AMD's Mantle API not compatible with the Xbox One

By on October 14, 2013, 8:48 PM
microsoft, amd, xbox, directx, api, direct3d, xbox one, mantle, mantle api

AMD captivated PC gamers around the world last month with the announcement of Mantle, a brand new API designed to fully unlock the graphics potential of their Graphics Core Next (GCN) architecture. Many people assumed that, aside from optimizing the performance of PC games on AMD hardware through low-level 'metal' GPU access, Mantle would allow game developers an easy way to co-develop for PC and next-gen consoles.

However this isn't quite the case as it turns out. Microsoft confirmed through a blog post that Mantle is not compatible with the Xbox One, despite the similar graphics architecture found in its custom-built AMD Jaguar APU. Instead, the console solely relies on Direct3D 11.x - not too surprising considering it's a Microsoft-developed API - with specific enhancements designed for "close to metal" performance on the system.

While not confirmed, it's also likely Mantle is not compatible with the PlayStation 4. AMD's Ritchie Corpus, director of ISV relations, told TechSpot at the GPU14 Tech Day event that "the current Mantle as we launched it was entirely developed on PC", and although he didn't confirm whether a version or subset of Mantle was implemented on consoles, it appears the API is specific to PC.

The lack of Mantle in the Xbox One (and potentially the PS4) won't have a huge affect on PC gaming as it will still be available for game developers who want to implement it; EA DICE is one such studio, who are integrating it into Battlefield 4 and the Frostbite engine. However it might affect the uptake of the API, as it won't be as familiar with console developers as many gamers assumed it would be.

Corpus still believes the familiarity between console and PC architecture in the upcoming generation will mean fewer horrible PC ports and easier development of PC titles. How Mantle fits into the puzzle is still unknown, with games using the API yet to be released.




User Comments: 18

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RzmmDX said:

Oh hey, here I was thinking that AMD might be making some head way with the consoles.

NOPE.

Mikymjr Mikymjr said:

Somehow seeing as to how big they like to talk about their upcoming products (but clearly are underwhelming), I saw this coming -_-'. So sad that they pump all of their money into marketing that actually back-fires in the end

Vrmithrax Vrmithrax, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Hard to blame AMD for this... You know darn well that Microsoft did everything they could to mandate DirectX as the backbone for the XboxOne graphics - MS would be stupid not to push their own proprietary API (which coincidentally also pushes their PC interests as well). Mantle being incompatible is most likely the result of a corporate power play. How it all plays out with the PS4 remains to be seen.

1 person liked this | misor misor said:

Works will ALL graphics core next GPUs

... maybe amd's announcements are more of hot air than actual substance.

1 person liked this | cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

... maybe amd's announcements are more of hot air than actual substance.
That must be why they are considered the red team! LOL

NeurotechHD NeurotechHD said:

Well, kinda funny AMD didn't tell us this. How convenient.

TekGun TekGun said:

Well, kinda funny AMD didn't tell us this. How convenient.

Did not tell us what? that MS would not want to use Mantle instead of DirectX, they probably thought it would be obvious.

It's Microsoft that won't allow Mantle to be used on the xbox not AMD.

1 person liked this | dividebyzero dividebyzero, trainee n00b, said:

Hard to blame AMD for this...

Mantle was never intended for the Xbone or PS4, so it's pretty hard to get worked up about this supposed revelation.

You know darn well that Microsoft did everything they could to mandate DirectX as the backbone for the XboxOne graphics

Yup. DirectX is just a facet. Remember that D3D includes dependencies with DirectCompute, DirectXMath, XACT, D2D, and a raft of additional extensions

- MS would be stupid not to push their own proprietary API (which coincidentally also pushes their PC interests as well). Mantle being incompatible is most likely the result of a corporate power play

Quite simply, MS wouldn't have AMD hardware if it was tied to AMD software.

You might also consider that Mantle wont work with 99% of PC graphics. Intel IGP? Nvidia? AMD's own VLIW5 and VLIW4? No, No, and No. The exact reason why Mantle is a low-level API - it only deals with one particular architecture, and that won't change unless AMD change their stance on Mantle being proprietary to AMD...and if Intel and Nvidia are excluded then DirectX remains...and if DirectX remains then game devs have to include DX/OGL as well as Mantle....so a little extra work. I'm pretty sure that the devs wont be absorbing that cost- unless AMD are footing that particular bill.

Mantle is more a marketing tool..."OMFGWTF, look how much more frames per second the R9-290X gets in BF4!". Book it.

How it all plays out with the PS4 remains to be seen.

Not really. Sony already have two low-level API's and a wrapper. The chances that Sony would be happy to have AMD control application programming as well as hardware fit-out would be as miniscule as Microsoft relinquishing control.

Eddo22 said:

AMD Explains Why Mantle Doesn't Work on Xbox One -

[link]

GhostRyder GhostRyder said:

I think a lot of people were forgetting one thing, Microsoft is really pushing Direct X 11.2 and windows 8 with 11.2. Allowing the AMD Mantle on board the Xbox ONE would have been basically allowing competition on their own console for programming. Either way, mantle is going to be cool, but its not going to be an all knowing power that's going to define the next generation. Its mostly going to be for marketing, Devs who are for AMD will of course work with it, and a way to gain a little bonus FPS.

