AMD Officially Releases Mantle API

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LatiosXT

Anandtech ran through some numbers http://www.anandtech.com/show/7728/battlefield-4-mantle-preview

Conclusion: If you already have a high-end system running on maximum settings, you're buying around 10% more performance. If you start dropping quality settings, you get a more dramatic increase in performance.

But the data is just on BF4, which for a high end system, you're pretty much going beyond 60FPS anyway.

Please note that I'm not trying to discredit Mantle completely. I'm battling the hype machine :3

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fung0

An important point. Even assuming that this is an early result, it strongly suggests that Mantle isn't worth the effort. A 10% increase in performance is essentially imperceptible, and even 20% isn't going to change your life.

Universal standards are worth a lot more than that. What's the percentage difference between a game that works, and one that crashes instantly because the developer had too many different graphics standards to support?

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vrmlbasic

_buying_ performance if you already have a high-end system?

If you already have a high-end system that can support mantle then the performance is free.

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fung0

I've been a fan of ATI/AMD graphics hardware since the days of the EGA Wonder. But I have very mixed feelings about Mantle. Proprietary APIs inevitably offer some sort of performance advantage, but they run contrary to the whole idea of a standards-based PC.

As usual, we should blame Microsoft. If they'd continued to evolve DirectX as they should have, we wouldn't see the standard rupturing now. What SHOULD have happened was Microsoft acting as intermediary between AMD and Nvidia (and maybe Intel), determining how close to the hardware it was worth going, balancing performance against the need to allow some diversity in GPU architectures.

Instead, we've got a unilateral attempt to sabotage one of the greatest strengths of PC gaming: open standards. This action is so totally destructive, a suspicious person might almost want to ask if it was a condition of AMD getting the nod from both Sony and MS on the console side.

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limitbreaker

I agree that Microsoft should have initiated something like this but they didn't and wouldn't have. I think the company that does most of the damage to gaming pc is Nvidia, everything they do is proprietary. If only they'd open up physx to amd or atleast make it run properly on a strong cpu then we'd have this amazing technology used by almost every game. They use what ever strategy they can to create a kind of monopoly like 3d vision which eliminates everything but Nvidia and gsync that's again not very open. Nvidia pushes Cuda (proprietary) while amd pushes opencl (open).

Now don't get me wrong, I love my Gtx 780 and I love playing 3d vision games but let's not pretend like amd is the "bad guy" here, they've done more to push forward open Standart technology more than anyone.

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fung0

Microsoft DID initiate "something like this" - with Direct3D, originally. They just stopped doing it, or AMD wouldn't now have wiggle room to put forward a proprietary API offering sufficient extra performance to be worth the effort. DirectX has been stagnant like the rest of Windows - minor tweaks, but clearly taking a back seat while MS keeps trying to pump up the Xbox.

On the other hand, I absolutely agree that Nvidia has done way too much proprietary stuff as well, notably PhysX and CUDA. But AMD is indeed the "bad guy" HERE. A slight increase in performance does not justify the damage that Mantle does, just by existing. Next time Nvidia releases a proprietary API, I'll say the same of them.

And I'll keep saying that it's all Microsoft's fault that both Nvidia and AMD are pitching proprietary APIs. The strength of the Windows PC is that it has strong standards. For decades, Microsoft struck a good balance, midway between tyrannical control and open anarchy. It established good APIs that everyone could rally behind. Now it's off chasing mobile or console, and forgetting that the cash cow - Windows - depends on a fragile industry consensus, which needs intelligent stewardship, and could easily break down, if abused and neglected.

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bigrigross

I have a Core i5 2500K and an XFX 7870 graphics card. I tried out BF4 yesterday and I have to say it was impressive. I had a feeling of overall smoothness to the game. I also felt like my mouse movement was more fluid. It did increase my FPS from 55 average (medium/ultra settings) to 67 FPS average.

Now to the negatives, anytime there was an explosion or jet flying by or even jumping out of a vehicle I got a massive FPS drop to the single digits. Also the game looked more grainy (almost like AA wasnt on) when I have mantle enabled. When they get those issues fixed, Mantle will be nice to have. Heck, even add linux support to it and then we have a DX killer. Yes it wasnt as impressive as they said, but its a definite step in the right direction.

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limitbreaker

I don't understand why some people here are downplaying mantle... And you call yourself pc enthusiasts...

From the very little reports on performance using mantle, it proves that you get at least 10% more fps across the board even if you're using an overkill cpu with a slow gpu and that is a big deal. I personally think the best feature of mantle is that it essentially improves parallelism by leaps and bounds which suddenly an 8 core somewhat less redundant, hell, even a server 16 core suddenly makes some sense for gaming provided you're using mantle.

What's really impressive is that a crossfire 290x can be fully utilized with cpu that cost less than 500$.

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LatiosXT

"And you call yourself pc enthusiasts..."

A PC enthusiast would understand the ways a computer actually works and analyzes how something like Mantle works and plays out, rather than get "enthusiastic" over marketing buzzwords and hype.

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limitbreaker

I'm personally very enthusiastic about how it works, and if you fail to see the benefits of such a thing and why the lower draw calls really do matter then you're not a true "enthusiast".

The only thing that can get me any more excited about mantle is an Nvidia full adaptation which I doubt would really happen. But if it did, we would suddenly see a very wide implementation of it by every triple A games with support for Linux on every one of them AND THAT is something even the naysayer fanboys can appreciate.

