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?