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Raspberry Pi is Vulkan Conformant

November 26, 2020

Raspberry Pi sports a pretty capable GPU which helps it to support up to two 4K displays, play 4K video and even run some 3D games with decent frame rates. The problem is, most of the software that needs GPUs doesn’t interact with them directly. Instead, it relies on one of the popular graphics APIs such as OpenGL or Vulkan.

Let’s take Blender as an example. It requires OpenGL 3.3 or Vulkan. In theory, it can run pretty well on a Raspberry Pi 4. In reality, it won’t run at all. How so?

The thing is, Raspberry Pi 4 GPU drivers can only support OpenGL 3.1 and lower and even this older version of OpenGL wasn’t supported for almost a year since Raspberry Pi 4 hit the shelves. There is no point in having good hardware if if doesn’t support any modern APIs and that’s why I’m exited to hear that Raspberry PI GPU drivers are now Vulkan 1.0 conformant.

Vulkan support broadens the range of media manipulation software and games that can be used on a Raspberry Pi 4 and and makes it more appealing as a desktop. Anyway, don’t get your hopes up, as Vulkan 1.0 is pretty ancient and Raspberry Pi 4 will never support OpenGL 3.3 due to the limitations of its hardware.