulkan development, and the reductions in CPU overhead have been impressive,” said Oculus Chief Technology Officer John Carmack.

    GeForce gamers will be the first to play the Vulkan version of  The Talos Principle, a puzzle game from Croteam that also shipped today. “We’ve successfully collaborated with the NVIDIA driver support team in the past, but I was amazed with the work they did on Vulkan,” said Croteam Senior Programmer Dean Sekuliuc. “They promptly provided us with the latest beta drivers so we were able to quickly implement the new API into Serious Engine and make The Talos Principle one of the first titles supporting Vulkan. Smooth!”<

  • For professional application developers using Quadro: Our Vulkan and OpenGL drivers use an integrated binary architecture that enables the use of GLSL shaders in Vulkan. Developers also have the flexibility to continue using OpenGL or plan a smooth transition from OpenGL to Vulkan to take advantage of Vulkan’s new capabilities. For example, Vulkan’s multi-threaded architecture can enable multiple CPU cores to prepare massive amounts of data for the GPU faster than before. For design and digital content creation applications, this means enhanced interactivity with large models.
  • For mobile developers using Tegra: We’re making Vulkan available to developers for both Android and Linux. Vulkan will ship alongside OpenGL ES as a core API in a future version of Android. This means that standard Android will have a state-of-the-art API with integrated graphics and compute, ultimately unleashing the GPU in Tegra for cutting-edge vision and compute applications, as well as awesome gaming graphics. Developers can use Vulkan on NVIDIA SHIELD Android TV and SHIELD tablets for Android coding, and Jetson for embedded Linux development.

How to Learn More About Vulkan

To learn more, click here or stop by our upcoming GPU Technology Conference in San Jose, CA, April 4-7, where we’ll have a full slate of Vulkan sessions.

We can’t wait to see what you do with the combination of Vulkan, NVIDIA drivers, and NVIDIA GPUs.

The post The Vulkan Graphics API Is Here—and Your NVIDIA GPU Is Ready appeared first on The Official NVIDIA Blog.

Latest Quadro Driver Released in Sync with New OpenGL 4.4 Standard

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With the latest driver release for our Quadro family of professional graphics products, NVIDIA becomes the first to fully support the OpenGL 4.4 specification..

OpenGL remains the most advanced and prevalent cross-platform 2D and 3D API available. The latest version of the standard, OpenGL 4.4, maintains backwards compatibility while allowing programmers to incrementally add features from the OpenGL specification.

Driver 326.29, released on the same day as the Khronos Group’s announcement of the new OpenGL 4.4 specification, includes support for OpenGL 4.4 enhancements such as:

  • Bindless texture extensions, which provide shaders the ability to access an unlimited number of texture and image resources directly by virtual addresses;
  • Sparse texture extensions, which allow for intelligent handling of large textures which are physically larger than the available memory on a GPU.
  • Buffer placement control, which enhances memory flexibility and efficiency via the explicit control of buffer position in the graphics and system memory;
  • Efficient asynchronous queries, which allow buffer objects to be the direct target of a query, avoiding stalling the graphics pipeline and hindering graphics performance;
  • Streamlined porting of Direct3D applications and games through core functions, such as buffer placement control (GL_ARB_buffer_storage), optimized lower precision vertices (GL_ARB_vertex_type_10f_11f_11f_rev), and texture clamping mode (GL_ARB_texture_mirror_clamp_to_edge).

For detailed OpenGL 4.4 specifications, visit OpenGL.org.

Related reading:
NVIDIA OpenGL Driver Support Page
OpenGL on NVIDIA DevZone

Unreal Engine 4 Leads on Next-Gen Mobile at SIGGRAPH

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[Editor's note: Gaming industry pioneer Tim Sweeney is the founder, CEO and technical director of Epic Games, whose widely used Unreal game engine technology has defined the state of the art in gaming for more than a decade.]

Today at SIGGRAPH, NVIDIA showed our next-generation game engine technology — Unreal Engine 4 – running on their next-generation mobile GPU.

Tim Sweeney

Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney

The big news here is NVIDIA’s support for the OpenGL 4.3 feature set, which brings to mobile devices the same high-end graphics hardware capabilities exposed via DirectX 11 on PC games and on next-generation consoles!

And this isn’t your father’s GPU: NVIDIA’s mobile graphics technology is built on the same Kepler graphics architecture found in its latest generation of PC GPUs. It’s the same Kepler architecture on top of which we’ve created high-end Unreal Engine 4 PC demos, which have taken advantage of over 2.5 teraflops of computing performance.

More than ever before, we see the opportunity for developers to create high-end games and ship them across multiple platforms on a wide variety of devices, including tablet, smartphone, Windows, Mac, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. NVIDIA’s OpenGL 4.3 achievements open up the mobile front of this strategy.

While Unreal Engine 3 already powers hundreds of high-quality games, from PC and console to mobile, Unreal Engine 4 has been reimagined for the future of game development. We’re supporting developers on an entirely new level across major platforms with our most powerful and scalable toolset to date.

