PowerVR and Vulkan®

PowerVR Developer support for the Vulkan API


Vulkan® is a modern, cross-platform, graphics and compute API from the Khronos® Group, which gives low-level access to the GPU. By developing with Vulkan, you can benefit from greater control with higher performance from your applications.

Imagination is one of the promoter (highest-level) members of the Khronos Group and we’re delighted to contribute to the Vulkan community with our PowerVR SDK and Tools. We not only fully support the Vulkan API, but we also provide many useful ways for you to take better advantage of the power of Vulkan.

Our PowerVR Framework - designed to make Vulkan more accessible

We created the PowerVR Framework to make life easier when developing with both OpenGL®  ES and Vulkan. We understand Vulkan, and you will find a lot of value from the support we’ve built into our Framework.

  • Lose boilerplate code with our utilities for common tasks, such as object creation and asset uploading.
  • Make use of our Vulkan wrappers, with support for smart pointers, namespaces, and strongly typed enums to name just a few.
  • Save time with simplified object lifetime management, so you can focus on writing the more interesting parts of your application.

Examples - get your Vulkan application started faster

Our examples in our PowerVR SDK include both OpenGL ES and Vulkan code, and normally make use of our PowerVR Framework. 

The well-documented examples cater for everyone, from those completely new to Vulkan who want to find out how to render a triangle, right up to cutting-edge graphics techniques such as physically-based rendering (PBR) for more experienced graphics developers. Use them as a basis for your own application, or just borrow the parts you need.

  • Learn raw Vulkan with our beginner example HelloAPI. You can also follow HelloAPI step-by-step in our “Getting Started with Vulkan” guide on our documentation website.
  • Get an introduction to the PowerVR Framework, and find out the best ways to use it with Vulkan.
  • Gain knowledge of how to implement complex scenes using Vulkan that incorporate many objects, animations, and shader effects.
  • Find out how to implement techniques such as multi-threading and multi-sampling with Vulkan.

Documentation - browse our Vulkan-specific information online

Our PowerVR Developer Documentation website provides a modern and easy-to-use way to get the information you need. As well as guides to the PowerVR architecture, and PowerVR performance recommendations, you will find plenty of documentation related to Vulkan, which we are increasing all the time.

Some of our Vulkan-specific highlights include:

And if you’re using our PowerVR Framework:

PowerVR tools - get your Vulkan application running even better

Our ground-breaking developer tools support Vulkan, and are designed to help you to optimise your application’s performance, particularly for PowerVR. 

  • PVRCarbon – Inspect Vulkan and OpenGL ES API calls with our API-tracing tool. 
  • PVRTune – Profile, analyse, and optimise your PowerVR applications, at an unprecedented low level on the hardware.
  • PVRShaderEditor – Write shaders with profiling information and ASM output.
  • PVRTexTool – Ensure the lowest possible texture memory overhead with our suite of texture compression tools.

PowerVR Vulkan hardware

Want to see Vulkan on a retail PowerVR device? The Oppo Reno Z is one of many devices available to buy now!


Additional resources

If you want further information regarding the Vulkan API, take a look at some of the following links:

Support & resources

Get your answers online with our comprehensive documentation, developer forum and our dedicated PowerVR developer support desk.

Vulkan news from Imagination


Introducing our all new PowerVR Developer Documentation website

We’re really excited to announce some big news about our PowerVR developer documentation. We’ve taken our incredibly useful, and very extensive documentation set and turned it into something much more modern and accessible in the form of a new website.