Only Windows 10 supports multiple Vulkan GPUs

Madalina Dinita
by Madalina Dinita
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Vulkan Run Time Libraries

Vulkan is a low-level, cross-platform 3D graphics and computer API. Recent news has revealed that multiple versions of Windows will drop support for multiple Vulkan GPUs, meaning support for the NVIDIA SLI and AMD Crossfire platforms will only be available on Microsoft’s latest version of Window as it’s the only one that features the WDDM “Linked display adapter” mode now required for Vulkan multiple GPUs support.

At a recent game developers conference, Kronos confirmed the following information:

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Native multi-GPU support for NVIDIA SLI and AMD Crossfire platforms
– WDDM must be in “linked display adapter” mode

This means that players who own high-end multi-GPU systems will now have no choice but to install Windows 10 in order to enjoy the Vulkan’s multi-GPU support. If you still prefer to use a Windows 7 or Windows 8 computer with Vulkan, you’ll need to rely on a single graphics card.

However, this limitation won’t affect too many gamers. Actually, the number of people running multi-GPUs is quite small:

Man I wish more devs would actually use Vulkan. The gains in Doom was far more impressive than anything DX12 and Nvidia can do. Too bad only 3 titles support Vulkan at the moment.

Linux gamers can consider themselves lucky as Vulkan won’t be restricted in the same way on their machines. The fact that only Windows 10 will support Vulkan multiple GPUs may force some gamers to upgrade to Windows 10.

Well this ******* sucks, I was planning on staying with 7 as long as possible

Intel recently added support for the Vulkan API for its most recent chipsets, Skylake and Kaby Lake. According to Intel, Vulkan is also the way to go if you’re preparing for a future of 4K and VR.

RELATED VULKAN STORIES TO CHECK OUT:

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  • Khronos has issued a response to this in the latest blog post to clarify that Vulkan multi-GPU specification 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.

    Please read more at the link or below:
    https://www.khronos.org/blog/vulkan-multi-gpu-support-not-just-for-windows-10
    At GDC 2017, in San Francisco during February, Khronos™ released several new Vulkan® extensions for cross-platform Virtual Reality rendering and multiple GPU access. This functionality has been initially released as KHX extensions to enable feedback from the developer community before being incorporated into final specifications.
    One key question that we have been asked since GDC is whether the Vulkan multi-GPU functionality is specifically tied to ship only on Windows 10.
    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.
    Some of the Khronos GDC slideware mentioned that for Vulkan multi-GPU functionality, Windows Display Driver Model (WDDM) must be in Linked Display Adapter (LDA) mode. That was not a very clear statement that has caused some confusion. And so it is worth clarifying that:
    1. The use of WDDM is referring to the use of Vulkan multi-GPU functionality on Windows. On other OS, WDDM is not necessary to implement the Vulkan multi-GPU extension.
    2. The use of LDA mode can make implementing Vulkan multi-GPU functionality easier, and will probably be used by most implementations on Windows, but it is not strictly necessary.
    3. If an implementation on Windows does decide to use LDA mode, it is NOT tied to Windows 10. LDA mode has been available on many versions of Windows, including Windows 7 and 8.X.
    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.