December 6, 2021

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The Zink driver for OpenGL over Vulkan shows good performance on NVIDIA

Recently developer Mike Blumenkrantz wrote an interesting post in regards to a future upgrade to Zink, the driver that provides an OpenGL implementation on top of Vulkan and the performance with it is looking impressive.

The new upgrade coming is called Copper. To keep it simple enough for most readers, it will allow Zink to avoid existing problems with the way the driver works and get rendering done more directly. The result of it has been shown off today, where Blumenkrantz tested the newer work with the NVIDIA 495.44 driver on an RTX 2070 and benchmarking Feral Interactive’s port of Tomb Raider.

Interestingly, it seems later NVIDIA drivers don’t quite render Tomb Raider correctly, even so the performance seems acceptable to test against (and if it did 100% render, performance might even be lower). The results speak for themselves on this one. First up the port with OpenGL:

And then when run through Zink:

Blimey. The average FPS went from 121.3 to 151. That’s not exactly a small increase. As Blumenkrantz explains though, that performance difference is not currently likely to be matched in other games but it at least shows exactly how impressive Zink is.

Since everyone is going in with Vulkan now though, eventually OpenGL would probably be deprecated and not see much in the way of fixes or improvements. Eventually then perhaps, we might end up seeing Zink as the better way to run things that use OpenGL, even officially by GPU vendors. The future for Linux gaming certainly is interesting.

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