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Open Source NVIDIA Vulkan Driver “NVK” Activity Rising


Open Source NVIDIA Vulkan Driver “NVK” Activity Rising.

The open source NVIDIA Vulkan driver “NVK” has also seen an uptick in activity during Mesa’s busy development period ; Jason Ekstrand of Collabora has been very active in proposing this Vulkan driver recently.

Ekstrand was one of the original developers when Intel launched the ANV open source Vulkan driver, and has been with the company for many years, so will be an important contributor to NVK.


NVK was created by Red Hat engineers as an open-source NVIDIA Vulkan driver and developed by Nouveau developers like Karol Herbst at Red Hat.

This Vulkan driver is still largely in development and has not yet been merged into mainline Mesa, and it may be a while before it’s ready for Linux gamers alike.


Meanwhile, the biggest Nouveau hurdle remains on the kernel driver side, as the lack of re-clocking support for GeForce GTX 900 “Maxwell” GPUs and newer means NVIDIA GPUs are stuck running at low boot-clock frequencies .


For the GTX 900 series and newer, the Nouveau’s performance profile is terrible.

The GTX 600/700 series is outdated and can be re-clocked to its optimal clock frequency, but interested users can only do it manually via the command line.

Both OpenGL and Vulkan Nouveau’s performance will continue to suffer significantly until this and the PMU firmware issues that ultimately complicate these efforts are resolved.


Open Source NVIDIA Vulkan Driver "NVK" Activity Rising.



Those curious about the ongoing work on Nouveau NVK can track progress through the Mesa NVK branch of Nouveau, which is currently intensively developed.


Currently, NVK adds more format features, Maxwell fixes, client-side memory object zeroing, linear image creation support, many bug fixes, and various other additions.

Tech site Phoronix says we expect NVK development to continue at full speed to be ready for Linux players when the Nouveau DRM re-clocking situation is resolved, presumably through NVIDIA GSP (GPU system processor) integration.