Mantle gets a PC debut with Catalyst 14.1 beta driver and ‘Battlefield 4′
AMD”s Mantle API will soon be available for PC users, and with Battlefield 4 on Windows also getting a Mantle update, users with AMD hardware should start seeing a marked increase in performance — at least that is what AMD claims.
After lengthy delays, AMD is finally set to launch the Mantle API on the PC later today. When AMD announced Mantle late last year, it was with an intention to enable low-level access to hardware, better utilization of resources, and a “console-like” development environment — which many assumed to mean the ability to write common code for any GCN platform. Mantle was also touted as an alternative to DirectX (Direct3D) and OpenGL, two high-level APIs that can be used across a wide range of hardware.
However, while Direct3D and OpenGL enable broad access to hardware, Mantle has been tailored for AMD’s hardware. In fact, it is now being seen that Mantle will provide better performance not by tweaking the GPU, but by reducing the workload of the CPU. AMD claims that APIs like Direct3D have limitations when it comes to scaling out to CPUs with many-core configurations, and that Mantle would be ideally suited “for the majority of PC gamers that have entry-level and mid-range processors.”
Therefore, if you’re running a high-end configuration already, there isn’t much that can be gained from Mantle. AMD has released information regarding how much of a difference Mantle makes in various use cases, and based on the data, it is clear that the most amount of difference will be seen in the entry-level section.
AMD has decided to cobble a FX-8350 CPU with the high-end R9 290X to demonstrate the benefits Mantle would have. In Battlefield 4, there was a 23.8 percent increase in performance when using Mantle. EA has similarly made a chart detailing how much of a difference Mantle would make in Battlefield 4:
While these numbers do show a marked difference, these are likely controlled tests. We will be running the latest Catalyst drivers and running our own test suite to see if the gains are as huge as AMD claims.