Last week, NVIDIA made it clear that it’s not interested in what AMD is doing with Mantle — the GPU maker is more than happy with the improvements the next version of Direct3D will bring, with the performance tweaks in particular similar to those Mantle offers. It’s only fair AMD has a chance to defend itself and its fledgling graphics API, which is precisely what it’s done in this 21-minute, talking head-heavy video.
In the clip, Dave Nalasco, technical manager for AMD, does his best to outline what Mantle offers over Direct3D 12. Honestly, he doesn’t do the best job, with his angle being that AMD’s option has a “slightly different audience” and while Microsoft is focusing on broad compatibility, AMD is all about performance. DSO Gaming’s John Papadopoulos scavenged the following quotes from the talk:
So DX12 is a major update and one of the interesting things about DX12, based on the information that Microsoft has provided so far, is that a lot of the goals they have for are clearly very similar to what we’re doing with Mantle … Mantle is all about trying to give tools to developers who want to extract more performance out of a game at any given situation, whereas DirectX is primarily about getting a broad set of compatibility so you can run your code once for DirectX and have it run on all of the different PC hardware that is out there.
Nalasco concludes with the belief that “a lot” of developers will “definitely” implement Mantle and Direct3D, though AMD is committed to supporting both APIs regardless of uptake.
The main advantage AMD has with Mantle over Microsoft is that the former’s API is available now and it’s only going to be more refined and battle-tested by the time D3D 12 games start landing at the end of next year.
Sure, Microsoft can guarantee a crapload of exposure for its tech before it officially lands, but by then Mantle will potentially be available in any number of games — and compatible with non-AMD GPUs, in the unlikely, though possible event NVIDIA changes its stance towards the API.
Everyone is also quick to forget Intel, which has the lion’s share of the PC graphics market by a fair margin, thanks to its fast-improving integrated hardware. Though last we heard the company received a lukewarm response from AMD when it asked about Mantle and Intel’s priority will always be compatibility over performance.
There’s no question Intel will support Direct3D 12, but AMD would be wise to get the silicon giant on-board, despite what’s happening in the CPU space.