Starting today, NVIDIA’s engineers are demonstrating Unreal Engine 4-powered desktop PC game content to a select group of journalists and industry insiders. It’s all running on a chip no bigger than a fingernail, and is just a taste of what mobile Kepler will make possible.

GPU Computing Comes to Tegra

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Our work on everything from super computers to super phones is finally coming together.

If you’re a developer, ARM is ready to support your best work.

Our new Kayla platform pairs a powerful Tegra mobile processor with an NVIDIA Kepler-based GPU to support a powerful suite of technologies that have never appeared on mobile devices before – including CUDA 5 and Open GL 4.3.

Kayla offers a sneak-peek at the capabilities that will be unleashed by Logan, NVIDIA’s next-generation Tegra mobile processor.

“What’s amazing is that Logan will be the size of a dime, whereas Kayla is now the size of a tablet PC,” Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang told a crowd Tuesday morning at our annual GPU Technology Conference.

Support for Open GL 4.3 will unleash advanced desktop-class graphics capabilities — such as tessellation and compute shaders – that are the building blocks for cutting-edge PC games.

And CUDA 5, a sophisticated parallel computing framework, will unlock the ability to tackle complex computer vision problems, such as face and object recognition.

The result is performance and usability comparable to cutting-edge laptops, workstations and servers.

Porting code is incredibly easy. NAMD, a widely-used molecular dynamics simulation package, took two days to move to Kayla. Our own Optix GPU raytracer took just one day.

Introducing Kayla

Introducing Kayla

Earlier versions of this platfom have already been used to help prototypes of mobile hospital robots distinguish between objects and people.

Longer-term, the possibilities are positively science-fictioney. If you’re a developer, you might want to get started now.

Chip Shot: First Intel 3D Graphics Solution Certified for Mobile

A Linux driver created by the Intel Open Source Technology Center is the first open source driver certified by the Khronos Group under the OpenGL ES 3D Graphics 3.0 specification. As one of the first drivers certified, Intel’s software helps mobile solution providers and independent software vendors make the most out of 3rd Generation Intel® Core™ processors’ advanced graphics capabilities. The driver enables desktop-like visuals for people that rely on mobile devices for gaming, entertainment, medicine, energy or design. Source code for Intel’s 3D graphics driver is targeted for release in Spring 2013 and will be made available to leading Linux operating system distribution vendors.

Announcing AMD AppZone Player, Powered by BlueStacks

You may have seen the announcement of AMD AppZone and our work with BlueStacks, an AMD Ventures-backed company, to bring Android apps to AMD-based PCs. We are extremely excited about the collaboration and the new AMD AppZone Player that is powered by BlueStacks’ award winning LayerCake technology. Their technology makes it possible to run native Android apps on a Windows® -based PC.

Why would you want to run Android apps on your PC? For starters, the Android app ecosystem is huge, boasting more than 500,000 apps. And, increasingly consumers have a mix of platforms across their devices, for example an Android phone and a Windows based PC. Maybe you like the Android version of the app better than the alternatives or maybe there isn’t an alternative available at all.

What’s special about the player on AMD-based products? There are many challenges with running apps that were originally designed for phones or tablets on a PC that in most cases has a larger screen and higher resolution display. To solve this, BlueStacks has designed  and optimized the player for AMD Radeon™ graphics and in particular, our OpenGL drivers found in our APUs and GPUs so you get a great ‘big-screen’ experience. Additionally, the apps are integrated into AppZone, our online showcase and one-stop-shop for apps accelerated by AMD technology.

There are two ways to get the player. You can download the player directly or download one of the apps, which will automatically install the player in addition to the app. Once installed, you can click the home page button to get the player home screen. From there, discovering new apps is easy! You can use the top buttons to browse recommended apps, use the search button to find apps across app stores or click one of the suggested apps along the right side that are recommended based on the apps you have previously downloaded.

One of the powerful features of BlueStacks’ technology is the Cloud Connect service that allows you to sync apps and SMS messages with an Android device. To setup, click the settings button and then Cloud Connect and follow the on screen instructions. You will also need to download the BlueStacks Cloud Connect app on your Android device.

Launching installed apps is easy. You can launch the player and apps from the start menu or better yet, click on the ‘Apps’ library, which contains shortcuts to all of your downloaded apps. This library integration makes it simple to launch right into your Android apps.

BlueStacks has achieved some incredible momentum since launching their alpha late last year with millions of downloads and over 1M Facebook fans. We are pleased to further our work with BlueStacks by incorporating Android apps into AMD AppZone and powering the AMD AppZone Player. Try it out!

Gabe Gravning is head of app ecosystem marketing at AMD.  His postings are his own opinions and may not represent AMD’s positions, strategies or opinions. Links to third party sites, and references to third party trademarks, are provided for convenience and illustrative purposes only.  Unless explicitly stated, AMD is not responsible for the contents of such links, and no third party endorsement of AMD or any of its products is implied.