Latest Battlefield 4 Patch Adds Mantle, AMD's New, Faster Graphics API

Not happy with Direct3D or OpenGL, AMD decided to go and make its own rendering API called Mantle. While some developers have gotten on board, most notably EA DICE (with its Frostbite engine), it's only recently we've started to see games actually implement the technology. But Battlefield 4 — with its latest update — is the biggest title out of the blocks to adopt the supposedly performance-happy API. The first order of business? Benchmarks, obviously.

Over at BF4's Battlelog blog, Frostbite technical director Johan Andersson explains what players with AMD GPU-powered systems can expect from the new rendering path. Unfortunately, while the update itself is live, AMD needs to release a new set of drivers before the world at large will be able to experience it.

In the meantime, the Frostbite guys have made public three benchmarks, each simulating different PC setups. The first, the "low-end single-player" shows a 14 per cent improvement over Direct3D 11, the "64-player multi-player" a 25.1 per cent boost and the "multi-GPU single-player" test cranking out framerates 58 per cent faster.

A breakdown of the hardware and settings used can be found in the blog post.

Of course, percentages don't tell the whole story. For example, on the low end, the difference is 6fps on average — it's only when you get to the beastly machine used for the multi-GPU test — a Core i7-3970x Extreme with a pair of Radeon R9 290x cards — that the change is extremely noticeable: 43fps on average between Direct3D and Mantle.

In a nutshell, if you're trying to run hardware-heavy games on your insufficiently-equipped PC, Mantle is unlikely to magically make things playable. That said, it's fascinating to see a purely software solution making such an impact, even if it's only at the higher levels of detail. I'm sure as the drivers mature, Mantle is polished and developers get more used to the API, the gains will be much more impressive.

That's if the industry-at-large adopts it and more importantly, if NVIDIA wants anything to do with it.

Mantle renderer now available in Battlefield 4 [Battlefield 4 Battlelog]


Comments

    3 crashes in 4 games this far this morning.

      And a bizarre bug in TDM where sound effects don't play until you finish a round first.

    No it doesn't, because the beta drivers needed to run it are no long available!!!

    I just want my VAL which won't unlock for some reason

    Last edited 01/02/14 1:19 pm

    Went to get the drivers too but 14.1 is not there to download from AMD.

    It's all well and good that AMD can do this, but I don't think it's particularly surprising that using the AMD GPU only API would perform better than the generalised OpenGL and DirectX APIs.

    If what that did could translate into a better OpenGL or DirectX or a new API with the same compatibility as the other 2 then you've got my attention.

      It's definitely a positive performance boost, but you're right, it does so by fragmenting the market, which is exactly what DirectX and OpenGL are designed to solve. While I'm all for performance increases, the technology needs to be made an open standard, otherwise it's a step backwards for cross-hardware compatibility. People may not remember, but game development before abstraction layers like DirectX was a headache.

        Mantle is being made as an open standard. Nvidia is able to implement it as they wish. To get the most out of Mantle, however, it would be wise for Nvidia to license AMD IP/hardware.

    So is that all that was in the 1.3gb update? Sucks seeing as though I have nvidia.

      Read the patch notes..... hardly all that was in the update.

      Val is good although not as good as bf3. You pretty much have to follow around a support player too if you wanna keep ammo in the thing.

    Thought I'd give this a shot on my ps4 after yet another 900mb update. TDM had no sound effects...so no gun fire etc. Then decided to play a few different modes, movement was glitchy, framerates would drop, objects would appear from no where, worst crap ever.
    I went back to playing ground war and dominations on ghosts which is a much more polished and enjoyable experience.
    I wish dice would fix this as it could be fun.

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