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Super-efficient 'Vulkan' leaves your games more graphics power

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Psst: the games you play might not look as good (or run as smoothly) as they could. In many cases, the overhead from graphics standards gets in the way -- Apple went so far as to develop its own technology just to make sure that iPhones and iPads could live up to their potential. That bottleneck may not exist for much longer, however. The alliance behind the OpenGL video standard has given a sneak peek at Vulkan, an open standard that lets app writers take direct control of graphics chips and wring out extra performance on many devices, whether it's your phone or a hot rod gaming PC. The software isn't a magic bullet (developers still have to make good use of it), but it could easily lead to richer visuals and smoother frame rates without demanding beefier hardware.

Vulkan is still in a preview stage, but it already has some pretty noteworthy support. Valve sees the tech as crucial to Steam Machines, which have to produce gaming-worthy 3D graphics with modest processing power. AMD, ARM, Imagination and NVIDIA also see Vulkan doing wonders with their platforms, although Microsoft's efforts are going towards DirectX 12. In short, you'll probably see better graphics on many platforms -- not just in a few gaming-friendly gadgets.

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