Unity renderers comparison DX12 and Vulkan

With credit to YouTuber “airspeedmph” a Unity #renderers comparison running the #Courtyarddemo between Windows using various versions of DirectX, Vulkan and OpenGL, plus SteamOS using Vulkan and OpenGL. The results are eye opening, but spoiler, it looks like DirectX 12 and Vulkan keep relatively close to the same frame rate.

Check it out. The Green labels are Windows and Blue are SteamOS respectively.

The video synopsis from airspeedmph:

Don’t look too much into it, the demo isn’t a DX12/Vulkan showcase. It was just my curiosity to see how this very GPU/CPU intensive demo will perform using current (some still experimental) Unity renderers. Some details below (press SHOW MORE)

You probably (like me) expected some interesting results, but as it stands there’s barely any difference between them, but since I already made it, here it is.
I’ll likely try later with other demos.

This is a modified version of the Courtyard demo that can be found here: https://blogs.unity3d.com/2015/11/05/…
It is modified because some shaders that the demo is using are now incompatible with the current version of Unity. Is something that can be probably fixed by experimented Unity users, but since I’m not that I just preferred to replace them with standard shaders.

Videos recorded at 1680×1050 windowed since the DX12 build refuse to let go of Vsync in fullscreen mode.

Nothing interesting about GPU/CPU usage data, since it was 100% for all of them.

The demo has a 122 fps limit that I was unable to overcome.


  • i7 4790K
  • Nvidia GTX 780
  • 16 GB RAM

SteamOS Brewmaster
Windows 10

Linux Nvidia driver 367.57
Windows Nvidia driver 373.06

As the results speak for themselves, so does Vulkan and OpenGL running on SteamOS. Needless to say there seems to be varying results on Windows running three different versions of DirectX. Where things get interesting, at different points during the test, DX12 pulls only slightly ahead of Vulkan, while OpenGL on SteamOS still gets a higher frame rate.

With all the talk about SteamVR and Vulkan support, it’s going to be interesting to see test results for the Vive and other headsets used for actual gaming on Linux. If this test is any indication of the work that needs to be done in order to improve Vulkan or even expand the use of OpenGL, VR performance will definitely need some tweaking. Let alone necessary changes and such for the Unity game engine running Vulkan, which is still experimental.


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