Today's Hard|Forum Post
Today's Hard|Forum Post

Wednesday March 22, 2017

Vulkan Multi-GPU Support - Not Just for Windows 10

The Vulkan Working Group in Khronos has confirmed that Windows 10 is not required for Multi-GPU support. They admit that the wording contained in the original statement was easily misinterpreted. Khronos states that WDDM is just one of the options that they were releasing as a package of extensions for the development community to try and give feedback on for possible future incorporation into the final Vulkan standard. What they expect the development community to embrace is LDA mode as it is available on Win 7, Win 8 and Win 10. In other words, Khronos is giving developers as many tools as possible to make a decision on what works best for them.

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The good news is that the Vulkan multi-GPU specification is very definitely NOT tied to Windows 10. It is possible to implement the Vulkan multi-GPU extension on any desktop OS including Windows 7, 8.X and 10 and Linux.

Some of the Khronos GDC presentations mentioned that for Vulkan multi-GPU functionality, Windows Display Driver Model (WDDM) must be in Linked Display Adapter (LDA) mode. That was not a very clear statement that has caused some confusion. And so it is worth clarifying that:

  1. The use of WDDM is referring to the use of Vulkan multi-GPU functionality on Windows. On other OS, WDDM is not necessary to implement the Vulkan multi-GPU extension.

  2. On Windows, the use of LDA mode can make implementing Vulkan multi-GPU functionality easier, and will probably be used by most implementations, but it is not strictly necessary.

  3. If an implementation on Windows does decide to use LDA mode, it is NOT tied to Windows 10. LDA mode has been available on many versions of Windows, including Windows 7 and 8.X.

    Khronos always strives to make its specifications as cross platform as possible. Of course, what products ship on which OS is up to the implementers of each specification, but Khronos is already aware of vendor plans to ship multi-GPU functionality on platforms other than Windows 10, including Linux.