Google goes with Vulkan as Android’s low-overhead graphics API

Low-overhead graphics APIs are all the rage these days, at least if you're the sort of person who gets excited about graphics APIs. iOS 8 introduced Metal last year, and OS X El Capitan will bring the API to the Mac when it's released this fall. The just-released Windows 10 includes DirectX 12, which will also come to Windows Phone when it gets updated later this year. And today Google announced that Android will be picking up support for Vulkan, the Khronos Group's low-overhead follow-up to OpenGL and OpenGL ES.

Like the other low-overhead APIs, Vulkan promises to improve performance by providing more direct access to the GPU—developers can manage memory and multiple threads on their own rather than leaving it up to the driver, giving them more work to do but also providing more flexibility. The difference is that, like OpenGL, Vulkan will be available for anybody and could theoretically be added to any and all of the major operating systems.

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BlackPanther1167d ago

They had no other choice.

Destiny10801167d ago

google could buy DirectX 12 in a heart beat

dantesparda1167d ago (Edited 1167d ago )

Googles market cap is 435.52Biliion, whereas MS's is 378.54Billion and MS has a higher P/E, meaning that its stock is more overpriced, in other words not reflecting its true value and thereby inflating is market cap. Also, meaning Googles stock is closer to its earnings. While Apple has them both beat by a long shot at 682.73 B and a way, way lower P/E. So, don't be so quick to doubt Googles ability.

donthate1167d ago

Yeah, Google didn't have many other choices to pick from though so this isn't surprising news at all.

joeorc1167d ago

Well they could have just stuck with OpenGL, but that was not.going to happen when new smart TV' are going to be running the Android OS. As their base OS now.

And with Phones tablets and streaming boxes like HD video players, Advanced Android Streaming boxes and all the. Companies that use the Android OS for their devices that they are bringing to the market, it was pretty much the only thing that made sense.

TWB1167d ago

Sounds great.

I remember like, 5-6 years ago reading from a tech magazine that the future is in these "low-level" APIs and at the time it sounded crazy good but the magazine said that the big tech companies would not like that so much. I dont remember what was the reason for that though.

Now basicly every major platform and such has a low-level API (or in the works). This future feels good.

uth111167d ago

Maybe because lower-level apis give new life to old hardware and will slow down hardware upgrades?

aerisbueller1167d ago (Edited 1167d ago )

It's more because low-level APIs had a reputation for being hardware specific, so programming at a low level required writing code for every GPU you wanted to support. Only recently have they found new ways of allowing developers low-level access without tying them to one card or platform.

Though I think you may mean low-overhead, which is what the article mentions, I think BWD was referring to APIs with low-level access, which Vulkan is as well.

joeorc1167d ago (Edited 1167d ago )

Demo using an android device with Vulkan Api

Vulkan and OpenGL ES in Gnome Horde

This new demo is called Gnome Horde and runs under Android on the Intel-based Nexus Player, a consumer device integrating a PowerVR G6430 GPU; it uses the latest prototype Vulkan API driver for PowerVR GPUs (final performance may differ).
On the left-hand side of the video, we are showing Vulkan and on the right we have OpenGL® ES 3.0. We have attempted to ensure both versions run equivalent code and both run without extensions. The demos are not using instancing either, each draw call could be a different piece of geometry with a different material or texture and the CPU performance would be very similar.
Before reading any further, please note that this is an exaggerated scenario that is intended to highlight and amplify Vulkan’s strengths. It is not intended to show OpenGL ES in a bad light – we are deliberately using OpenGL ES in a way that it was not designed for. We are also aiming to be GPU bound using the Vulkan API; this means the GPU and CPU are being used as effectively as possible, which is a great thing for developers and vendors alike.

Lower CPU usage

As you can see from the CPU usage graph in the bottom left of the video, CPU usage is very low for this many draw calls in the first mode. In the highest zoom level we are drawing around 400,000 gnomes (and other objects) per second. Each object has a different transformation, and there are many different materials, textures, blend modes and shaders being used.

This demo again was on a mobile GPU on a SOC!