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Vulkan 1.1 Driver Comes to Raspberry Pi 4

Raspberry Pi Vulkan
(Image credit: Sascha Willems)

V3DV, Mesa’s driver for the Vulkan API on Broadcom graphics processors such as that found in the Raspberry Pi 4 has reached another milestone: compliance with Vulkan’s 1.1 standard. There hasn’t been an announcement as such, but an update to the project’s repository at freedesktop.org was noticed by Phoronix.

Quake III, from 2001, in action

(Image credit: Sega)

It’s been less than a year since the development team announced conformity with the 1.0 standard, and only a year before then that the driver’s development began. This project is developed by Igalia, a Free Software consultancy with co-operation from Raspberry Pi and has seen considerable growth. In the early days of the project it was only capable of throwing a few geometric shapes around the screen, but with considerable effort the project is now capable of running FPS games such as Quake 3 on the $35 Raspberry Pi.

While not the latest version of the API - 1.2 became available in January 2020 and is still being refined - it’s an important step forward, as it brings better compatibility with DirectX 12 for Vulkan, gives it multi-GPU support at the API level (potentially good for those using Pi clusters) and supports ray-tracing, geometry shaders, and advanced GPU compute functionality.

Quake III was already playable on Pi with an earlier version of the driver, so we look forward to seeing what the updated version can do.