Baldur’s Gate 3, developed by Larian Studios, offers players the choice between two graphical APIs: DirectX 11 (DX11) and Vulkan. Both have their merits, but which one should you choose for the best gaming experience? Let’s dive into the details.


What is Vulkan

Vulkan is a modern graphical API developed by the Khronos Group, a consortium that includes major companies like Nvidia, AMD, Apple, Intel, and Valve. It’s designed to offer better performance and more efficient multi-threading capabilities than its predecessors. Vulkan is a newer API and has been adopted by many recent games.

What is DX 11?

DirectX 11, developed by Microsoft, has been a staple in the gaming industry for years. While it’s considered outdated compared to its successor, DX12, and Vulkan, its longevity and widespread use have made it a reliable choice for many developers and gamers. Baldur’s Gate 3 utilizes the Divinity 4.0 engine, a revamped version of Larian’s in-house engine used for Divinity: Original Sin 2, which might explain the game’s compatibility with DX11.

Vulkan or DX11: Which is Best for Baldur’s Gate 3

  • Nvidia Graphics Cards: For those using Nvidia GPUs, DX11 generally offers superior performance, delivering up to 6–13% higher frame rates than Vulkan. However, Vulkan might provide more consistent performance, minimizing large dips in frame rates. If you have an RTX GPU, enabling DLSS can significantly boost performance.
  • AMD Graphics Cards: Vulkan tends to be the better choice for AMD users. It generally offers higher average frame rates and better 1% low frame rates. However, some older threads have reported issues with Vulkan, so if you encounter visual errors, switching to DX11 might be a good idea.
  • Intel Graphics Cards: Vulkan is likely the optimal choice for Intel graphics cards, especially the newer Alchemist series. The architecture of Intel’s Arc graphics cards is designed for newer APIs, and Vulkan typically offers the best performance on these cards.

Developer Vs. Community Recommendation

Developer Larian recommends running the game on Vulkan and interestingly, the Reddit community also agrees that Vulkan runs a lot better. However, Vulkan can sometimes make the graphics blurry while DX11 is quite clear. To resolve this issue make sure to run the game on real full screen mode rather than windowed or borderless.


Baldur’s Gate 3: Vulkan Vs. DX11 Performance Comparison

Additional Tips

  1. Vulkan and 60FPS Lock: If you find Baldur’s Gate 3 locked to 60fps with Vulkan, ensure your monitor is set to its highest refresh rate in your graphics driver or Windows display settings. Vulkan tends to adopt the OS refresh rate, which might limit your in-game frame rate.
  2. Disabling the Larian Launcher: If you wish to bypass the Larian launcher every time you start Baldur’s Gate 3 from Steam, you can disable it with a simple Steam command. However, this will default the game to DX11. To disable:
    • Right-click on the game in your Steam library.
    • Navigate to Launch Options.
    • Enter: --skip-launcher.
    • Exit settings, and you can now launch directly into the game.

The choice between Vulkan and DX11 largely depends on your PC’s hardware and personal preferences. While Vulkan offers enhanced performance, especially on newer graphics cards, DX11 provides stability that some players might prefer. It’s recommended to test both APIs to see which one offers the best experience for your setup. Remember, the ultimate goal is a smooth and immersive Baldur’s Gate 3 adventure!


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