Home Gaming Mantle increases BF4 performance by up to 45%

Mantle increases BF4 performance by up to 45%

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Mantle

Mantle, the new API from AMD and DICE is set to replace DirectX for AMD users – at least in Battlefield 4 and other Frostbite 3 games. It was meant to be released via patch last year, but that patch has been delayed to some time later this month. The wait might be worth it; it reportedly increases performance by up to 45%.

Screenshots leaked from a presentation at CES suggest that performance in Battlefield 4 could increase by as much as 45% – at least, when paired with a Kaveri APU. Mantle is intended to give developers better low-level access to AMD GCN hardware, similar to the way that developers are afforded that access on consoles, extracting much better performance from analogous chipsets. It’ll also make porting games between PC and new-gen consoles quicker and easier.

Regarding the delay, AMD told Polygon earlier last year:

“After much consideration, the decision was made to delay the Mantle patch for Battlefield 4. AMD continues to support DICE on the public introduction of Mantle, and we are tremendously excited about the coming release for Battlefield 4! We are now targeting a January release and will have more information to share in the New Year.”

Do you think AMD’s claims are genuine, and that users of its cards – like the very, very tempting R9 290X – could see far greater performance from games over NVidia gamers? I don’t – and here’s why.

I really don’t think the adoption of Mantle is going to be all that large in the very near future. For now, the fact that everything runs on DirectX makes development a little easier, and the introduction of new API’s means developers, who already have to tweak their PC games to make them run on all manner of hardware, will have to work twice as hard doing so. For the sake of compatibility, developers have to support DirectX by default, and if the Linux-based SteamOS gains any really traction, it means developers will have to include OpenGL support as well.

Throw in Mantle, and you have 3 wholly different API’s that need supporting and testing on a wide range of hardware, and you can understand why some developers prefer to stick to consoles, which have a base and uniform structure. In some nightmarish future, NVidia could even construct its own low-level access API, adding a fourth in to the mix.

It would be a return to the sort of compatibility issues we had to deal with in the early part of this century and the advent of PC 3D gaming; some games were made to support 3DFX’s Glide, with others opting for OpenGL, and others still adopting the then new Direct3D necessitating things like Glide Wrappers and all sorts of external software just to get things working.

It all sounds like far, far too much of a headache.

Last Updated: January 7, 2014

35 Comments

  1. Lourens Jordaan

    January 7, 2014 at 08:49

    I’ve recently read an article with a more reserved 10% faster. Of course I don’t really care since I’ll be playing everything on the PS4 🙂

    Reply

  2. Sir Rants A Lot Llew. Jelly!!!

    January 7, 2014 at 08:55

    If the speed benefits are that large then I do see it taking off because if there’s one thing PC gamers want and that is: more performance. But then the benefits have to be:

    1) Vast speed improvement
    2) Exactly the same graphic quality (This is usually where certain API’s fall to the wayside because DirectX, so far, has always had the more superior graphic quality)
    3) Global support. This is the trickiest part and will make or break any graphical API

    Reply

    • Alien Emperor Trevor

      January 7, 2014 at 09:01

      I’d add a 4th – ease of use.

      But yes, if it gives even half of that benefit I’d want it.

      Reply

      • Sir Rants A Lot Llew. Jelly!!!

        January 7, 2014 at 09:04

        The thing is ease of use isn’t such a huge thing because if devs and publishers see that consumers at large want it then they will grind through the hassles of learning the new API’s and slowly start building up their games to support it. It won’t happen overnight, but will happen slowly if enough people want and start using it.

        Reply

      • Unavengedavo(aka. MadeYouLook)

        January 7, 2014 at 09:18

        5th – Be able to run on a Unix based OS as well(Linux/OSX)

        Reply

        • Kaos

          January 7, 2014 at 14:55

          Which is where mantle wins, its OS ignorant. This plus AMDs core handling developed for BF4 make it the platform of choice for PC BF4 players. The same software tech will work for the PS4 with little to no real work required.

