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AMD's New R9 Graphics Cards Will Support Vulkan & OpenGL 4.5

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AMD has launched their new AMD Radeon™ R9 Series, and with it comes a promise of OpenGL 4.5 and future Vulkan support.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9-JG0Cr_B-8

QuoteDirectX® 12, Vulkan™ & OpenGL® 4.5 APIs

Battle-ready with optimized performance for next-gen APIs (DirectX® 12, Vulkan™, OpenGL® 4.5, Mantle) and is designed from the ground up to give you everything you need to enjoy the latest games today and tomorrow.6,7,8


It's promising that they are mentioning Vulkan already! Although until we see Vulkan officially released and usable in some games and benchmarks it's not all that useful. If they are advertising it as a feature on their brand new line, it's probably they won't add it into previous cards, which will be a shame for a lot of people. That's speculation on my part though, but I still think they will use Vulkan as a selling point rather than make it backwards compatible on older cards.

It will be interesting to see when Nvidia & Intel will officially support Vulkan.

It's great to see them promising higher OpenGL support, and I hope they work on their stability some more. Although a few people on our forum have noticed an improvement in performance with the 15.5 Catalyst driver.

See their product page for it here. Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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Keyrock 25 Jun, 2015
I would imagine all the Nvidia cards that will support DirectX 12 will support Vulkan, which, I'm pretty sure, means all the GTX900 series cards.
Maelrane 25 Jun, 2015
Technically Vulkan should be supported if your card supports OGL... what was it? Version 4.3? I don't remember. Anyway, it doesn't really matter as this would only be true for the open source drivers anyway. Of course neither amd nor nvidia have a reason to add Vulkan support to older cards.
mao_dze_dun 25 Jun, 2015
Hope that goes for the old R9 as well, seeing how the new series is mostly a copy/paste with added VRAM.
Spl-it 25 Jun, 2015
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QuoteAnd good news for basically everyone: You probably won't need new hardware to take advantage of Vulkan. Just like DirectX 12, Khronos is hoping to extend compatibility back a few hardware generations, which means you'll potentially notice a performance increase even on your old hardware once the API is officially released and introduced in new games.

"We are setting a design goal. We have a very specific goal," says Trevett. "Any hardware capable of supporting OpenGL ES 3.1 will be capable of supporting Vulkan. That basically means any GPU that can do compute shaders."

On the PC side, that equates to OpenGL 4.3, released in August of 2012. OpenGL 4.3 support extended back to the Nvidia GeForce 400 series and the ATI Radeon HD 5000 series—a.k.a. basically any GPU purchased after late 2009/early 2010. Judging by the Steam Hardware Survey those specs also encompass quite a huge amount of the PC gaming community.

Source

Here's to hoping we don't need to buy new hardware and AMD will finally get their drivers fixed ( I read a lot of negative experience with ATI on linux, I ditched ATI a long time ago so I don't have any first hand experience)
titi 25 Jun, 2015
Does AMD promise Vulkan and OpenGL 4.5 for linux right from the start? Or is this just the announcement for windows?
Disharmonic 25 Jun, 2015
All GCN cards(HD7xxx and newer with the exception of some 7xxx cards that are rebrands) will have DX12 support and i suspect it will be the same for Vulkan. Iirc Nvidia also has DX12 support for Fermi+ (Geforce 5xx) and that should translate to Vulkan support as well
toni 25 Jun, 2015
That's not a surprise, any card capable of azdo should be vulkan capable. After all is mainly a change of api, closer to the hardware, that doesn't mean necessarily new capabilities, but a more direct and faster way of doing the same thing.
Crash 25 Jun, 2015
This is stirring the pot for me and my update plans. Despite Nvidia locking Open Source devs out of the 900 Series, I was dead-set on getting the Asus Strix 970. It appears to be perfect for 1080p gaming on Linux.

With a similar core clock, 384 vs 224 GB/s memory bandwidth, a 512-bit vs 256-bit memory interface, double the GDDR5, and about 50% more cores, I'm having a hard time justifying the 970 which is similarly priced. Maybe I'm wrong, though, and real world performance will prove the 970. Any thoughts?
EKRboi 25 Jun, 2015
CrashWith a similar core clock, 384 vs 224 GB/s memory bandwidth, a 512-bit vs 256-bit memory interface, double the GDDR5, and about 50% more cores, I'm having a hard time justifying the 970 which is similarly priced. Maybe I'm wrong, though, and real world performance will prove the 970. Any thoughts?

Other than the FuryX which does cost more than the 970. The AMD 300 series are mostly re-branded SKU's from the 200 series with minor clock tweaks and some with more VRAM than their older cousin, there is nothing really new happening there. They eat more power than Nvidia's Maxwell and there seems to be far more problems with AMD GPUs + gaming on Linux compared to Nvidia. You also can't compare the number of Nvidia cores to number of AMD/GCN cores since they are too different. Plus if you are only doing 1080p gaming the memory bandwidth is of no real concern.

As for the FuryX, pretty much most of the articles/reviews of FuryX that I've read still point to the 980ti as being the better buy at the same $650 price. In most games the 980Ti has a slight edge over Fury (nothing really to make a fuss over IMO) but what the 980ti does have is 2 more GB of VRAM and it overclocks like a beast and with ease. I think the highest achieved stable OC on a FuryX I saw in a review was 75mhz over stock which is nothing. There are going to be Fury and Fury nano however, they will be cut down FuryX chips and will be cheaper, those could really be interesting if priced right and may be quite a bit faster than a 970.

In the end if gaming on Linux is your goal no matter if AMD did have a technically better price/performance GPU I would always suggest Nvidia over AMD for drivers alone.
ElectricPrism 25 Jun, 2015
CrashThis is stirring the pot for me and my update plans. Despite Nvidia locking Open Source devs out of the 900 Series, I was dead-set on getting the Asus Strix 970. It appears to be perfect for 1080p gaming on Linux.

With a similar core clock, 384 vs 224 GB/s memory bandwidth, a 512-bit vs 256-bit memory interface, double the GDDR5, and about 50% more cores, I'm having a hard time justifying the 970 which is similarly priced. Maybe I'm wrong, though, and real world performance will prove the 970. Any thoughts?

My 970 is the perfect fit for my Linux gaming needs lately. I'm really happy I didn't get a R9 290 in February when I got this - why? I love tinkering on Linux and knowing "can I do this?", when I should be asking "should I do this?".

So I postulate the question "Should I buy a AMD R9 Card because they promise XYZ in the near future?" Then I look at Steam Machines and note that none of them are AMD, and I remember people everywhere crying out against the Catalyst Drivers, and I think - is hours of my time and a potential loss of my investment of $400 really worth trying something new and the processing technical advantage? Is AMD really better with existing drivers, or do I just like to root for the underdog? Do game developers Optimize for AMD presently or will there be a performance hit that automatically takes 30% performance off the product specs?

Needless to say I got a GTX 970 and don't regret it. I can't make large buying decisions based on promises, AMD isn't practical as they haven't completed delivery of their Vulkan and open drivers yet.

Hopefully AMD will be a viable choice in the near future as I would like to equip my other Arch PC with a roided out AMD - but in the mean time nVidia is a safe, practical, and most problem-free choice.

Don't be "Too busy asking if you can do XYZ, that you forget to ask if you should".
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