In AMD’s GPU14 Tech Day event in Hawaii, the graphics card maker has revealed Mantle, a new open source development model that allows them to take full advantage of the capabilities of their Radeon cards. In separate statements, Anandtech and Digital Foundry have found that Mantle’s low level API is similar to the Xbox One and Playstation 4 APIs, respectively.
First off, Mantle is not just an API. It is a set of API specifications and GPU drivers designed to use Radeon’s low level high performance drivers. Battlefield 4 on PC is the first beneficiary of the technology, with a free update coming this December.
Essentially, Mantle is seen as a possible replacement for DirectX 11, able to make full use of AMD graphics card capabilities. However, Mantle should still be compatible with other rendering APIs. Mantle improves over other APIs with nine times more draw calls per second.
Anandtech has put forward the theory that Mantle’s low level API is actually the Xbox One API outright, and AMD just won’t admit it. Anandtech bases this speculation on their interpretation of AMD’s statements. They focus on AMD saying the card can optimize on what next generation consoles are capable of, and that it can use Direct3D’s High Level Shader Language.
On Digital Foundry’s end, they find there is a lot of commonality between Playstation 4’s GNM API and Mantle. Like GNM, Mantle stays compatible with Microsoft’s High Level Shader Language but provides low level GPU access.
If both are true, than AMD has opened up the doors for optimized graphics card utilization on both PCs and consoles. What’s more, Mantle is apparently open, so Nvidia can use it, and maybe even Nintendo, iOS and Android. AMD has partnerships with many major game engines going, so we may see the consequences of Mantle very, very soon.
Image is of the Radeon R9 290X, also unveiled in the same event.