We talked about this about a week ago when comparing NVIDIA and AMD cards running DOOM with the Vulkan API. This time we have another test with two cards that are directly competing with each other. AMD’s RX 480 currently is at a very sweet spot at $199. NVIDIA is competing with the GeForce GTX 1060, which is $249. Now the GTX 1060 beats the RX 480 in most tests and overall is the higher performing card. That is until the Vulkan API is introduced.
The guys over at PCGamesN ran both cards through doom at different resolutions. First using OpenGL to render the game, and then a second time using Vulkan. As expected in the first run (OpenGL) the GTX 1060 beat out the RX 480. But in the second run, when Vulkan was introduced the RX 480 gets a nice boost in performance and beat the GTX 1060. Check out the graphs below.
Interesting at 1080p resolution Vulkan actually causes the GTX 1060 to lose performance. Now these results are not surprising here, as Vulkan is a successor to AMD’s own Mantle API. Vulkan allows game developers to get more direct access to the PC’s available hardware than when its hidden behind the standard abstraction layers used in older APIs such as DirectX 11.
Now there are only four games available that make use of the Vulkan API (Doom, The Talos Principle, Ashes of the Singularity and DOTA 2), but Unreal Engine 4, obviously id Tech 6 engine, and Valve’s Source 2 engine has Vulkan support. So more games could have Vulkan support, which would make them perform better on AMD cards.