Home Gaming How much difference does Mantle make in Thief?

How much difference does Mantle make in Thief?

1 min read


The very first game to support AMD’s Mantle API was Battlefield 4. Mantle was sold as an API that would give developers low-level access to hardware, similarly to how consoles work. As we saw with the performance differences in Battlefield 4 with Mantle enabled, it really only delivered significant benefits on lower end, CPU-bound scenarios. With its latest patch, Eidos Montreal’s middling Thief becomes the second major game to support Mantle. How much difference does it make?

Once again, it entirely depends on what sort of hardware you’re packing – but it’s quickly becoming clear; Mantle is nearly worthless to Pc gaming enthusiasts. Instead, the biggest gains to be had come from the lower to middle brackets, which can see gains of up to 36%. that’s nothing to be sneezed at, especially for lower-priced PC systems – which are exactly the sort that would be competing with today’s new consoles.

Here are some graphs, courtesy of Anandtech. Here’s the system they used for the test:

  • CPU:
    Intel Core i7-4960X @ 4.2GHz
  • Motherboard:
    ASRock Fatal1ty X79 Professional
  • Power Supply:
    Corsair AX1200i
  • Hard Disk:
    Samsung SSD 840 EVO (750GB)
  • Memory:
    G.Skill RipjawZ DDR3-1866 4 x 8GB (9-10-9-26)
  • Case:
    NZXT Phantom 630 Windowed Edition
  • Monitor:
    Asus PQ321
  • Video Cards:
    AMD Radeon R9 290X
    AMD Radeon R7 260X
  • Video Drivers:
    AMD Catalyst 14.3 Beta 1
  • Headphones:
    Sennheiser PC 360
  • OS:
    Windows 8.1 Pro

They switched from using High settings, which is more GPU intensive, to using low settings, which are far more taxing on CPU. As we can see, the biggest gains came from CPU intensive tasks – while the gains on the sort of enthusiast settings, on high spec machines are negligible. 



In the end, Mantle certainly demonstrates performance gains in its intended scenarios, though how much use the API will get depends on what happens with Microsoft’s DirectX 12, which they’re debuting at GDC this week. If it also provides low level access, as rumours suggest, its familiarity amongst developers could put an end to Mantle before its even matured.

Last Updated: March 18, 2014


  1. TiMsTeR

    March 18, 2014 at 13:06

    Does this all really matter, when its used in a game that isnt very good…


    • Admiral Chief of comments

      March 18, 2014 at 13:09

      Yes it really does matter, will be great for gaming


    • Sir Rants A Lot Llew. Jelly!!!

      March 19, 2014 at 08:37

      For the core experience of said bad game? No. But benefit to gaming in general. Yes.


  2. InsanityFlea

    March 18, 2014 at 13:15

    What you need to test is the I3 vs the 7850K APU. That’s where mantle shines. Higher hardware specs as listed in the article, wont see much more gains.

    Just remember though, games like BF4 & Thief only use Mantle ‘wrappers’ which convert D3D calls to mantle.

    Full mantle support at an engine level is only available in Oxide’s engine at present. (star swarm on Steam)

    I ran the test on a I7 4770K with a R9 290 and with D3D got 24fps, with Mantle it ran at 62fps.


    • Admiral Chief of comments

      March 18, 2014 at 13:19

      Those are impressive figures dude, more than double!


      • InsanityFlea

        March 18, 2014 at 13:21

        I lied! those figures were from memory, I’ve dug up the spreadsheet I use (edited main post)


        • Admiral Chief of comments

          March 18, 2014 at 13:34

          Still almost double


    • Sir Rants A Lot Llew. Jelly!!!

      March 19, 2014 at 08:34

      Very impressive and this is what is so important and what people miss. They see games now with minimal increases and they all jump to the thing of “Meh”

      But what they fail to grasp is that the only reason consoles survive so long and get better and better with no hardware upgrades is because of custom APU and low level access.

      That low level access along with a dedicated APU (Such as Oxide) can make a world of difference over time.

      If DX12 comes out and DX12 allows true low level access along with the current D3D APU then we should start seeing lower level hardware performing better, lasting longer and have smoother gameplay. The benefit will naturally be smaller for top range cards BUT those top range cards won’t become obsolete as quickly as they currently do because a true low level APU on PC can do the same for PC as it has done for console.

      IE: Better and better graphics on the same hardware at almost no real loss of performance.

      It’s a huge stepping stone for the PC world.


  3. Andre Gabriel Coetzee

    March 18, 2014 at 13:23

    I can`t wait to get home and test out Mantle on my rig. My system is more mid-range, i5-4670K (stock speed atm) and a Powercolor AX7850 PCS+ (OC : Core @ 1150mhz and Memory @ 1350mhz). I haven`t really seen any mid-range benchmarks with Mantle, I`m sure I`ll at least see some improvements and advantages by using Mantle, maybe not right away, but when everything is properly optimized for my GPU.


