Basemark GPU DX12 VS Vulkan Performance Review

Conclusion - Which API is the best?

Basemark GPU DX12 VS Vulkan Performance Review


Once again the hardware boffins at Basemark have provided us with an interesting tool for API analysis, giving us an excellent opportunity to see the shortcomings of legacy APIs like OpenGL and the benefits of its modern equivalents, DirectX 12 and Vulkan. 

Thankfully Basemark GPU 1.1 proves to be less difficult to test than its 1.0 release, proving to work flawlessly with AMD's latest driver releases, a trouble spot for the benchmark's previous incarnation. Sadly, our testing was not without issue, as after some tests we received a "benchmark interrupted" error, which prevented our scores from being recorded, suggesting that Basemark's servers may be experiencing heavy loads as a result of Basemark GPU 1.1's release. 

In most cases, we found similar results to our last look at Basemark GPU, finding that OpenGL could easily become a limiting factor when using Basemark GPU's lower resolution modes, with our RX Vega 56 achieving a 2.9X performance boost when moving to the DirectX 12 API. 

At 1080p, we found that in most cases that the DirectX 12 API offered the best performance, with Vulkan coming a close second while OpenGL sat at a distant third. Basemark GPU's OpenGL performance on Nvidia hardware is leagues ahead of AMD, with the RX Vega 56 and RX 580 both offering Basemark GPU scores of around 4000, while Nvidia's GTX 1060 offered a score of 8470. As usual, OpenGL performance appears to be an Achilles heel for Radeon, but thankfully this API has been mostly depreciated. 

Cranking things up to 4K we see that most of our graphics cards offered similar results when using all graphical APIs, with OpenGL having major performance consequences on our Radeon graphics cards. On the Nvidia side OpenGL, Vulkan and DirectX 12 offered nigh-identical performance levels, offering minimal variance in most cases. 

With version 1.1 of their graphics card test suite, Basemark GPU have addressed most of the issues that we had with the original, working flawlessly with the latest Radeon Software released and with a lot fewer server issues than version 1.0's launch. The app's improved AI also makes the tool a lot easier to configure when using custom settings, which is a great thing to see. 

As far as API testing goes, Basemark GPU clearly showcases the benefits of modern graphical APIs, especially when using the tool at lower resolutions or Radeon hardware, showcasing the similarities DirectX 12 and Vulkan performance when both are well implemented. It will be interesting to see how this tool is utilised in the future, especially as it expands to more platforms in the future, with version 1.2 adding Metal API support for MacOS and iOS. 

You can join the discussion on Basemark GPU and our DirectX 12 VS Vulkan testing on the OC3D Forums.  

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Most Recent Comments

29-11-2018, 15:19:39

Given Vulkan is a direct evolution of Mantle's source code it's intriguing to see DX12 still hold a small advantage on AMDs cards. I guess it could be down to the Xbone's use of both GCN and DX12 putting more optimisation work into the combination than traditionally considered worthwhile(Low level APIs are much more dependant on game/app/API side optimisations than driver side; Most work AMD/NVidia do for DX12/Vulkan games are for the game code itself rather than their drivers).Quote

29-11-2018, 15:30:39

It's also quite closely related to modern OpenGL isn't it? Though I'm not a graphics developer, rather not a developer at all, but my understanding was that modern OGL allowed devs to operate with little abstraction, but the API is a convoluted mess overall.Quote

29-11-2018, 16:11:22

While Vulkan is the successor to OpenGL and is also maintained by Khronos group and has an externally similar syntax regarding the developer-facing API calls (Very C-like), the code-base itself was built entirely from scratch (By AMD) and I believe has no legacy code from OpenGL whatsoever.Quote

29-11-2018, 17:57:49

With some Google-fu it seems that the strongest (api) relation between the two is that there's a library which allows running OpenGL ES on top of vulkan using something called GLOVE. Quote

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