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DOTA 2 Now Supports High-Efficiency Vulkan API

DOTA 2 Now Supports High-Efficiency Vulkan API

DOTA 2 is about to get Vulkan support, since Valve announced official Vulkan support for their hugely popular MMO. Here’s the update as on the Steam Page:

“The beta version of Vulkan support for Dota 2 is now available via DLC. Vulkan is a high-efficiency cross-platform graphics API for modern GPUs. For more information on Vulkan visit

Technical notes:

* Please make sure to opt-in to the Steam Client Beta for the latest Steam Vulkan Overlay (fixes performance issue with Steam Overlay).
* Enable with the -vulkan launch option after downloading the Vulkan Beta DLC. Remove -dx9/-dx11/-gl (if present) from any previous launch options.

Minimum requirements:

– Windows 7/8/10 64-bit: NVIDIA 600-series+ (365.19+ driver), AMD 7700+ (Crimson driver)
– Linux 64-bit: NVIDIA 600-series+ (364.16+ driver), AMD GCN 1.2 (16.20.3 driver)
– 2GB of GPU memory required – may experience crashes with < 2GB of GPU memory.


Possible Issues

* The first time you run with Vulkan you may experience short stutters while the engine caches shaders on disk. After playing through or watching a match, these stutters should go away.
* There is a known issue on Linux with NVIDIA GPUs where tearing can be observed even when vertical sync is enabled. NVIDIA is aware of the issue and it will be fixed in the future through a driver update.
* Please file any bugs with the Vulkan version at”

For those who don’t know: Vulkan is a low-overhead, cross-platform 3D graphics and compute API first announced at GDC 2015 by the Khronos Group. The Vulkan API was initially referred to as the “next generation OpenGL initiative” by Khronos, but use of those names were discontinued once the Vulkan name was announced. Vulkan is derived from and built upon components of AMD’s Mantle API, which was donated by AMD to Khronos with the intent of giving Khronos a foundation on which to begin developing a low-level API that they could standardize across the industry, much like OpenGL.

Like OpenGL, Vulkan targets high-performance realtime 3D graphics applications such as games and interactive media across all platforms, and offers higher performance and lower CPU usage, much like Direct3D 12and Mantle. In addition to its lower CPU usage, Vulkan is also able to better distribute work amongst multiple CPU cores.

Reddit user wickedplayer494 further elaborates:

Key things you should know about GPU compatibility
Native driver support only exists as outlined below:

  • For NVIDIA GPUs: anything that uses the Kepler architecture (600 & 700 series) and later will work, including Maxwell (900 series and 750 Ti) and Pascal (what currently exists of the 1000 series)
    • ThFermi (400 & 500 series) and earlier cards won’t have native Vulkan support
  • For AMD GPUs: anything that uses GCN (HD 7000 series, Rx 200/300, and what will be the Rx 400 series, AKA “Polaris” and “Vega”) will work – anything that works with Mantle currently should have no issues with Vulkan
    • Be aware that on Linux, support is provided by the AMDGPU Direct Rendering Manager driver, but it is limited to GCN 1.2 based cards (and “Polaris”/”Vega” under GCN 1.3 when released), cards that use it are:
      • R9 285
      • R9 380(X)
      • R9 FURY (X)
    • Experimental AMDGPU support with GCN 1.0 and 1.1 cards does seem to be available but appears to be hidden away for the moment
    • Be aware that pre-GCN cards (HD 5000/HD 6000 series and earlier) no longer receive driver updates from AMD, except in the event of an emergency such as widespread CS:GO crashing on AMD cards earlier this year. As such, pre-GCN cards won’t have native Vulkan support
  • For Intel iGPUs: only Skylake iGPUs (“6th generation”) are supported on Windows, and even so support appears experimental
    • Though on Linux, support extends all the way back to Ivy Bridge (“3rd generation”) by way of Mesa 12.0 (and in theory, Sandy Bridge support may be possible but isn’t official)

For a complete matrix of “conformant” products, see this page.
Getting ready
Is your stuff compatible? Great! Make sure your GPU drivers are up to date and are Vulkan-ready, not only for Dota 2, but for other future 3rd-party titles that will also use Vulkan (such as DOOM).

On the AMD fence: ensure you have at least Radeon Software “Crimson” 16.3.2 to be ready for Vulkan when it hits Dota 2 at some point in the next week or two.

On the NVIDIA fence: ensure you have at least GeForce Game Ready 364.51 to be ready for Vulkan when it hits Dota 2 at some point in the next week or two.

Note that these are just the “at leasts”. Since these drivers have been published, there are newer versions available, so you should retrieve those instead. However, if for whatever reason you’re having issues with the newest versions available, be aware that these are your minimums for Vulkan support.

Hey, I’m on a Mac, there’s no Mac-specific depot, what gives?

Previously if something like Vulkan were to come along, Apple would likely add it to whatever happened to be the next Mac OS X and iOS release. However, Apple seems to have gone all-in on a rival called Metal, which was originally introduced with iOS 8 in 2014 and then ported a year later to OS X El Capitan (10.11). Therefore, if you don’t see any mention of Vulkan support on OS X 10.12 (and/or iOS 10) at WWDC 2016 in June, you may as well give up any remaining hope of Apple bothering with it even as a secondary API.

The chances of Valve making a Metal-based depot for Dota 2 is probably just as likely as Apple bothering with Vulkan, but that could change in the future.”

Source: Reddit, Steam, Twitter.

And for more news and reviews, keep checking back at Gaming Central.

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