Earlier this week, reports surfaced claiming that the Vulkan multi-GPU support would be limited to Windows 10. Turns out it’s not true, as Khronos Group that oversees Vulkan just confirmed that their next generation graphics API will indeed support multiple GPU setups on versions of Windows prior to Windows 10.
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.
So what caused the confusion over Vulkan multi-GPU functionality? Seems like the websites which covered the issue misunderstood one of Khronos Group’s slides presented at GDC.
The slide stated that in order to natively support SLI and Crossfire setups, Microsoft’s Windows Display Driver Model (WDDM) must be in Linked Display Adapter (LDA) mode. Since WDDM 2.0 is exclusive to Windows 10, it was assumed that the muti-GPU functions will most probably not work under older Windows 7 and Windows 8.1.
Khronos Group itself admitted that the statement was not very clear and it led to some confusion. But now, they have set the record straight. First things first, the group makes it clear that WDDM isn’t obviously required to implement Vulkan on non-Windows OSes.
They also clarified that while the use of LDA mode makes implementing Vulkan multi-GPU functionality easier, it “is not strictly necessary.” Even if developers decide to use LDA mode, the implementation is not tied to Windows 10.
“LDA mode has been available on many versions of Windows, including Windows 7 and 8.X,” the Khronos post explained.
So there is no need to worry if you are planning to rock multiple GPU setups on older versions of Windows via this up-and-coming graphics API.
Khronos also reiterated its plans to make its specifications “as cross platform as possible,” adding the firm is aware of products with multi-GPU functionality coming to platforms other than Windows 10, including Linux.