          I think M$ saw this comming and went with their own GPU solution to ensure the survival of DX.

          Reply

          • Steve

            January 18, 2014 at 06:43

            Intel/nvidia is crushing amd on bf4 benchmarking right now. AMD is hardly the platform of choice.

          • e92m3

            January 24, 2014 at 01:19

            100% false, I see you are incapable of understanding that the AMD based platforms offer higher minimum FPS in bf4 during intense multiplayer battles, unless you go towards hexacore intel. NVidia is still drastically behind in pure rendering power, or perhaps you would prefer if we only look at 1024×768 so you can feel better about your idiotic purchases?

  3. Hammersteyn

    January 7, 2014 at 08:56

  4. Admiral Chief in Vegas

    January 7, 2014 at 09:11

    Good guy AMD

    Reply

  5. Kerrits

    January 7, 2014 at 09:16

    According to this presentation by oxide games, the amount of work you need to do is not that much. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QIWyf8Hyjbg

    Reply

  6. Sageville

    January 7, 2014 at 09:31

    Does the PS4 have some sort of direct X or Mantle infrastructure, given it’s essentially a PC?

    Reply

    • Uberutang

      January 7, 2014 at 10:01

      OpenGL

      Reply

      • Sageville

        January 7, 2014 at 10:10

        Dankie Swaar

        Reply

    • Dave

      January 8, 2014 at 16:57

      PS4 has GCN

      Reply

    • Brian Murphy

      January 23, 2014 at 20:32

      Both the PS4 and Xbox One are based upon AMD’s GCN Technology. Mantle was made specifically for all GCN APU’s, so yes, the Mantle infrastructure is already in both machines.

      Reply

  7. Robert Hart

    January 7, 2014 at 09:44

    I’ll believe it when I see it.

    Reply

  8. Weanerdog

    January 7, 2014 at 09:53

    Just a question, both the Xone and PS4 run Amd so do they support Mantle? If so then it would make sense for developers of console games to use it if the benefits are as claimed (yeah right).

    Reply

    • Kromas

      January 7, 2014 at 10:39

      The PS4 will natively support mantle but the XBONE will still mainly rely on Directx.

      Reply

      • Bob

        January 18, 2014 at 06:42

        How bout you not contribute to the discussion if you are just spewing bullshit?

        Reply

    • ShavedApe

      January 7, 2014 at 14:58

      Mantle is an API that allows devs to code for pc in much the same way they will on the consoles. The code used on pc will be very similar but not the same and Mantle wont be used on either console as they have their own respective API’s but the work needed to port the code is much less.
      Consoles dont need Mantle as they already have API’s that allow the kind of access that Mantle gives.

      Reply

      • Weanerdog

        January 7, 2014 at 15:48

        Thanks, so in essence if they use Mantle for PC any console port should theoretically run better.

        Reply

  9. Uberutang

    January 7, 2014 at 10:02

    mantle also runs on Nvidia and intel …

    Reply

    • Exalted Overlord Geoffrey Tim

      January 7, 2014 at 10:12

      Can run, but doesnt run on them yet. AMD have given other chipmakers the option, with speculation that the API is open source – but no support thus far. I suspect, given Nvidias prominence in Steam Machine builds, they may choose to just refine and enhance their OpenGL support instead of implement Mantle.

      Reply

      • Jarrod Lane

        January 7, 2014 at 10:53

        The same way that TressFX is open source. Heck AMD is barely using it. Pretty sure only TR is the only game that actually supports it. Mantle sounds cool and the tech behind it is fancy. But As the wobbly onion points out. Nvidia may push more into OpenGL

        Reply

        • djosa

          January 7, 2014 at 15:12

          Mantle will go viral beacuse it will suport all platforms windows linux mac ps4….

