You can sign up to get a daily email of our articles, see the Mailing List page!

Vulkan support for older Raspberry Pi models is now a thing

By - | Views: 11,236

While work is underway officially to bring Vulkan API support to the Raspberry Pi 4, what about the older models? An NVIDIA engineer decided to get it done as announced on Twitter.

The NVIDIA engineer, Martin Thomas, worked on the RPi-VK-Driver which is now available to grab from GitHub to bring Vulkan API support to models prior to the Raspberry Pi 4. Thomas said they had been working on it for two years and they said it's the "first low-level GPU driver for the Broadcom Videocore IV GPU".

While it will run Vulkan, it doesn't conform to the official Khronos standard so it's not an official driver but Thomas says it tries to follow it as close as possible. Compared with the current OpenGL driver, it also "offers superb speed including precise and predictable memory management and multi-threaded command submission" and more graphical feature support including MSAA and more.

In another Twitter post, Thomas showed it running VkQuake3 at 100+ FPS which is quite impressive.

Try it yourself from GitHub.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
22 Likes, Who?
We do often include affiliate links to earn us some pennies. We are currently affiliated with GOG, Humble Store and Paradox Interactive. See more here.
About the author -
author picture
I am the owner of GamingOnLinux. After discovering Linux back in the days of Mandrake in 2003, I constantly came back to check on the progress of Linux until Ubuntu appeared on the scene and it helped me to really love it. You can reach me easily by emailing GamingOnLinux directly.
See more from me
8 comments

mirv 22 Jun
View PC info
  • Supporter Plus
Just in case anyone is wondering why it's only a subset of Vulkan, and doesn't already know, the older rpi hardware doesn't support the features necessary for a full Vulkan implementation.

Not sure how much of it is compliant with the portability initiative.

Hope that some glsl compiler can be made to work with this though, which would definitely help get this into more people's hands.
Hori 22 Jun
Quoting: mirvJust in case anyone is wondering why it's only a subset of Vulkan, and doesn't already know, the older rpi hardware doesn't support the features necessary for a full Vulkan implementation.

Not sure how much of it is compliant with the portability initiative.

Hope that some glsl compiler can be made to work with this though, which would definitely help get this into more people's hands.
And the RPI4 afaik does, right?

This is quite exciting. I'm planning on building a RPI4-based laptop by gutting my old ASUS K55VD laptop and replacing its internals with an RPI and adapters. I'm still gathering components so it's gonna take a while. The fact that Vulkan on Pi is getting that much of an attention is really encouraging.


Last edited by Hori on 22 June 2020 at 10:22 am UTC
mirv 22 Jun
View PC info
  • Supporter Plus
Quoting: Hori
Quoting: mirvJust in case anyone is wondering why it's only a subset of Vulkan, and doesn't already know, the older rpi hardware doesn't support the features necessary for a full Vulkan implementation.

Not sure how much of it is compliant with the portability initiative.

Hope that some glsl compiler can be made to work with this though, which would definitely help get this into more people's hands.
And the RPI4 afaik does, right?

This is quite exciting. I'm planning on building a RPI4-based laptop by gutting my old ASUS K55VD laptop and replacing its internals with an RPI and adapters. I'm still gathering components so it's gonna take a while. The fact that Vulkan on Pi is getting that much of an attention is really encouraging.

Yes, the rpi4 does, but bear in mind it supports core Vulkan, and there's a lot of things that I suspect are being done on normal x86 desktop (e.g assuming certain features to be available) that will differ. So it doesn't necessarily mean something can just be recompiled for the rpi4 and it will work the same - there will likely need to be some extra effort in there.

I personally suspect it will be the arcade emulators and video decode that will benefit the most at first. Native gaming might come later. Really hoping it will actually, because it would make a great, and cheap, unit that could be used for a lot of gaming.
Hori 22 Jun
Quoting: mirv
Quoting: Hori
Quoting: mirvJust in case anyone is wondering why it's only a subset of Vulkan, and doesn't already know, the older rpi hardware doesn't support the features necessary for a full Vulkan implementation.

Not sure how much of it is compliant with the portability initiative.

Hope that some glsl compiler can be made to work with this though, which would definitely help get this into more people's hands.
And the RPI4 afaik does, right?

This is quite exciting. I'm planning on building a RPI4-based laptop by gutting my old ASUS K55VD laptop and replacing its internals with an RPI and adapters. I'm still gathering components so it's gonna take a while. The fact that Vulkan on Pi is getting that much of an attention is really encouraging.

Yes, the rpi4 does, but bear in mind it supports core Vulkan, and there's a lot of things that I suspect are being done on normal x86 desktop (e.g assuming certain features to be available) that will differ. So it doesn't necessarily mean something can just be recompiled for the rpi4 and it will work the same - there will likely need to be some extra effort in there.

I personally suspect it will be the arcade emulators and video decode that will benefit the most at first. Native gaming might come later. Really hoping it will actually, because it would make a great, and cheap, unit that could be used for a lot of gaming.

That seems likely.
In my case at least, video decoding will be enough, since I'll want movie streaming to work as well as it can on the Pi and that old laptop display, and I'm most likely just going to use Steam Link to play games.
Native games will be *very* welcome but right now we don't even have a store for them, so I'm not expecting them any time soon.
I'm hoping that Steam will have an ARM version eventually so that I could play some of the lightweight games there (if they get an ARM version).

Retro emulators are cool and I'm very happy they will see improvements, but they aren't for me since I have no nostalgia for those games as I didn't play them in my childhood (or ever in my past).
gdeyoung 22 Jun
Check out TwisterOS on RPI4 with the Box86 emulator

https://www.reddit.com/r/SBCGaming/comments/gsyr40/twisteros_for_rpi4_successor_to_raspbian_x_and/

TwisterOS comes with Steam installed on the OS for the RPI4 and can install and run many older and current 2D PC games today. It is really cool
Hori 23 Jun
Quoting: gdeyoungCheck out TwisterOS on RPI4 with the Box86 emulator

https://www.reddit.com/r/SBCGaming/comments/gsyr40/twisteros_for_rpi4_successor_to_raspbian_x_and/

TwisterOS comes with Steam installed on the OS for the RPI4 and can install and run many older and current 2D PC games today. It is really cool
Yea, I've seen ETA Prime's video about it. And while I don't like the idea of a Windows/Mac interface recreated in Linux, I got *very* excited when I've seen Steam running on it. I mean, in all honesty it's probably going to be like how WINE was (a headache most times, but very useful still), but damn is it amazing that it works! I'm definetely going to try it, and hopefully be able to use it.
Solarwing 23 Jun
Quoting: gdeyoungCheck out TwisterOS on RPI4 with the Box86 emulator

https://www.reddit.com/r/SBCGaming/comments/gsyr40/twisteros_for_rpi4_successor_to_raspbian_x_and/

TwisterOS comes with Steam installed on the OS for the RPI4 and can install and run many older and current 2D PC games today. It is really cool

Looks very interesting this TwisterOS.I will give it a try when I buy my own raspberry Pi 4 device. I have been hoping for a chance to use steam in rasp.Great. Thanks for the info!
Solarwing 23 Jun
Hey someone should make an article about TwisterOS here especially when it supports steam. At least I would be very grateful...
While you're here, please consider supporting GamingOnLinux on:

Patreon, Liberapay or PayPal Donation.

We have no adverts, no paywalls, no timed exclusive articles. Just good, fresh content. Without your continued support, we simply could not continue!

You can find even more ways to support us on this dedicated page any time. If you already are, thank you!

You need to Register and Login to comment, submit articles and more.


Or login with...