Raspberry Pi 4 achieves Vulkan 1.1 conformance, gets up to 60% GPU performance boost

Khronos has just granted Vulkan 1.1 conformance to Raspberry Pi 4 SBC, and following the implementation of various optimizations and new features such as geometry shaders, the v3dv Mesa driver delivers up to 60% higher GPU performance in Unreal Engine 4.

Iglia started Vulkan driver work for Raspberry Pi 4 almost two years ago, with the triangle demo showcased in February 2020, followed by Vulkan 1.0 conformance in November 2020, and now the driver is certified conformant to Vulkan 1.1. While many GPUs are conformant, the Raspberry Pi 4 is only joined by a couple of complete platforms including several NVIDIA Jetson modules (Vulkan 1.2),  and possibly some Intel and Google platforms shown as “Confidential” at this time.

Vulkan 1.1 Raspberry Pi 4Alex Bate, Digital Content Manager for the Raspberry Pi Foundation, explains the driver changes for Vulkan 1.1 conformance have already been merged in the upstream v3dv Mesa driver, and should soon become available in Raspberry Pi OS. Note that Vulkan 1.1 conformance was achieved with Raspberry Pi OS Aarch64, i.e. 64-bit Arm, so it’s unclear whether the 32-bit version of the OS will be also be supported.

Optimizations and new features to the driver, plus improvements to the shader compiler also help produce better, faster code, at least in specific scenarios with significant performance improvements for Vulkan and OpenGL games and applications making heavy use of geometric shading.

Raspberry Pi 4 GPU Vulkan performance
Performance improvements in percent across various Vulkan games and demos

The performance improvements vary a lot depending on the game and settings with vkQuake getting a 5% boost, Quake3e close to 20%, and Unreal Engine 4 around 25% with low-quality settings and up to a little over 60% for high-quality settings which produce pretty nice results.

Raspberry Pi 4 Unreal Engine 4
Unreal Engine 4 Sun Temple Demo (left) and Unreal Engine 4 Shooter Demo (right)

Sadly that does not mean games developed with Unreal Engine 4 will be playable on Raspberry Pi 4 as performance is not good enough for gameplay. Developers may also be pleased to know that support for RenderDoc graphics debugger and GFXReconstruct graphics API capture and replay tools has been improved.

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