New Vulkan API performance test for Android devices
August 17, 2017
Today we added a new Vulkan test to our 3DMark Android benchmarking app. The new API Overhead feature test lets you compare the performance of Vulkan and OpenGL ES 3.0 APIs on your Android smartphone and tablet.
3DMark API Overhead feature test
Vulkan is a new graphics API that provides high-efficiency, low-level access to modern GPUs in a wide variety of devices from PCs to smartphones. APIs like Vulkan make better use of multi-core CPUs to streamline code execution and eliminate software bottlenecks, particularly for draw calls.
Games typically make thousands of draw calls per frame, but each one creates performance-limiting overhead for the CPU. APIs with less overhead can handle more draw calls and produce richer visuals. The API Overhead feature test is an impartial test for comparing the performance of Vulkan and OpenGL ES 3.0.
The 3DMark API Overhead feature test measures API performance by making a steadily increasing number of draw calls. The result of the test is the number of draw calls per second achieved by each API before the frame rate drops below 30 FPS.
The purpose of the test is to compare the relative performance of different APIs on a single mobile device. The API Overhead feature test is not a general-purpose GPU benchmark, and it should not be used to compare different Android devices or to compare Android devices with Apple devices.
We recommend reading the 3DMark Technical Guide, which goes into more detail and explains the important differences between feature tests and benchmarks.
Important notes on compatibility
The OpenGL ES 3.0 part of the test requires Android 5.0 or later and a device that supports OpenGL ES 3.0.
The Vulkan part of the test requires Android 7.0 or later and a device that supports Vulkan.
Please note that devices that shipped with early Vulkan drivers may have performance and stability issues in this test. Vulkan performance can be much lower than expected, and the test can crash on devices with underdeveloped Vulkan drivers. Performance on these older devices may improve with future Android OS updates.
3DMark is a free Android benchmark app available from Google Play.
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