DX12 introduces a new feature of pipeline named 'Bundle'. It seems that can optimize the command list, and send it to final pipeline. Vulkan invent some different pipeline: The graphic pipeline and the compute pipeline. The graphic pipeline seems just the same with the original, the compute pipeline is used as an accessor of image memory.

My CG knowledge is pretty basic, and can not confirm that cognition is correct. Would someone kindly provide some explanations for it - The main difference of pipelines between them ?



2 Answers 2


D3D12 has 4 separate kinds of command lists: direct, bundle, compute, and copy.

Vulkan has similar concepts, but they happen in a different way. Command buffers are allocated from command pools. And command pools are directly associated with a queue family. And command buffers allocated from a pool can only be submitted to the queue family for which the pool was built.

Queue families specify the kinds of operations that the queue can take: graphics, compute, or memory copying operations. D3D12's command queues have a similar concept, but D3D12's command list API has you to specify the list type. Vulkan's gets this information from the queue family the pool is meant for.

The D3D12 "bundle" command list type seems similar on the surface to Vulkan secondary command buffers. However, they are quite different.

The principle difference is this: bundles inherit all state from their executing direct command list, except for the bound PSO itself. This includes resource descriptor bindings.

Vulkan secondary command buffers inherit no state from their primary command buffer execution environment, except for secondary CBs that execute in a subpass of a renderpass instance (and queries). And those only inherit the current subpass state (and queries).

This means you do different things with them, compared to D3D bundles.

Bundles are sometimes used to modify descriptor tables and render stuff, on the assumption that the direct command list they're executed within will have set those tables up. So bundles are kind of like light-weight OpenGL display lists, only without all of the bad things those do. So the intent with bundles is that you build them once and keep them around. They're supposed to be small things.

Vulkan secondary CBs are essential for threaded building of commands intended for a single render pass instance. This is because a render pass instance can only be created within a primary CB, so for optimal use of threads, there needs to be a way to create commands meant to execute in the same subpass in different threads. That's one of the main use-cases of secondary CBs. So the intent is that you'll probably build secondary CBs each frame (though you can reuse them if you want).

So in the end, bundles and secondary CBs are intended to solve separate problems. Bundles are generally dependent on the executing environment, while secondary CBs are more stand-alone.

At the same time, Vulkan secondary CBs can do something bundles cannot: they can execute on compute/copy-only queues. Since Vulkan makes a distinction between the primary/secondary level of the command buffer and the queues where that CB can be sent, it is possible in Vulkan to have secondary command buffers that execute on compute or copy-only queues.

Direct3D 12 can't do that with bundles. The ExecuteBundle function can only be called on a direct command list. So a copy-only command list cannot execute bundles.

Granted, because Vulkan doesn't inherit anything between secondary CBs except for subpass state, and compute/copy operations don't use render passes, there isn't much to be gained from putting such commands in a secondary CB rather than a primary one.

D3D12 has the same separation between compute pipelines and graphics pipelines that Vulkan does. However, when issuing commands, D3D12 has only one pipeline binding point, to which you can bind any kind of pipeline. By contrast, Vulkan has separate binding points for compute and graphics pipelines. Of course, Vulkan doesn't have different descriptor binding points for them, so the two pipelines can interfere with one another. But if you design their resource usage carefully, it is possible to invoke a dispatch operation without disturbing the needs of the graphics pipeline.

So overall, there's no real difference in pipeline architecture here.


The main difference with the pipelines is that DirectX12 is focus is on multi-threading or using the multiple cores most efficiently as possible according to the rendering state of an object.

As for Vulkan, they are separating the management of the threads into different types of pipelines, compute and graphical.

As stated in the reference from MSDN, DirectX12 is utilizing PSO (Pipeline State Object). The optimization occurs in this way by preparing the commands to the pipeline before. Seemingly, DirectX12 uses PSO to create a object of the state of rendering to better manage changes in state to the hardware more efficiently.

Hope that helps!

  • $\begingroup$ You means, DX12 only has one pipeline, but it optimized comprise process of PSO with multi-thread and multi-cores. Vulkan has 2 pipelines, reside on different threads, each thread has its own commands managements, but only 2 threads ? $\endgroup$
    – naive231
    Oct 5, 2016 at 3:11
  • $\begingroup$ Vulkan is using system-on-a-thread ? Were as DX12 is fully multi-threaded? $\endgroup$
    – PaulHK
    Nov 1, 2016 at 4:03
  • $\begingroup$ Am not sure if DX12 is using one pipeline, might be worth looking at the documentation for DX12 for the specifics. $\endgroup$
    – JDavila
    Nov 1, 2016 at 19:48
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @PaulHK, according to the DX12 article, that would be case. Looks, like VUlkan is using multiple threads as well: khronos.org/registry/vulkan/specs/1.0/xhtml/… $\endgroup$
    – JDavila
    Nov 1, 2016 at 19:52

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