You guys remember Mantle, right? It was AMD’s effort to inject life into what was once a languishing area of improvement: 3D graphics APIs, the software that powers modern, real-time 3D. However, it appears the company is shelving its creation a mere two years after its inception.
In his review of the RADEON R9 Fury X, Anandtech’s Ryan Smith approached AMD about the state of Mantle and received an interesting response:
The situation then is that in discussing the performance results of the R9 Fury X with Mantle, AMD has confirmed that while they are not outright dropping Mantle support, they have ceased all further Mantle optimization. Of particular note, the Mantle driver has not been optimized at all for GCN 1.2, which includes not just R9 Fury X, but R9 285, R9 380, and the Carrizo APU as well.
The article mentions that a lot of what made Mantle sing has been adopted by Vulkan, the Khronos Group’s successor (of sorts) to OpenGL and competitor to Microsoft’s DirectX 12. Smith also reports that AMD itself has “thrown all of [its] weight behind Vulkan and DirectX 12”, going so far as to dissuade studios from using Mantle over these options.
This was pretty much the only way things were going to go once Microsoft lifted the lid on DirectX 12. I doubt Redmond has been sitting on its laurels, but Mantle likely put a bit of fire under its seat.
With Vulkan inheriting the work AMD put into Mantle, there is a silver lining and the API will live on, even if its original incarnation eventually goes the way of 3dfx’s Glide.