Intel has started making changes to their Linux Vulkan Driver to support multiple GPUs, which has the possibility to enable Intel’s integrated and upcoming discrete graphics to work together. It follows earlier changes on the kernel-side of Linux.
Vulkan is derived from AMD’s earlier Mantle API work and is a low-overhead 3D graphics API. Phoronix reported that Intel’s “ANV” Vulkan driver for Linux has seen early infrastructure changes to enable multi-GPU support. As the patch notes reveal, the driver has so far always relied on the fact that there is just a single Intel GPU in a system:
"What we have now works today because our GPUs are build into the CPU and so you're guaranteed to only ever have one of them. One day, that will change and we want ANV to be ready."
This is not the first sign of Intel adding multi-GPU support, as changes on the kernel-side were seen in October already. Today’s changes are another indication of the steady work Intel is conducting to prepare their software stack for the much-teased Xe architecture and the discrete GPUs that will be based on it.
The precise extent to which multiple Intel graphics units in a system will work together is not confirmed yet, but it is likely that Intel would want to get as much performance as possible out of its silicon.
Intel will detail the Xe architecture at GDC in March, so it likely that we'll hear more details there.