AMD Mantle Patch for THIEF on Intel 3570K CPU

AMD_Mantle_Logo

Battlefield 4 was the first game to support Mantle, and Legit Reviews found that with just a driver update and patch by EA-DICE, Mantle did provide a significant performance increase.  Now, Square Enix has stepped up and patched Thief to support Mantle and AMD's TrueAudio.  Recently, we tested the patch on an AMD A10-5800 APU and found that it provided a performance increase, which was dependent on the quality settings.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_6uUtf-lMQQ[/youtube]

Along with Mantle, AMD's TrueAudio technology was also included in the patch, however as we previously discussed it's effect on sound, we will not be covering that again.  TrueAudio is implemented to enhance environmental sound effects.  This was done by taking a snapshot of the echo characteristics of a real-world location and importing it into software to be translated into how the sound should react within the games environments.

Let's take a look at how Mantle affects the performance of Thief on an Intel CPU.

Thief Mantle Performance on Intel 3570K CPU

Usually we would use FRAPS to test video performance, however FRAPS does not support Mantle at this time, so that makes things a little more difficult.  Thankfully Square Enix has included a benchmark with Thief.  The benchmark takes us down a street during a storm, with people and guards interacting.

To test Mantle, Thief was installed through Steam on a freshly imaged test system running Windows 8.1 Pro.  This test system included the following hardware:

Thief Mantle Graphic Settings

Enabling Mantle is done through the Thief Options menu when you start Thief.  All other settings remain the same whether you select Mantle or not.  There is no option to switch to Mantle once inside the game, however you can deselect it when you restart Thief.

Within the Thief Options, there are six preset options for the video quality, Very Low, Low, Normal, High, Very High and Custom.  We will be testing Thief using three of these, Normal, High and Very High.  The integrated benchmark will be run three times and the scores averaged.

Thief Mantle Normal Intel CPU

Using the normal graphic settings, Mantle took the average FPS from 61 to 101.4; this is a 24.87% increase in performance.

Thief Mantle High Intel CPU

Without Mantle, the average was 53.6FPS, with Mantle enabled, it increased to 81.3; a 10.26% increase. The Maximum FPS did not change from the Normal to the High graphic settings, making me question the results a little, it's as if Thief is limited to around 61FPS.

Thief Mantle Very High Intel CPU

With the settings set to Very High, the average FPS increased 4.2%.  Without Mantle the FPS was 60.5, which is a small decrease from the High settings, and again throws the results into question.

The Maximum FPS seems to be stuck around 61FPS without Mantle, if that's the case, then Mantle changes that and allows it to go higher.  According to this testing, the Average FPS increased from 4.2% to 24.87% depending on the graphic setting chosen.

Overclocking

As many of us is curious how Overclocking affects Mantle, we tossed a quick overclock on the system.  The CPU was overclocked from 3.4Ghz to 4.3Ghz, memory went from 1300Mhz to 1866Mhz, and the GPU was increased to 1250Mhz.  While these are not extreme overclocks, they are easily obtainable on the test system.

Thief Mantle Normal OC

With the system overclocked, the average FPS went from 56.7 to 79.8.  This is a 40.74% increase in FPS with some very basic overclocking.  Once again, the maximum FPS without Mantle is having problems getting over the low 60's, this certainly appears to be skewing results and is a concern.

Thief Mantle High OC

A 16.13% performance increase with Mantle when the graphic settings are set to High.  The Maximum FPS without Mantle is again in the low 60's while Mantle doesn't seem to be limited.

Thief Mantle Very High OC

A much smaller boost in performance at 6.38% still isn't bad for a free update.

Once again, without Mantle, the Maximum FPS seems to be limited to the low 60's, and will seriously mess with the results.  Looking from the base scores to overclocking, we can see that overclocking does affect Mantle, exactly how much of a boost is hard to say with the Maximum FPS being limited.

 

Final Thoughts and Conclusions

After taking a little additional time with the latest beta Catalyst drivers and the Thief patch, we tested them on an Intel based system running on a 3570K CPU.  The system was tested at base speeds and during an easy overclock.  Previous testing with Mantle showed a good boost to performance when the system was overclocked and we expected to see that here as well. 

AMD Mantle API

When we tested the patch and drivers on an AMD based APU we received a performance boost from 5.65% up to 21.26%.  On a similar configuration, running on an Intel CPU the range was 4.2% to 24.87% performance increase with Mantle enabled.  While the graphics were set to Very High, the 4.2% performance increase was small, but any boost in performance is nice when it doesn't cost anything.

Once the Intel system was overclocked, the scores changed a little, on Normal settings, the Average FPS went from 73.3 to 79.8, an 8.86% boost due to overclocking.  While not a huge amount does show overclocking does affect Mantle's performance.  A more aggressive overclock should result in a better boost.

While we can see that Mantle can affect performance, what does concern me is that the DirectX API seems to be limited to a maximum framerate of the low 60's.  On the surface that's not bad, however when consider the average FPS, that limitation could be affecting the FPS.  Perhaps those scenes could've gone a little higher and adjusted the score changing the overall difference between DirectX and Mantle.  Then again, maybe that maximum was just a few seconds and wouldn't make a big difference in the average.

Legit Bottom Line:  Nobody would turn down a double digit performance increase, especially when it comes from a free driver update and a game patch.  Thief shows that Mantle does affect performance by up to 24.87%, even doing a simple overclock can boost the performance a bit further.  We will be keeping a close eye on how Mantle plays out, and hopefully more games will implement it.