DOOM Finally Gets Vulkan And Its Pretty Good

DOOM Finally Gets Vulkan And Its Pretty Good

After the early performance issues people had during the closed beta, NVIDIA and id came out and blew everyone away during the GTX 1080 launch with footage of DOOM running on the fancy new Vulkan render.

And then DOOM launched. It ran amazingly well — but Vulkan support was nowhere to be seen. But now it has arrived, and it’s a bit great.

First things first: if you want to use Vulkan, you’ll have to go to the advanced video options. You’ll see a new option at the top, where you can select either the OpenGL 4.5 or Vulkan renderer.

Once you’ve done that, you’ll get a warning box saying the game has to restart and that there might be a lengthy wait when the game relaunches. Mine only took a few seconds, but your experience may vary.

From there, it’s a case of getting a nice bump in FPS. Precisely how much improvement depends on your settings, resolution and, more importantly, what card you’re using.

I haven’t had the time to do an extensive set of benchmarks, but here’s the difference Vulkan makes to a GeForce GTX 1080 at 1080p on the Ultra setting (same methodology as our previous benchmarks):

DOOM Finally Gets Vulkan And Its Pretty Good

Those on AMD cards, however, will reportedly enjoy a far better bump. AMD has been bragging of substantial performance gains. But rather than re-type the fine print, here’s a handy graph with the figures that the GPU manufacturer is sending around to the media:

DOOM Finally Gets Vulkan And Its Pretty Good

It’s worth remembering that we don’t know the precise scenario or methodology AMD used to produce these figures, so take them with a grain of salt. But my own tests with the RX 480 and the R9 390X found that both cards were capable of running DOOM at around 60fps in 1440p. If even half of the gains under Vulkan gains are replicated in these instances, that’s a nice amount of headroom gamers have just gotten for free.

But while more fps is all well and good, it’s worth remembering that solid Vulkan support — and even DirectX 12 to some extend — is pretty thin on the ground. And there are even instances like The Talos Principle where games run faster under the older DirectX 11, mainly because developers are still getting to grips with the new programming interfaces.

Nevertheless it’s a good sign in the years ahead. And it’s also a good sign for AMD owners, particularly those who only want to spend $200 or $300 on a GPU.


  • Soooo, how far did you have to zoom in on that first graphic to make that whole 6fps difference look absolutely massive?

    • That’s my bad. Excel kept crashing repeatedly when I was making the graph, and eventually that’s what it ended up coming down to. The end values are readable enough that people shouldn’t be too thrown off, I hope.

      • Ironic, it seems ALLOT of NVIDIA graphs end up this way these days. Strange coincidence…

        • In fairness, the second graph is completely fine and there hasn’t been any drama with any of the graphs or data in the other GTX 1080/1070/RX 480 posts that have gone up. So hopefully people won’t chalk this up to a conspiracy.

          (But of course that’s what someone who’s part of the conspiracy would say)

    • Yeah, as mentioned before Excel was traumatising me this morning when I was trying to put the first graph together. Just crashed time and time and time again, and eventually this is what it was able to spit out without dying in the arse completely.

      I don’t have the time to redo it now, but the data is fine and the end values are readable enough that people shouldn’t get a misleading impression when they walk away. After all, you have to read the numbers to understand what the difference is anyway.

      • It’s funny Alex – NVIDIA is notorious for graphs like that. They actually released a graph like that rjust the other day (except theirs was on purpose, obviously!)

        Saw it on a Videocardz (dot com) post, and the scale was something like 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 5.1/ 5.2 / 5.3 / 5.4 — with AMD being at 5, and NVIDIA being at 5.4. At a quick glance, it made it looks like NVIDIA had a massive lead.

        Yours is obviously unintentional. But I think people who follow NVIDIA’s trecherous marketing might be more on edge to seeing graphs like this than most people 😉

  • GTX 970 here. Getting random fps drops with Vulkan, sometimes down to 30 for a second or two.

    OpenGL 4.5 = constant 60fps

    • You won’t really have much to gain on Maxwell and earlier, a lot of the advantages of low level API’s are negated on pre-Pascal Nvidia hardware due to architectural limitations.

    • Check out Reddit for a thread on poor GTX970 performance under Vulcan. A couple people are reporting that it’s worse 🙁

      Hopefully we see a new driver from Nvidia that helps out the older cards.

      As for AMDs gains, apparently some of that stems from Async which is enabled for them but not the Nvidia ones.

  • Inb4 hey that first graph looks a bit… Oh. Um…

    Look over there! A three-headed monkey!

  • I have a Titan X and a 480, before Vulkan, the Titan was noticeably faster than the RX480, after Vulkan, the RX480 is 8fps faster than the Titan X at the same settings, which is surprising.

  • No surprise that pre-pascal nvidia cards may not like Vulkan. They just don’t have the hardware support to benefit from DX12/Vulkan so you are probably at best going to get the same performance as DX11 or opengl.

    What will be interesting is if nvidia decide to butcher Maxwell like they did with Kepler

  • Alex… you could get a job at nvidia with that first graph mate… or do you already????? Hehe

    But seriously, been testing Vulkan VS OpenGL over the last few nights with a gtx 1080. Going back and forth from one API to the other playing around in Kadingir Sanctum and Argent Tower, and at this stage I’m preferring OpenGL 4.5. Frame rate is minimally higher with Vulkan (not to any visually noticeable extent) and in general game play… it’s just less smooth. Experiencing things like occasional frame skipping, very slight ‘load in’ delays with textures, effects etc all of which I don’t experience with OpenGL. So many factors and variance from one build to the next could be just my system… but hoping for a driver update from nvidia.

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