Sunday, February 2, 2014

[Rant] Finally AMD Mantle performance numbers in Battlefield 4 releases


Yesterday DICE, the developer of Battlefield 4 game, released a huge patch. The game had all sorts of stability issues for many months and the patch was supposed to address all of them. I’m sure those bug fixes are important to some people, but what I was interested in was one particular addition. AMD Mantle support. I think a lot of people were worried that DICE will delay the Mantle update until the bugs were sorted out. So it was a pleasant surprise for me.

But unfortunately, the Mantle update for the game alone didn’t suffice. AMD needed to release a driver with Mantle support as well. I didn’t know that the current driver didn’t have support for Mantle yet.

The thing is, AMD had a working beta driver, but there seemed to be a problem with the installer that they had to delay the release a bit. So far the review sites have received the driver and have tested the performance boost which Mantle gives. But the general public will hopefully receive the drive soon. AMD Catalyst 14.1 Beta is what you want to get. The support will be limited to the R9 290x, 290, 260x and Kaveri APUs initially. The support for the rest of the cards will arrive later on.

Mantle surely delivers a boost, but unfortunately, if you have a fast CPU, you won’t notice a big boost. What Mantle does is, it lowers the CPU overhead in the 3D rendering software pipeline. So, faster the CPU is, less of a problem that overhead will cause.

So, how much of a boost would you see with Mantle? For the actual numbers, check out Anandtech’s article here.

But what matters the most is the following graph issued by AMD.


It makes one wonder, if Mantle was created not to give AMD graphics cards an advantage over NVidia graphics cards, but to bring AMD CPUs to up to the same level as Intel CPUs in games. The issue with AMD CPUs is that their single threaded performance sucks compared to Intel’s. But when it comes to multi threaded performance, their FX 8000 series CPUs (8320, 8350 etc) are competitive with Intel’s quad core CPUs – even the ones that support Hyper Threading. Plus, since Mantle is going to become a standard eventually – not just limited to AMD graphics cards – it is aimed at AMD CPUs rather than AMD GPUs.

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