AMD has been busy today at the GPU14 Tech Day event in Hawaii, and besides launching five new Radeon R7 and R9 video cards, they are also announcing for the very first time a new development model called 'Mantle'. AMD has been working closely with leading game developers like EA/DICE to create an API specification and the associated graphics driver to bring up to 9X more draw calls per second than other APIs by reducing CPU overhead. Mantle works on PCs with GCN-based graphics hardware.
One of the first game titles to take advantage of this new API will be DICE's "Battlefield 4", which will be have the ability to speak the native language of the Graphics Core Next architecture, presenting a deeper level of hardware optimization no other graphics card manufacturer can match. This is also true for other game titles that use the API, so AMD could be getting a performance boost on many game titles that were designed for consoles. Mantle also assists game developers in bringing games to life on multiple platforms by leveraging the commonalities between GCN-powered PCs and consoles for a simple game development process.
Battlefield 4 will be the first game title that supports Mantle, but it won't be in the initial release that happens on October 29th. EA/DICE will release a Battlefield 4 game update in December 2013 for Mantle and users should see a performance benefit due to the optimizations made to the rendering pipeline in the Frostbite game engine.
According to AMD/EA, Mantle will be replacing DirectX 11 and since it is designed to work with the low-level hardware, it will improve pretty much all aspects of the title. From what we gather, the Mantle API is also open, so theoretically NVIDIA could use the technology in their GPUs if they wanted to do so.
Mantle appears that it would make cross-development between PC and console games much easier, and there appears to be a performance benefit to those running AMD Radeon graphics!
AMD will release more details about Mantle at the AMD Developer Summit in November 11-14, 2013 in San Jose.
Here is what AMD has to say about Mantle in their press release:
“Mantle, an AMD initiative to create a new graphics programming model that fully exploits the capabilities of modern GPUs, allows game developers to speak the native language of the AMD Graphics Core Next (GCN) architecture, providing a deeper level of hardware optimization no other graphics card manufacturer can match. As part of this initiative, we have worked with leading game developers to create an API specification and associated graphics driver that enables this model on PCs with GCN-based graphics hardware. Mantle was created in direct response to requests from leading game developers, so interest is very high.”