One of the strangest named programs you’ll come across is Vulkan Run Time Libraries. Let’s find out what this is, its purpose, and what you should do about it.
What Are the Vulkan Run Time Libraries?
The solution isn’t as complex as it sounds. We should first note that these libraries have no relation to the Vulcan species from Star Trek, so apologies to sci-fi fans.
Instead, the Vulkan Run Time Libraries are a recent API (application programming interface) used for computer graphics. An API is simply a collection of tools that programmers can use to build new apps — and games, in this case. For instance, a developer could use Twitter’s API to implement features from the service into a new app.
What Is Vulkan For?
Vulkan is similar to older graphics APIs, such as Open Graphics Library (OpenGL) and Microsoft’s DirectX. However, Vulkan’s developers built it to offer better performance and more balanced usage of the CPU and GPU in your computer.
It’s built around modern high-intensity tasks that modern CPUs can handle. When OpenGL and DirectX were new, computing equipment didn’t have as much power as it does today — they were created with single-core CPUs in mind. Vulkan is more efficient on today’s multi-core processors.
Also, Vulkan is a cross-platform API. While DirectX only works on Windows (and Xbox), Vulkan is also available on Android and Linux. All this means is that Vulkan is a sort of new standard for the latest 3D games. But that doesn’t mean the older APIs are useless! Many games still use them, and they still receive updates.
Is Vulkan on My Computer?
You can easily check if you have the Vulkan Run Time Libraries installed on your PC.
On Windows 10, open the Settings app and then select the Apps entry. On the Apps & features tab, use the search box to look for Vulkan. If you see a Vulkan Run Time Libraries entry, you’ve got it installed on your system.
Windows 8 users can press the Start button to open the Start Screen. From there, just type Vulkan to search your PC for the program.
On Windows 7, visit Control Panel > Programs and Features. Scroll down to find the entry, or use the search box in the upper-right to find it.
How Did Vulkan Get on My Computer?
If you don’t remember installing Vulkan, you’re not having a memory lapse. When you installed the latest graphics drivers for your video card, the Vulkan Run Time Libraries came with it. Both NVIDIA and AMD graphics cards now include Vulkan with their driver updates.
Since Vulkan was only released in early 2016, older graphics cards may not support it.
What Games Support Vulkan?
As Vulkan is a new API, you won’t find hundreds of games that support it. Still, that doesn’t mean that no games use it. Here’s a small sample — you can read the full list from Wikipedia if you like.
- The Talos Principle (2014): This excellent first-person puzzle game was the first title to support Vulkan.
- Dota 2 (2013): Valve’s popular MOBA introduced support for Vulkan shortly after the API released.
- Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus (2017): This first-person shooter is notable for only supporting Vulkan on PC, and not any older APIs.
In addition to these games, emulators such as Dolphin (which emulates the Nintendo GameCube) and game engines like Source 2, Unity, and CryEngine all support Vulkan. Thus, we can expect to see more games using Vulkan in the future.
Should I Remove Vulkan?
If you have Vulkan installed on your computer, you’re most likely a PC gamer. Because it only downloads with the latest graphics card drivers, you won’t get Vulkan if you use integrated graphics for basic PC tasks.
You should definitely leave Vulkan installed on your computer. Since it’s the latest graphics API, you won’t be able to run newer games if you remove it. Plus, there’s no way to install a standalone copy of the Vulkan Run Time Libraries. If you uninstall them and decide you want to reinstall them later, you’ll have to reinstall your graphics drivers too.
Having Vulkan on your PC won’t hurt anything. It takes up little space, won’t nag you for any reason, and certainly isn’t a virus.
Vulkan Is the Cement of Our Graphics
Now you know what the Vulkan Run Time Libraries are, why they’re on your computer, and what they do for you. Any PC gamer should have them on their system so that the latest games run smoothly. You should get updates for Vulkan when you update your graphics drivers, so there’s really no overhead for you to worry about.
If all this talk of PC gaming has you interested, check out how to build a cheap gaming PC for yourself if you don’t have one yet.
Do you have the Vulkan Run Time Libraries on your system? Have you played any of the games that support Vulkan yet? Share what you think down in the comments!