It’s been over two months since DOOM was released to much fanfare. Since that time, much digital blood has been spilled at the hands of gamers all over the globe, and thanks to a new update, some gamers can expect to see even greater performance in DOOM.
id Software announced today that Vulkan API support is now live on the PC version of DOOM. In case you haven’t been keeping abreast of Vulkan, it is a graphics API that was developed by the Khronos Group. Thanks to low-level access to graphics hardware, much of the driver overhead is erased, leading to higher performance. In addition to lower overhead, the Vulkan API brings a few other added benefits to DOOM including asynchronous shaders (the ability to use multiple command processors), shader intrinsics (allows direct access to GPU hardware, bypassing the API), and frame flip optimizations (frames are sent to the display as soon as they’re ready).
So let’s get down to brass tacks; what does this actually mean for real-world performance in DOOM? Using an Intel Core i7 5960X CPU system paired with 16GB DDR4-2666 MHz memory and a Radeon RX 480 GPU, frame rates are 27 percent higher with Vulkan than when using OpenGL at 1080p resolutions. When the resolution is cranked up to 1440p, the performance advantage for Vulkan is 23 percent. Radeon Software 16.7.1 was used for all benchmark testing.
While it’s great to see that today’s latest graphics cards are seeing significant gains with Vulkan, older GPUs aren’t being left by the wayside. “We also anticipate some older GPUs will now be able to play the game at good frame rates. We hope the range of GPU support widens with additional game and driver updates,” said id Software CTO Robert Duffy.
“That said, this is the first time a triple-A game is releasing on a brand-new API and brand-new drivers so there may be a few bumps, but our testing is showing really great performance and stability.”
Although AMD was the first to jump onboard with official performance benchmarks touting the superiority of Vulkan over OpenGL, we should point out that NVIDIA also supports Vulkan in DOOM. You can download the latest AMD drivers here or the latest NVIDIA drivers here to take advantage of Vulkan in DOOM.