This feature arrived in SteamOS Brewmaster version 2.63. Valve added version 355 of the Linux Nvidia driver, which means SteamOS offers Vulkan support when used alongside Nvidia hardware. All GeForce hardware based on Nvidia’s Kepler or Maxwell architectures will support Vulkan.
Intel and AMD will join the party soon
Intel’s graphics hardware should also support Vulkan on SteamOS in the near future. Code for an Intel Vulkan driver is being added into Mesa 11.3—and Intel’s driver will be open-source, as opposed to Nvidia’s closed-source driver.
AMD is still working on its new driver, known as AMDGPU, that will replace the current fglrx driver for SteamOS and other Linux-based platforms. While the new driver will receive Vulkan support, fglrx will not. Despite the name, AMD’s new Radeon Software Crimson for Linux is just the same old fglrx driver that will soon be put into maintenance mode to make room for AMDGPU.
AMD hasn’t yet released any Vulkan-enabling code for Linux. The Windows driver is out, but AMD’s graphics technology is still behind on Linux. That’s a shame considering that Vulkan itself is based on AMD’s Mantle.
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Chris Hoffman is a tech geek who's been writing about everything technology-related for years. When he's not writing about gadgets and software, he's probably using them in his spare time.