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]