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LatiosXT

Lower/efficient draw calls was sought after during the early days of DX9 and finally implemented generically on DX10. Have a look at the "Skinned Instancing" in http://developer.download.nvidia.com/SDK/10/direct3d/samples.html . Before then still, Radeon had a demo of instancing for the R300. This isn't anything new.

I don't think NVIDIA will budge until AMD shoves Mantle down everyone's throat. From a developer standpoint, this is yet another API they would have to learn and support (despite AMD saying how easy it will be to make the jump, nothing is ever "simple" or "easy") and from a management standpoint this is just more manhours needed to support yet another technology.

Yes it provides better performance, but you have to make the entire market care. If the market is satisfied with what they have, then you can preach it until the cows come home and nobody would really care.

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vrmlbasic

Only the companies that make the major game engines have to concern themselves with Mantle or TrueAudio. That was AMD's point, that the game dev studio that licenses an engine made by a competent developer will get all of the benefits of Mantle with little, if any, extra work required from them.

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limitbreaker

The fact of the matter is that the cpu usage dramatically drops with mantle which allows the developers a lot more headroom for things like physics, AI, audio and special effects that require more cpu usage, all without sacrificing the lowest common denominator that are running a low end or old cpu. If mantle gets supported by Nvidia, it would eventually make DX completely redundant (Intel gpu being the wildcard).

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LatiosXT

Except this only helps if the game in question was CPU bound to begin with. Few games are.

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vrmlbasic

But now games can be made with higher levels of detail that otherwise would be making them CPU-bound.

Mantle can make weak CPUs strong and strong CPUs Herculean. What's the problem with that?

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vrmlbasic

"DX9 Dual graphics is not supported in AMD Catalyst 14.1 Beta. An upcoming release will enable support"

What does this mean? Is "Dual Graphics" code for Crossfire? This driver will fix some issues that I've had (black screen) but if it nukes my DX9 crossfire then it ain't worth it as I play a lot of modern (?!) PC games that are DX9 only.

...MechWarrior Online seriously needs to modernize.

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AFDozerman

Dual graphics is what happens when you crossfire an APU with a discrete card.

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vrmlbasic

Thanks.

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vrmlbasic

Well, I guess there's some solace to be found in EA's poor implementation of Mantle in BF4: Mantle's performance here won't be driving the price of the R9 series any higher.

Someday I'll get my hands on a Mantle-enabled card, but at this rate it looks as though I'll have a Steamroller or Excavator-based AM3+ CPU first!

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vrmlbasic

The link to "AMD's official website" doesn't work, it goes to a 404 error page on MaximumPC's site.

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joshnorem

It's been fixed, thanks.

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acidic

you can grab the drivers over at guru3d.com

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maleficarus™

Did in no way shape or form live up to the hype! From what I have seen anywhere from 1% to 10% gains on Mid to high end hardware. That is hardly worth anything really. Heck, you get that amount of gains from new releases of NVIDIA drivers every month! I called this a while back and got flamed for it on a few hardware forums. Mantle was nothing but smoke and mirrors to try to take the steam away from NVIDIA with there G-Sync and ShadowPlay. But like everything AMD a day late and a dollar short!

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acidic

yeah i agree. you to pretty much have a shitty cpu (amd) in order to see any real benefit from this.

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vrmlbasic

Wow. AMD hatred has blinded you as you're already "calling it" after just one demo, a demo of a tech that was shoehorned into the dumbed-down-for-consoles BF4 at the last minute?

Talk about a rush to judgment. If you ever want to get out of jury duty, you should refer them to this page and your post and they'll cut you loose faster than you can blink. :)

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LatiosXT

Ugh, here I go again.

The only thing that majorly impacts graphics performance in the list of things Mantle improves is draw call efficiency. This is a CPU related task. If your performance is mostly GPU bottlenecked (which it is most of the time in a high-end system), then Mantle isn't going to help much.

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maleficarus™

Not AMD hatred at all. Just sick and tired of reading all this AMD Mantle will change PC gaming hype and all it was, was for low-end CPU/GPU's! For the last 6 months all we read was Mantle will change everything. What did it change? Head over to the BF4 forums and they acted like Mantle was the next best thing to slice bread lol...

Just more AMD BS if you ask me...

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vrmlbasic

But it isn't just for low-end tech. It is supposed to improve that, yes, but it also promises to allow for such high levels of detail that would bog down even Intel's mightiest CPUs if they used only DX.

EA can't even get BF4 to work properly, and couldn't make its mighty "Frostbite" engine even look like anything but a warmed-over console port on PC, so it doesn't seem proper to use their implementation of a new tech to damn the new tech.

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Neufeldt2002

In all fairness Mantle might, and that is a BIG might, help the consoles perform better. Not that I really care, but it might.

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lordfirefox

No it won't because they said the consoles do not support the API and also it would be redundant as consoles already have a low-level API to begin with, in otherwords Mantle will do nothing for the consoles.

So keep on dreaming.

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Peanut Fox

Neither one of them are supporting the API.

Sony may change their tune in the future, but there's no way Microsoft would undermine DirectX.

As you say it's a BIG might. I think the biggest benefit would come to the least popular platform. Steam Machines. Beefing up performance while negating cost is a big win as no one is excited for these devices at their current prices, and lack of software.