Microsoft allowing this would have been basically lowering the chance of developers using Direct X 11.2 and using another software which is exclusive for Windows 8 and Xbox 1 essentially pushing the point of all that off a cliff.

Dukenukemx Dukenukemx said:

I didn't expect Sony and Microsoft to like Mantle, since it basically opens the door for developers to make better console -> PC ports. So I'm not surprised that Sony and Microsoft suddenly denounce Mantle. It's not like they have to use Mantle.

I can see AMD making their own developers kit for both Sony and Microsoft that uses Mantle. Which is probably more of what developers want anyway, as opposed to custom DX11.x and whatever Sony has.

Sniped_Ash said:

"AMD captivated PC gamers around the world last month with the announcement of Mantle, a brand new API designed to fully unlock the graphics potential of their Graphics Core Next (GCN) architecture."

Captivated? Really?

JC713 JC713 said:

I think a lot of people were forgetting one thing, Microsoft is really pushing Direct X 11.2 and windows 8 with 11.2. Allowing the AMD Mantle on board the Xbox ONE would have been basically allowing competition on their own console for programming. Either way, mantle is going to be cool, but its not going to be an all knowing power that's going to define the next generation. Its mostly going to be for marketing, Devs who are for AMD will of course work with it, and a way to gain a little bonus FPS.

Microsoft allowing this would have been basically lowering the chance of developers using Direct X 11.2 and using another software which is exclusive for Windows 8 and Xbox 1 essentially pushing the point of all that off a cliff.

Yeah, I agree. But 11.1 and 11.2 are nothing to brag about. Mantle is nothing until we see it applied.

1 person liked this | technogiant said:

Just think everyone is missing the point here....no matter that Xbone and PS4 at higher level support D3D and Open GL respectively....that's not the issue....at a lower level they both have code which is compatible with the GCN architecture and as they have similar hardware that code will be quite similar.

Mantle is only for the PC but talks a similar language to both these lower level codes and can use many of the optimizations found on consoles and makes porting easier.

In addition to Mantle talking to this lower level code it also has the ability to talk directly to the OS...be that windows, linux or SteamOS....so circumventing the need for D3D or OpenGL and the extra layers involved.

There is NO NEED for the consoles to support Mantle it is a PC thing......Mantle has been designed to talk to the lower level language that the consoles MUST use by virtue of their hardware specifications and then translate that directly to the OS regardless of its flavor.

So the consoles are not needed to support Mantle....they do so by default due to the nature of their hardware and low level code. The only support that is needed is that of the developers porting to Mantle on the pc.

When the developers learn that Mantle offers an easy means of porting to the pc with optimizations already in the most part done then we will see a large up take of this.

As this converts into better performance on AMD pc hardware then we will see a swing from Nvidia in terms of pc gamer hardware and further pressure on developers to support Mantle.

With the consoles having about a 10 year life cycle I personally see this as a landslide which will move the profile of pc hardware ownership and developer support greatly in favor of AMD.

GhostRyder GhostRyder said:

Yeah, I agree. But 11.1 and 11.2 are nothing to brag about. Mantle is nothing until we see it applied.

Never said they were, but remember this is something microsoft has been pushing around about the whole "Windows 8 and Xbox ONE are the only ones getting 11.2" is something they are proud of. Who knows if mantle or 11.2 will be good, only time will tell, but if Mantle lives up to whats being described, it could be very useful and a game changer. But until that time comes, its all talk.

Burty117 Burty117, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

All I can say is, Nvidia were stupid not to put their graphics technology into a console, even if to simply stay relevant in the news, Nvidia seem to be very quiet on this front, I'm surprised they haven't come back and said anything.

dividebyzero dividebyzero, trainee n00b, said:

All I can say is, Nvidia were stupid not to put their graphics technology into a console, even if to simply stay relevant in the news, Nvidia seem to be very quiet on this front, I'm surprised they haven't come back and said anything.

Not Nvidia's call. Microsoft, Sony, and I suppose technically, Nintendo call the shots. MS and Sony obviously wanted an APU for the console to keep costs in check (lower bill of materials), and for simplification of design. Nvidia doesn't have an x86 licence and a RISC (ARM) architecture isn't developed enough to consider.

Consoles are driven by MS and Sony, AMD merely provide the central hardware. Game coding can take advantage of similar hardware between console and PC graphics, but it will still have to develop within the existing framework. Game developers still have to code for DirectX and/or OpenGL in the games, its just that there is an option for Mantle when the console API is similar in code path and resource utilization.

AMD would have a better (read: more widespread) uptake with game developers if Mantle code was provided to Intel and Nvidia (and PowerVR for that matter) so they could develop their own wrapper for Mantle - if the overhead penalty doesn't negate the low-level API gains, but it looks like AMD want to keep it proprietary for PR (review benchmark) purposes.

Guest said:

What people don't get is that mantle is all along for the pcs, not for consoles which already have direct control over the metal, bur for obfuscated pcs... it will make pcs more like console which is a good think for people with GCN, I have HD7970 so I am lucky to see the performance increase and maybe in time some more hyper realism advancements. Look at the games that came out for ps3 in 2006 and then look at last of us, beyond... there is definitely some advancement in graphical departmens even in the same generation which comes from better understanding and utlizing the resources and even some new ways to do so. Mantle is goof for PCs no need for it on consoles.

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