What is Vulkan RunTime Libraries – All you need to know!

Did you just find out that something named “Vulkan RunTime Libraries” installed on your Windows 10 computer and you don’t remember installing it? Well, you will be glad to know that this isn’t a malware or something that will harm your computer in any way. Vulkan RunTime Libraries is basically a set of libraries used by your graphics processor or GPU.

If you are anywhere near involved in the PC gaming or content creation scene, you will know what Vulkan is and for those who don’t know anything about this, let me be a bit more elaborative so that I can explain.

Vulkan RunTime Libraries

  1. What is Vulkan RunTime Libraries
  2. Vulkan Applications & Uses
  3. Vulkan vs DirectX 12
  4. How to Install Vulkan Libraries on Windows
  5. How to Uninstall Vulkan RumTime Libraries

What are Vulkan RunTime Libraries?

Up until a few years back, a lot of games still used DirectX 11 as a graphical engine for their games. With the launch of DirectX 12, a lot of improvements can be expected in games and other graphical applications. You will notice good frame rates improvements, and you can also use multiple GPUs together to boost your gaming experience. The combination of two GPUs will work even if the GPUs are from different manufacturers like NVIDIA or AMD.

Now, Vulkan and DirectX 12 are two different things but Vulkan depends and works a lot similar to how DirectX 12 works and hence it is being adopted by a lot of game developers and software engineers for their programs and games. We already know about OpenGL and DirectX standards but Vulkan RunTime Libraries provide new Vulkan APIs that games and programs can tap into and perform better than they would on OpenGL or DirectX libraries.

Vulkan Applications & Uses

As mentioned, Vulkan can be used to develop programs that need graphical processing such as games etc. When it comes to games, a lot of Android-based games are based off on Vulkan and Android already has these libraries integrated into itself which helps developers just get started with the development of these Vulkan supported games.

Earlier this year, on 7th May 2018, Vulkan 1.1 was released and the new update brought a bunch of new features to the main Vulkan engine. A lot of extensions to Vulkan before 1.1 were standardized as features into the update and it now works a lot similar to DirectX 12 where programs can divide the GPU workload amongst multiple GPUs present in the system which means SLI and Crossfire, the multi-GPU tech from NVIDIA and AMD will work in a much-improved way with the Vulkan 1.1 update.

Vulkan vs. DirectX 12

When it comes to comparing both of these graphical processing technologies, we can point out some major things that differentiate both Vulkan and DirectX 12 from one another. The first difference is that Microsoft has developed DirectX 12 for their own platforms like Windows 10, Xbox etc. while Vulkan, on the other hand, is a royalty-free open standard which can be adopted by anyone and you can use it for any platform that you need to develop for.

Another difference is that Vulkan needs homogeneous GPU support which means you need to use the same GPUs and you cannot use different GPUs from different manufacturers like NVIDIA and AMD. Using an NVIDIA GPU with an AMD GPU is possible with DirectX 12 but with Vulkan, things work differently and if you’re using a specific model of GPU for example, an NVIDIA GTX 1070 then for Vulkan you will need a similar NVIDIA GTX 1070 to take advantage of the multi-GPU support.

How is “Vulkan RunTime Libraries” installed on your computer?

The Vulkan RunTime Libraries are often installed along with your GPU drivers so installing these drivers will result in an additional installation of these libraries. They are basically installed so that games can take advantages of the extra Vulkan APIs that are included in the libraries that are installed.

Vulkan RunTime Libraries

You can easily find out if Vulkan RunTime Libraries are installed on your PC. Just use the keyboard combination Windows key + R and type appwin.cpl in the Run dialogue and press Enter. This will open the Programs & Features section of Control Panel and then you can just scroll down and look for Vulkan RunTime Libraries that might be installed.

Can I uninstall Vulkar RunTime Libraries?

Vulkan RunTime Libraries are used in games like DotA 2, Star Citizen and game development engines like CryEngine and Unity. Uninstalling this won’t cause any harm to your system but at the same time, you won’t be able to run games using Vulkan which might result in a few performance downfalls. Also, keep in mind that manually installing it isn’t possible so you will have to rely on driver updates for your GPU in order to install it back on your PC.

Removing it from your PC won’t do any harm ultimately but it is recommended that you keep it installed just for the sake of system stability.

Who is responsible for developing Vulkan?

Vulkan is being developed by the Khronos Group which has a huge number of members and includes big names like Google, AMD, NVIDIA, Qualcomm, Dell, Valve, Adobe and many others. You can find out more about all the members by looking up the Khronos members list.

The Khronos Group is also responsible for developing other standards and APIs like OpenGL, OpenVX, WebGL and more. Khronos not only works on the mentioned technologies, but it also works on royalty-free open standards for VR, AR, Parallel Computing, Vision Processing and even Neural Networks which will be useful for AI and machine learning.

Wrapping it up

Vulkan RunTime Libraries is something that is installed on your computer with your GPU drivers and while uninstalling it will cause no harm, it should be left untouched as installing it manually can be a quest that you might regret later. It is also good to see these software-based solutions to make graphics applications better which means the simultaneous development of both hardware and software will one day result in great and optimized components for your PC.

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