What is the oldest hardware or minimum requirements conceptually able to support a fully hardware-accelerated Vulkan implementation? I am not referring to what implementations are currently available or likely to be written, but what could possibly be written.

Is there a specific set of features that must be provided by hardware in order for the manipulation primitives provided by Vulkan to be used?

Can Vulkan drivers be written for every video card that supports OpenGL?

For example, could one create a hardware Vulkan driver for the Number Nine Imagine 128, with 4M VRAM?

I apologize for how naive my question must be, and thanks in advance for any reply.


1 Answer 1


Khronos publishes a list of Vulkan compliant hardware here. The list also shows compliance to different flavors of OpenGL. I don't know all the card models, but for NVIDIA at least the GeForce GT 630 is supposed to work with Vulkan.

To answer your question a bit more, to support Vulkan a video card must support a certain number of programmable shader stages. Shaders is probably the biggest evolution of graphic cards in the last 10 years in my opinion. This already eliminates the graphic card you mentioned in the question.

This early Vulkan presentation from Khronos, states that "Vulkan 1.0 provides access to OpenGL ES 3.1 / OpenGL 4.X-class GPU functionalitybut with increased performance and flexibility." That can give you a basis for finding which individual features a graphic cards must theoretically support to have a Vulkan driver. See the new features introduced in OpenGL 4 at Wikipedia.

Among them:

  • Tessellation shaders
  • Indirect draw commands
  • Transform feedback (more flexibility in transform feedback)
  • Texture buffer objects (new texture formats only)

See also the sections "New Features" of the OpenGL 4.x specs.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ "Shaders is probably the biggest evolution of graphic cards in the last 10 years in my opinion." Shaders date back to the GeForce 3 at least (you could charitably call the register combiners of the GeForce 1 "shaders"). So you're talking 2001. That's rather farther back than "the last decade". Also, Tessellation shaders are not a required feature of Vulkan. And while indirect commands are, bundling multiple indirect commands is not. $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 5, 2019 at 13:59
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    $\begingroup$ Also "OpenGL 4.X-class" doesn't mean "opengl 4.0". It's just a simple and handy shortand because for as much as all the desktop hardware (I am aware of) that supports shader5 should be able to go all the way up to 4.5 at least, some was left rotting on 4.2, others to 4.4 and so on. AFAIK compute shaders are the actual magic feature that make vk possible. $\endgroup$
    – mirh
    Commented Jan 27, 2020 at 21:24

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