  4. FoxOneZA

    March 18, 2014 at 13:36

    More smoke and mirrors from AMD. They should just stick to making awesome GPU’s and dump Mantle and that APU crap.


    • InsanityFlea

      March 18, 2014 at 13:41

      You sir, are delusional. I’ve seen the benefits with my own testing on my own systems.


  5. Rags

    March 18, 2014 at 14:00

    Would be nice for some image quality comparison too. The early BF4 screenshots, mantle looked slightly lower in quality which could inflate framerate?


  6. Devourer of Small Bunnies

    March 18, 2014 at 15:13

    Gains are only off of low end systems. I dont see the logic behind this. If its a marketing strat, then youre trying to get the low end gamers? But, as AMD, dont you already cater to that market? ISNT IT THE BASIS OF YOUR ENTIRE COMPANY?? Mantle is so bloody pointless, I dont get the point of it. It escapes any kind of pragmatism or logic I can apply. Its an awful amount of work to achieve what? A few frames on low end machines? Nee man fok. Thats like changing tires on a 1.0l car hoping itll go faster.


    • Sir Rants A Lot Llew. Jelly!!!

      March 19, 2014 at 08:28

      The thing is because it allows low level access it allows devs to squeeze out more from hardware without the hardware needing to be upgraded.

      Right now the differance is small, but as with consoles, as devs get used to using this low level access on PC, they will start to be able to do more with it and so older hardware may just get a longer lifespan on PC.

      Consoles get better with time mostly because devs learn to use that low level access along with the console API’s to squeeze more out of hardware that doesn’t change.

      The same could now potentially happen with PC’s once devs start learning the ropes.

      Mantle itself may not take off if DirectX12 also gives proper low level access to hardware because devs are already used to it. But it has presented a large milestone in PC development. What was previously only available on console is now on PC and that means that upgrade periods will have longer intervals.

      It’s more of a long term benefit thing than an instant gratification thing here.


    • Andre Gabriel Coetzee

      March 19, 2014 at 08:41

      Also, what “InsanityFlea” pointed out is when an engine is built from scratch with Mantle in mind (Like the star swarm demo – Nitrous Engine), the difference is immense. Almost double the FPS to what directx can produce. That is on an i7-4770K, certainly not low-end. Mantle is a big deal and we`ll get more juice without upgrading, once they can perfect it. Also, do yourself a favor and look at the benchmarks so far. What you`re saying is true, most of AMD`s cpu`s are certainly low-end, mid-range at best, but that`s also why this is such a good idea. Mantle eliminates CPU overhead, the benchmarks show AMD`s cheap quad-core processors competing alongside i7`s now for the first time when using Mantle.


  7. HugoO

    March 18, 2014 at 23:05

    I wonder how many recognized Reggie Mantle? The rich snob from Riverdale…


    • Sir Rants A Lot Llew. Jelly!!!

      March 19, 2014 at 08:22

      Yep. Got it 🙂


  8. Alan Jones

    March 24, 2014 at 17:35

    I have a real problem how the performance improvement for mantel are presented, they normally just show the average frame rate for D3D and mantel. I believe from personal experience with mantel, namely thief. That even on high end systems you can gain a lot with mantel. The following a results I got from running the thief benchmark test, for both D3D and mantel:

    Min FPS: 21.6
    Max FPS: 61.6
    Avg FPS: 36.8

    Min FPS: 41.3
    Max FPS: 73.2
    Avg FPS: 56.7

    PC specs:
    CPU: AMD FX-8350 (4 GHz)
    GPU: PowerColor R9 290 (1040 MHz)
    RAM: 8 Gig Corsair XMS3

    As you can see I have a reasonably high end PC, and I am getting a almost doubling of my Min FPS and 20 FPS increase to average FPS.

    People need a clear understanding of what CPU limited means in terms of games, notably instantaneous CPU limited and overall CPU limited.
    Instantaneous CPU limited this is when the CPU full utilized for a second are so and has to delay some process from starting. This happens in all CPUs no matter how fast they are, the effect is less in high end CPU but it is still there.
    Overall CPU limited is when the CPU is not fast enough all the time.
    What Mantel does is reduce the load on the CPU so that the effects of instantaneous CPU limited become less of a problem to the performance of the game in question.

    These are the type of results we are getting with beta drivers and first use games just think what it will be like in a few months to a year of continuance work, from game developers and AMD.


  9. adamochi

    May 3, 2014 at 07:50

    Using a 4960x ffs, how many gamers spend 1200 on a cpu? This review is stupid. You don’t have a clue.
    Try using an amd 6 or 8 core CPU. You will see the benefit of mantle.


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