Futuremark has released a new segment of its popular 3DMark graphics testing suite called "API Overhead". The goal is simple: establish which CPU+GPU+API combination offers the best possible performance. Whether it's DirectX 12 or Vulkan, one thing the test can prove is that most other APIs, such as DirectX 11, are slugs in comparison.
Futuremark's API Overhead test features a simple scene of blocks that get built to create the illusion of buildings. More of these buildings will be built in the time allotted depending on overall performance. The test is capped at 30 FPS for this reason: framerate doesn't matter as much as the number of draw calls. It's a very different kind of benchmark, but a useful one nonetheless.
Benchmarked by itself, DirectX 11 testing on an Intel Core i7-6700K system with NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 might seem impressive, with its ~2.80 million draw calls. But bring DirectX 12 or Vulkan into the mix, and those numbers can skyrocket to 10x, with ~28 million calls using Vulkan under the same configuration.
In a quick test, it does seem that Vulkan's API proves just a smidgen quicker than DirectX 12. However, what's clear is that both DX12 and Vulkan offer unparalleled draw call performance, although it's hard to tell just how that will matter in games in the years ahead. It could prove useful to a complex game like Star Citizen, though, which recently announced that it was all-in where Vulkan is concerned.
If you own a copy of 3DMark, you can take advantage of the API Overhead test immediately.