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Raspberry Pi Gets Unofficial Vulkan Driver That Runs Quake III Over 100 FPS

A few weeks ago, Eben Upton, CEO and founder of Raspberry Pi, shared the status of in-development Vulkan driver for the Raspberry Pi 4. Though it will take a long time for its first release, Martin Thomas, NVIDIA Engineer, has already developed and released his own unofficial Vulkan driver named ‘RPi-VK-Driver.’

RPi-VK-Driver is a new low-level GPU driver that implements a subset of the Vulkan standard (by Khronos Group). As of now, the new Vulkan driver is only compatible with Broadcom VideoCore IV GPUs that you may find in all Raspberry Pi versions prior to Pi 4. Hence, this driver supports Raspberry Pi version Zero to Model 3B+.

To give you a precise overview of Vulkan, it is a new generation low-level graphics and computing API (Application Programming Interface). It aims to provide high-efficiency, cross-platform access to modern GPUs; you can see it as an alternative to OpenGL and DirectX.

As Martin Thomas says, he has been developing this new low-level RPi-VK-Driver for Raspberry Pi for the last two years.

Using the same driver on his Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+, Thomas also displayed running Quake III Arena game with over 100 FPS. Since the Broadcom VideoCore IV graphics card is not really suitable for 1080p resolution, he runs it at 720p resolution.

Thomas has mentioned that compared to the OpenGL driver, this RPi-VK-Driver offers more speed with better memory management and multi-threaded command submission. Additionally, it also brings new features support such as MSAA (Multisample anti-aliasing), low-level assembly shaders, and performance counters.

If you also want to run the Quake III game on your Raspberry Pi, check out the new low-level port of Quake III here. For more details about RPi-VK-Driver, visit the GitHub repository here.

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