Mantle provides some gains, but it’s not the revolution as advertised.
AMD and Eidos pushed out an update for Thief Tuesday morning that gives the game support for AMD’s new Mantle API as well as its TrueAudio platform.
In order to use Mantle and True Audio, gamers will have to have a graphics card that has a compatible GCN GPU such as R9 290X, R9 290, or R7 260X along with the latest drivers. Gamers that have purchased Thief via Steam will have their copies auto-updated.
But the big question is, what sort of gains are derived from using AMD’s much-hyped API?
VR-Zone has yet to independently benchmark Thief and Mantle, but benchmarks from around the web show that Mantle is only useful for low-end machines. Gaming enthusiasts with high-end machines won’t see much of a difference.
Benchmarking done by AnandTech with a Radeon R9 290X shows that gamers with a high-end machine will see a performance bump of approximately five percent (72.7 FPS with DirectX vs. 76.3 with Mantle), while a gamer using a low-end CPU such as an i3 will see the biggest gain at approximately 36 percent (49.4 FPS vs. 73.5). When using the slower R7 260X, DirectX clocks in as being slightly faster at 31.6 FPS to Mantle’s 30.5 on high settings. On the lowest settings Mantle is slightly faster at 55.4 FPS instead of DirectX’s 44.3.
While it shows that Mantle does offer something of a performance boost, this isn’t the revolution as advertised. With Microsoft likely announcing a DirectX revolution — perhaps bringing it to the “low level” like Mantle — at the upcoming Game Developer’s Conference, AMD may be facing a very competitive market in the near future.