          Reply

  10. Dave

    January 8, 2014 at 16:55

    I disagree that with mantle developers will need to learn a new language or API to stack on top the existing ones. I see mantle as one API to rule them all. If it is similar to the likes of ps4 and xbo APIs then a simple plugin in those dev environments is all that is necessary, they are the same architecture after all. Also AMD said that mantle is possible on the competitions hardware, it might not be the same hardware but very similar. Lastly, AMD is an innovator, CPU memory controller, HT or QPI, x64, those are all AMD innovations. Mantle is also non OS specific, so steam os could potentially use it. I agree that 45% might be generous but even a %20 boost in performance is the PC space would be worthy of consideration.

    Reply

  11. Watch4itn0w

    January 9, 2014 at 12:02

    Direct X 11.2 is supposed to offer similar features to Mantle as in it too will offer low level access (function as a low-level API similar to Mantle), and Direct X is already supported by Nvidia and AMD (although, I don’t know how well implemented any 11.2 changes are into current hardware). For Windows based PC gaming, this would seem the logical API choice for developers to support for the broadest range of Windows gamers. It’s practically necessary to support DX as it is now anyway even if Mantle succeeds. There is no way to be sure that Nvidia or any other vendor will adopt Mantle and choose to support it, and that will likely be the largest measure of how well the API could succeed. If Microsoft is smart, they’ll seriously consider making DX 11.2 compatible with at least Windows 7 (currently only supported in Windows 8.1). This may help to ensure Direct X’s continued dominance on PC.

    Reply

  12. K1lbane

    January 10, 2014 at 20:56

    Based on the fact that both ps4 and xone run amd graphics, mantle will make cross platform development far easier for devs through the use of a common api. AMD have already announced that mantle will be multi platform, PC is just the starting point

    Reply

  13. Jacob Kelly

    January 22, 2014 at 01:00

    The obvious cross point isn’t DirectXOpenGLMantle, its if Mantle is able to be programmed for Wii UXboxOnePS4. Thats where the ease of porting and optimisation will come from. EA is obviously on the bandwagon, all you need is Unreal & maybe source to embrace unity and you should find a mass amount of mantle games by virtue that its already supported.

    Reply

    • Brian Murphy

      January 22, 2014 at 03:36

      Mantle is specifically designed for AMD GCN APU’s, which both the Xbox One and PS4 have, so that won’t be a catch point. The real question is whether Mantle can also translate to non-GCN architectures like the Wii-U and Nvidia PC’s, because if it doesn’t, it’d mean next-gen console exclusives only, and any versions that go to non-GCN systems would require rewrites, and not just a port.

      Reply

  14. Hello

    January 23, 2014 at 19:52

    Done the current next-gen console use mantle? or are at least ready for it? If so why not move from direct x, would make ports easier..

    Reply

    • Brian Murphy

      January 23, 2014 at 20:36

      AMD made Mantle to take advantage of their GCN APU’s, which both the PS4 and Xbox One have. So, yes, they’re both ready for it. The problem is, DX is an industry dominant API (even though it has resource bleed issues), because Microsoft’s hardware uses DX, and Windows uses DX.

      So, the only way I see Microsoft allowing developers to use Mantle, is if the performance boost is as suggested in this article, across the board on all next-gen titles. Because they would NOT allow the PS4 to boast such a vast, vast performance disparity.

      The other question is, how does Mantle interact with Nvidia based systems?

      Reply

  15. Ben wagner

    January 24, 2014 at 17:24

    Since amd’s api is compatable with all three major systems due to the contract and got with the ps4 and xbx1? They all use gcn gpu’s and if games stick to consoles, and consoles are really low powered PC’s why wouldn’t this api be the new dx11? They only systems that won’t be able to run mantle are older PC’s and nvidia systems. I can’t see how and can fail with this new release

    Reply

    • Ben wagner

      January 24, 2014 at 17:25

      When I said and I ment amd. Damn autocorrect

      Reply

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