Vulkan Multi-GPU One Ups DirectX 12, Works Pretty Much Everywhere

Vulkan Multi-GPU One Ups DirectX 12, Works Pretty Much Everywhere

It’s still very early days for DirectX 12 and Vulkan, the main graphics APIs fighting for superiority. It’s not quite Blu-ray versus HD-DVD; even if one does pull ahead with developers, the other won’t suddenly vanish. A lot of factors can decide the battle, with one of the more interesting being support for mixed hardware, multi-GPU setups. On this front, Microsoft scored points with DirectX 12, but Vulkan has done one better by supporting multi-GPU on all the important platforms, not just Windows 10.

An announcement by the Khronos, the working group that oversees OpenGL and Vulkan and comprised of industry heavyweights including AMD, Valve, Google, Intel and NVIDIA, among many others, has made it clear that the API’s multi-GPU functionality will play nice with Windows 7, 8.1 and 10, as well as Linux.

Apparently, the question was a popular one at this year’s GDC, so Khronos thought it best to clarify the situation in writing:

The good news is that the Vulkan multi-GPU specification is very definitely NOT tied to Windows 10. It is possible to implement the Vulkan multi-GPU extension on any desktop OS including Windows 7, 8.X and 10 and Linux … Khronos always strives to make its specifications as cross platform as possible. Of course, what products ship on which OS is up to the implementers of each specification, but Khronos is already aware of vendor plans to ship multi-GPU functionality on platforms other than Windows 10, including Linux.

The rest of the statement is mostly technical, but the gist is that there’s nothing really stopping Vulkan’s multi-GPU support from working, well, anywhere. Sure, certain operating system features can make it easier to implement, but there are no hard locks in the way.

Putting aside technical limitations, there’s no mystery behind Microsoft’s decision to restrict DirectX 12 and hence, mixed-vendor multi-GPU support, to Windows 10. But if a developer was on the fence about which API to go with, Khronos has made Vulkan just that much more appealing.

Vulkan Multi-GPU Support — Not Just for Windows 10 [Khronos]


  • I’m certainly keen to see some more games get in on the Vulkan action. Given I can run Doom at 2160p @ 120fps using Vulkan certainly makes it appealing to have more games use it 🙂

  • Gotta see more games have Vulkan as an option. Many of the games that have included DirectX 12 however have not had very good impressions.

  • Is multi gpu still popular?
    With quite powerful cards these days I’d say this would affect the majority of people. If you don’t multi gpu this hardly would make up your mind. But that said Vulcan had been quite impressive so far and I do have limited use of dx12 to my knowledge.

    • It’s popular among enthusiasts who can afford it, but I think this will open it up to a lot more people. Last I checked, you could only use multi card setups for SLI/Xfire if they were from the same generation (like a 980GTX and a 960GTX would work together) but if one of your cards was a different gen (say a 980GTX and an 880GTX) you couldn’t use them for SLI. You could use the 880 as a dedicated Physx processor though, which does have its advantages, but only of course, if the game actually uses Physx.
      Given they haven’t released all the details of what they’re doing, it’s hard to say for sure, but by the sounds of it, this may open up multi GPU setups to cross generation cards, or maybe even a mix of AMD/nVidia cards. If that’s the case, a lot of people who’ve previously upgraded their GPU’s, may well have a second card lying around, and be able to use it for more than just Physx.

    • It might provide a less hackish way of handling laptops with both an integrated Intel GPU and discrete Nvidia/AMD GPU. Depending on the workload, you might even benefit from using both at once.

  • I thought this was talking about multi gpu as in one amd and one nvidia. But reading back. It doesnt specify that. I know the new direct x was allowing that sort of configuration and had some stunning results.

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