AMD release Mantle API drivers that make Battlefield 4 giddy (on the right GPU) | PCGamesN

AMD release Mantle API drivers that make Battlefield 4 giddy (on the right GPU)

Battlefield 4, under the influence of Mantle.

It was with a metaphorical M16A4 salute that DICE announced their new Mantle renderer for Battlefield 4 last week, and rightfully so: in conjunction with the right graphics card, DICE’s files can pull up to 45% better performance out of your PC.

Just one problem: at the time, AMD had neglected to release the drivers necessary to take advantage of the renderer. And so it sat dormant on everybody’s machines - until Saturday, when the Catalyst 14.1 beta drivers showed up.

Found at AMD’s download centre, the drivers seem to first require a manual uninstall of any existing AMD drivers on your PC. Once you’re done there, you’ll want to find and select the new ‘Graphics API’ option in Battlefield 4’s Graphics Options settings.

Any finickity business will be well-rewarded, though - while Battlefield 4 was already “quite heavily” optimised under DirectX, two years of tinkering between DICE and AMD means that performance is improved in “virtually all scenarios” under Mantle - whether you’re running on Windows 7 or 8.

The beta drivers are currently supported on Radeon R9 and R7 GPUs, Radeon HD 7000s and 8000s, plus A10-7000 Series and A8-7000 Series APUs. Anything else, unfortunately, and you’re stuck with regular old, heavily-optimised Battlefield.

The Mantle API works rather like the consoles - allowing games to tango directly with your GPU, rather than relying on the interpretative dancing skills of a third party like DirectX. For best results, you’ll want to check out Oxide’s Star Swarm demo, now available on Steam.

Nothing says ‘high performance’ like 10,000 ships running an extra 200% faster than on the other guy's cards, does it?

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Gwathdring avatar
Gwathdring Avatar
4 Years ago

This sounds like a big misstep. It results in one of two problems: NVIDIA competing to create something similar resulting in another VHS/BETAMAX fight until someone loses, or developers being asked to tailor their games (or at least some of their gaming features) to half or so of their PC audience.

Coders don't like this kind of proprietary crap. They like flexible standards that aren't controlled by a third party company and that don't arbitrarily restrict their audience--PhysX dedicated cards never really took off very well for a reason.

Further, I was under the impression that OpenGL was already a fairly low-level solution. Do we really need something more specialized? That's the whole point of drivers, surely--so that we don't have to have games or APIs tailored to specific graphics cards. General computing is a *good thing.* AMD is dragging us down just like the phone/tablet/reader market is with it's closed-off devices and unnecessarily crippled operating systems. That aside, I bet you anything the performance boost is down to obscene amounts of effort rather than lying purely on the use of mantle.

I can't get behind this sort of thing. It's the wrong move for the industry, and it's the wrong move for customers. Performance boost be damned, I'm not short-sighted enough to appreciate a better frame-rate when it has such a high cost.