Raspberry Pi 400, Pi 4 pass key Vulkan test: It's a 'major milestone' for better graphics

The Raspberry Pi 4's V3DV driver has now passed the conformance test for the Vulkan APIs.

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The Raspberry Pi 4, Raspberry Pi 400, and the Compute Module 4 have passed a key test to get Vulkan support, which will eventually give developers better access to the computers' Broadcom VideoCore GPU.   

In October, the V3DV driver was merged into the latest version of the Mesa graphic stack for the Raspberry Pi 4. Mesa is an open-source implementation of OpenGL and Vulkan – a set of interfaces that let graphics and gaming developers tap modern GPUs for better performance. 

The V3DV driver is the key vehicle for bringing Vulkan support to the newer Broadcom VideoCore GPU hardware in the Raspberry Pi 4, the Compute Module 4, and the Raspberry Pi 400 keyboard computer.

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Iago Toral, a senior graphics engineer at Igalia, has been leading the VD3V driver effort over the past year under contract with the Raspberry Pi Foundation. 

According to Toral, yesterday the V3DV Vulkan Mesa driver for Raspberry Pi 4 successfully demonstrated Vulkan 1.0 conformance, so the driver should be able to support applications that require Vulkan 1.0.

Khronos Group, which oversees the Vulkan specification, requires vendors to pass its conformance tests that ensure its specifications are implemented before a product can be called compliant with the specification. It sounds like that's still a little way off. 

As Toral outlined in June, the driver then still needed a lot of work before it could support Vulkan games and applications. The goal was to implement all Vulkan 1.0 features and pass thousands of conformance tests. 

Toral noted today that despite achieving conformance with the specification, more still needed to be done to expand the Vulkan feature set, to improve performance and fix bugs.    

"Vulkan 1.0 conformance is a major milestone in bringing Vulkan to Raspberry Pi, but it isn't the end of the journey," notes Toral. 

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