Grinding Gear Games has released a new update for Path of Exile that adds support for the Vulkan API. According to the team, the Vulkan renderer provides much more consistent performance than the DirectX 11 one, especially when under high CPU load.
As Grinding Gear stated:
“Because of the dynamic shader system we use, shader uploads occur frequently throughout gameplay and currently may stall the entire game when they occur. In our DirectX11 backend, shader uploads happen on the background threads. However, the graphics driver (the AMD/Nvidia/Intel layer) processes them before the GPU can use them. It does so in its own threads that can be starved when the CPU usage is high. In that case, driver processing appears to happen in the main thread, causing stalls. Somewhat ironically, the additional multithreading we have been adding over the years actually makes this problem worse, as it increases overall CPU usage (in order to get faster frame rates). Thankfully, this is where Vulkan comes in. Among many other improvements, this rendering API lets you do everything in function calls we have full control over, letting us completely avoid these uncontrollable DirectX11 graphics driver stalls.”
However, you should not expect miracles from the new renderer. According to the team, the Vulkan renderer is currently marginally slower than the DirectX11 in a lot of systems. Still, those that are CPU-limited may see some performance improvements.
Also note that the Vulkan renderer is still in a beta phase. As such, its final implementation may bring some additional performance and optimization improvements.
Additionally, the Vulkan renderer will force texture detail to “Medium” on systems with less than 3GB of VRAM. This “optimization” will allow these GPUs to run the game better.