Yesterday we got a pair of GeForce GTX 1060 reviews up, but due to time constraints we weren’t able to squeeze out any Vulkan performance benchmarks. Well now we’ve got time, so we’ve been putting MSI’s GeForce GTX 1060 Gaming X 6G through its paces in DOOM, which was recently updated with optional Vulkan graphics API support.
Boot up DOOM and you’re now presented with two options - the original OpenGL 4.5, or the newer Vulkan standard. Vulkan is low overhead API which builds on the achievements of AMD’s ill-fated Mantle, offsetting CPU usage to the GPU and more effectively distributing workloads across multiple CPU cores. It’s been likened to a console-like level of optimisation, squeezing out the maximum potential performance out of the hardware available to a user.
Unfortunately (or fortunately I guess) I’m sat here with a very beefy Intel Core i7-5820K processor. Where Vulkan really thrives is in CPU bottlenecked scenarios, so it’s impact won’t be as keenly felt here. Nevertheless, the 5820K is backed up by 16GB DDR4 memory and the aforementioned MSI GeForce GTX 1060 Gaming X 6G. Let’s see how it performs…
Whichever way you slice it, DOOM runs like a dream at 1080p on Ultra with the 1060. Both OpenGL and Vulkan have average frame rates around 100 FPS, perfect for DOOM’s silky smooth gunplay. In fact, those averages are incredibly similar, with just 2.7 frames per second in it. That’s marginal at best, and not a clear indicator of Vulkan’s benefits in action.
Throughout the gameplay, both the minimum and maximum FPS are in fact lower using Vulkan, with OpenGL reaching a high of 165 frames per second at one point. That said it feels like the frame rate swings are slightly less wild in Vulkan, maintaining more consistent performance.
You can see in the GPU optimisation numbers that it rarely if ever strays from green frame times, indicating that for the GTX 1060 this really is a stroll in the park. Despite this it would have been nice to see some more significant performance gains from team green. 3% isn’t really a game changer, particularly considering the newer Radeon cards are seeing FPS boosts as high as 40%. This could be down to the particular hardware setup we’re using, or it could demonstrate Nvidia’s naivety in not supporting Vulkan effectively right out the gate.
DOOM Vulkan Dual-Core Processor Performance Benchmarks
|OpenGL 4.5||Vulkan||Vulkan Advantage|
|Intel 5820K 3.3 GHz 6-Core||97.6||100.3||2.76%|
|5820K 3.3 GHz 2-Core (4 Cores Disabled)||87.4||92.1||5.37%|
Disabling four of the cores and running DOOM with a dual-core CPU yields similar results. Frame rates take a 10% drop overall, but there is a small advantage to running with Vulkan - just over 5%. This is nothing compared to what we've seen in some RX 480 benchmarks, but every little counts.
Regardless of these results, there’s unquestionably a lot of buzz surround Vulkan, and rightly so. It’s going to be fascinating to see just when and which devs opt for Vulkan, ditching DX12 support in the process. Because say what you want about Vulkan, but our DX12 benchmarks on the GTX 1060 have actually shown dips in performance, however more on that later.