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Battlefield 4

AMD claim performance boosts of up to 45% using Mantle over DirectX

The AMD Mantle API betters DirectX11, apparently.

I’m an anonymous tipper in a phone box, you’re the PC hardware police, and I’m ringing to tell you that a series of newsbombs are due to go off at CES 2014 in just a handful of hours. No fewer than 12 third-party Steam Machines are planted around the show floor, and AMD plan to deploy a series of slides on their new Mantle API designed to blow DirectX out of the water, and your machine.

AMD’s Mantle will allow supported games to talk to graphics cards directly, rather than through dependable babelfish DirectX11. A similar system to that used in console development, AMD say it’ll noticeable improve performance. EA and DICE are already onboard in providing support for Frostbite 3.

‘Mantle is up to 45% faster than DirectX’, screams the first of two leaked slides, emblazoned with Battlefield 4’s key artwork.

Where the supermarket-branded graphics application programming interface offers eight frames-per-second, suggest AMD, the Mantle API musters about 30.

A couple of important caveats: the 45% figure comes not from Battlefield, but Oxide Games’ Starswarm demo - a 64-bit engine test first shown in December that attempts to fill space with thousands of ships on-screen at once. And it doesn’t apply to just any generic AMD card - rather the A8-7600, a new APU from the Kaveri line the manufacturer is showing at CES. A very expensive AMD card.

It’s a claim and a half nonetheless. If AMD’s new bollocks turn out to be as doggy as they say, will you be busy justifying a new card to yourself this year?

Thanks, Neogaffers.

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Dog Pants's picture
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I think it's a bit early for me to be shelling out on a new GPU for this, given the limited support. The appeal will be when if it ties in with the Steam OS (or Linux in general of course) as a direct replacement for DX, and gains enough support to not restrict our choice in games. Then I'd be seriously considering it to free myself from a worrying future under Microsoft. The performance increase I'd take with a pinch of salt. I don't quite understand how Mantle gets your game closer to your GPU if it sits in the middle as an API, just like DirectX does. Happy to be enlightened on that though.

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DirectX has, over the years, sacrificed a lot of potential performance in the name of compatibility. The DX abstraction layer is based off of a 90's era GPU pipeline. This doesn't even come close to matching current GPU technology. Whenever calls are issued to the GPU they must first be processed(on the CPU) by the DX HAL and the GPU driver. Too many calls and the CPU becomes a bottle neck, not feeding the GPU fast enough.

Mantle, while still being abstracted, is far closer to the current gpu rendering path. Less CPU overhead is the result, this plus proper multi-threaded command lists(which were a failure in DX) mean many more calls can be issued to the GPU per frame.(DX ~10,000 - 15,000, Mantle 100,000+)

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Dog Pants's picture
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Nice explanation, cheers!

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"A very expensive AMD card" ...uhm...no? where did you get this??

The A8-7600 isn't a even a graphics card, its an APU. And at that , it isn't a top-of-the-line part...these would be the A10s.

Most importantly, it is certainly not an expensive option... a contratio it is aimed at budget builds.

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UntoldAv3nGer's picture
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To think an A8 is a graphics card is to know less about computers than Game Informer ;)

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