NVIDIA Takes Subtle Shots at AMD's Vulkan Beta Drivers

By Published February 16, 2016 at 11:06 am
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This morning's press embargo on the official Vulkan 1.0 API ratification lifted at 9am, when our post and video went live. The major news was AMD's Vulkan beta drivers, which developers were welcomed to download for initial testing of the new low-level API; AMD's Vulkan beta drivers can also be used for the Talos Principle.

In an nVidia announcement one hour after the embargo lifted, the company contacted us about its own Vulkan support – not shy to take a few shots at AMD's hour-prior news release. In its email to us, nVidia made the following between-the-lines statement (emphasis theirs):

“On launch day NVIDIA has fully conformant Vulkan drivers available for Windows, Linux, and Android platforms for all Kepler and Maxwell-based GPUs. Gamers and developers can start now with a solid graphics foundation for Vulkan. Not ‘beta’, not ‘coming soon’ but tested, approved and fully conformant drivers.”

Did you catch it? Pretty obvious: “Not 'beta,' not 'coming soon,' but tested.”

Amusing language, sure, but here's some more important information from the company:

“Vulkan was created by many graphics hardware and software companies working together at Khronos under the direction of NVIDIA’s Neil Trevett who has been the elected president of the Khronos group for over 15 years. Multiple NVIDIA engineers made significant contributions at the Khronos Vulkan working group including significant design input and specification writing. On launch day, NVIDIA has the widest range of Vulkan drivers in the industry – across multiple product families on multiple platforms.

We have always been big fans of industry standard APIs. We have already begun working with developers to deliver Vulkan applications for Quadro, GeForce and Tegra processors. We will work to deliver the best Vulkan drivers we can to ensure our developers can chose the API that best suits their needs, and our customers have a fantastic experience.”

The translation: “We helped, too. This wasn't all AMD.”

And that's a fair translation. NVidia's fully-shipped drivers are compatible and functional cross-platform, working on Windows 7, 8.1, and 10, alongside Linux and Android platforms. As we discussed previously, Vulkan's big draw is its compatibility with more platforms than just Windows 10 – DirectX 12's only home, by design – and its potential on mobile. Vulkan is a successor to OpenGL (and was even rumored as 'OpenGL Next' in a previous life).

Update: NVIDIA's drivers actually are beta; the company's language in the release was incorrect. The drivers are "fully conformant," but beta.

The nVidia drivers for Vulkan are available here: https://developer.nvidia.com/vulkan-driver

AMD's can be found here: http://support.amd.com/en-us/download

- Steve “Lelldorianx” Burke.

Last modified on February 16, 2016 at 11:06 am
Steve Burke

Steve started GamersNexus back when it was just a cool name, and now it's grown into an expansive website with an overwhelming amount of features. He recalls his first difficult decision with GN's direction: "I didn't know whether or not I wanted 'Gamers' to have a possessive apostrophe -- I mean, grammatically it should, but I didn't like it in the name. It was ugly. I also had people who were typing apostrophes into the address bar - sigh. It made sense to just leave it as 'Gamers.'"

First world problems, Steve. First world problems.

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