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Intel adds support for Vulkan graphics API on Windows

Intel has officially added support (via CIO) for the Vulkan graphics API for its most recent Core chips on Windows 10. While Vulkan is already supported on graphics cards from AMD and NVIDIA, the integrated graphics in Intel's Kaby Lake and Skylake chips can now run games and applications written with the API as well.

If you're unfamiliar with Vulkan, it's a relatively new open source low level API akin to OpenGL or Direct3D. Vulkan is considered to be highly efficient, with the ability to offer solid graphical performance on a wide range of hardware. The API is also cross-platform, enabling it to run not only on PCs, but mobile phones and other hardware as well. Here's how Intel describes Vulkan in its documentation:

Vulkan* targets high performing real-time 3D graphics applications, like games, while giving low-overhead hardware control over GPU acceleration to developers. Vulkan* utilizes many open-source libraries and utilities, and promises great performance and predictability, while paving the way to better equip games to handle virtual reality or 4k HDR.

Vulkan support was previously available on Intel chips in beta form, but the official release signals that support is ready for primetime and should be relatively stable. Don't expect your integrated graphics to suddenly compete with high-end cards from NVIDIA and AMD, but Vulkan support should offer some solid performance on modest settings for games that support it. Perhaps more intriguing are the possibilities this opens up for Vulkan-coded apps that could run on the low-cost Windows Holographic VR headsets coming from Microsoft's hardware partners later this year.

For Vulkan support, you'll want to make sure you're running the latest drivers (15.45.14.4590), which you can learn more about at Intel.

Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the Editor in Chief for Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl. Got a hot tip? Send it to daniel.thorp-lancaster@futurenet.com.

11 Comments
  • With Google pushing Vulcan on android, Valve on linux, maybe Apple may start doing so with newer OSX. Things may change in gaming eventually. Maybe windows won't be the go to for gaming.
  • I think Vulcan runs on Windows now so if anything direct x would die I think, not Windows lose its gaming crowd. But only time will tell I guess.
  • I know many people that stay on windows just for gaming. So those people would likely leave if they could go elsewhere for all their games.
  • Oh I get it. I was just pointing out that Vulcan support for Intel chips probably wont change the game much. Devs aren't not writing games for other platforms because of direct x. It goes much deeper than that. That's all I was getting at :).
  • I get that, but Vulcan is what is giving the linux community hope. It takes more than that no doubt. But it's more about Valve trying to push developers to go the multiplatform way, and also doing things the multiplatform way with their own titles. Valve doesn't want to rely on MS for their whole business model. MS merging pc/xbox is likely not sitting well with Valve, nintendo or Sony.
  • so you know a few wierd people, good for you :)
  • With apple's heavy handed approach (1st party options; very limited configurations with a high price, or DIY bushwacking Hackintosh) I doubt it will catch on. Unless Apple opens up the OS and hardware requirements, it's probably going to stay about the same.
  • All they need is to build 1 premium gaming device and a lot of Apple fans will buy it. It's just tough when there's no games. :P
  • I doubt they would do it. Their target audience are not gamers. Mostly creators. Same with MSFT's Surface line. It's meant for productivity, not for no-holds-barred performance. If it wasn't for Xbox, MS wouldn't exactly be targeted for gaming either, but Windows supports custom configurations of hardware, such as 2 Titan GPUs and 128gb of ram. Apple itself seems to be more focused on phones and mobile devices, less towards their laptops and desktops. Especially since they opt for style over substance...wouldn't make much sense to sell a bulky and expensive product for gaming Imo. It would conflict with Apple TV and Ipads, while trying to directly compete with Xbox and PS, or with PCs, which has been dwindling in marketshare while devs mainly port their games from consoles (unfortunately)
  • Does this mean Intel finally released some new drivers?
  • Will this be fed to us through Windows Update?