AMD officially launches Mantle, new driver and patches available now! (updated)

By on February 3, 2014, 1:31 AM
amd, gpu, api, graphics card, driver, battlefield 4, mantle, starswarm

AMD's hotly-awaited Mantle API is finally ready for a public unveiling, with new patches and drivers enabling the low-level API going live from today. To start with, anyone wanting to utilize Mantle in a supported game must install the new Catalyst 14.1 beta drivers, which should be available soon (within the next few days) from AMD's download center.

Update #1 (Jan 31): At the last minute AMD identified an installation issue in the Catalyst 14.1 driver that renders it unsuitable for distribution. This delays the entire launch as we haven't been able to run any tests with the beta software yet and public release is also expected to be delayed by at least a few more days. As soon as we can get our hands on the proofed driver, we'll be reporting back with our own benchmarks.

Update #2 (Feb 1): AMD has just gone live with the Catalyst 14.1 Beta drivers, allowing anyone to download, install and test out Mantle on their compatible systems. Click here to pick up the latest beta drivers now, as we continue to test Mantle performance on our test benches. Here are the direct download links: AMD Catalyst Driver 14.1 Beta for Desktop or Notebooks.

Update #3 (Feb 1): We've been testing Mantle drivers with BF4 and after a very frustrating first 36 hours (we got them earlier than the public) we've decided not to pursue a formal test for now. In words of our senior hardware editor, Steve Walton: "BF4 has so many issues with Mantle it is making testing near impossible. StarSwarm seems to work okay though."

From 4 AM EST, gamers will be able to download a Mantle-enabled patch for Battlefield 4 through EA's Origin service. At this stage, Battlefield 4 is the only full game that supports Mantle, although Oxide Games Mantle-enabled 'StarSwarm' demo will be available through Steam later in the day (3 PM EST) for gamers that want to further evaluate Mantle performance on their systems. Another Mantle-enabled title, Thief, will be released in February.

In AMD's primer on Mantle, the company states that the API is "primarily designed to improve performance in scenarios where the CPU is the limiting factor". Mantle makes "less of an impact" in GPU-bound situations, although the API does have "some built-in features to improve GPU-bound performance [...] gains in these cases are largely dependent on how well Mantle features and optimizations are being utilized by the developer."

Data provided from AMD's labs backs up what the company stated. For example, AMD claims that running Battlefield 4 (Ultra settings, 4xAA at 1080p) on an AMD A10-7700K APU plus Radeon R9 290X GPU gives a 41% performance boost when Mantle is enabled. On the other hand, if an Intel Core i7-4960X is used with an R9 290X, the performance boost is only 9.2% when Mantle is enabled.

StarSwarm data shows an even bigger performance improvement when Mantle is enabled on CPU-limited systems: AMD claims a 319% performance boost when running the demo on Extreme settings at 1080p, on their A10-7700K system, after Mantle is enabled. However if you have a high-end Intel CPU and an R7 260X, performance gains are lower, at just 5.1%.

There's a couple of other things to note here. First of all, this is the initial release of Mantle, and AMD says the API will continue to evolve and improve in the months ahead. There's a strong possibility AMD and their game partners will be able to squeeze more out of the API as it improves.

Secondly, Mantle, like a number of AMD launches recently, is geared towards giving a better PC gaming experience to those on lower-end hardware. As our resident hardware reviewer Steve notes, a performance kick for those with uber fast CPUs and GPUs isn't hugely important; whereas a 40+% performance boost on slower hardware could be the difference between a playable and unplayable game.

We'll be posting a full performance breakdown of Mantle in Battlefield 4 and StarSwarm (pictured below) in the coming day or two, so check back soon for more detailed results from AMD's new API.

Aside from Mantle, AMD's Catalyst 14.1 beta drivers introduce 'phase 2' frame-pacing solutions for resolutions higher than 1600p on non-XDMA hardware. This means gamers running dual-GPU HD 7000 series setups, for example, should see less tearing and stuttering when they're gaming on Eyefinity or Ultra HD displays.

Catalyst 14.1 is also the first HSA-enabled GPU driver, allowing the CPU and GPU found in AMD's latest Kaveri APUs to simultaneously access the same memory. At this stage only some applications, such as Libre Office and Corel AfterShot Pro, are supported, but AMD assures us that many more will be supported soon.




User Comments: 76

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GhostRyder GhostRyder said:

About time, I was wondering when this was going to happen.

1 person liked this | St1ckM4n St1ckM4n said:

So core i3 with AMD GPU may be the future sweet spot for a gaming rig, if playing Mantle games.

4 people like this | cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

So AMD couldn't compete with Intel in the CPU arena, and now they are intentionally engineering games to be less dependent on the CPU. Talk about an extremely hilarious fix for their inadequacies.

TEH88 TEH88 said:

SHOON....(eyes twinkling)

hahahanoobs hahahanoobs said:

I"m interested in seeing tests done with various CPU and dGPU configurations.

Update: Battlefield.blog says 58% improvement with high end hardware... who to believe!

[link]

Arris Arris said:

"On the other hand, if an Intel Core i7-4960X is used with an R9 290X, the performance boost is only 9.2% when Mantle is enabled."

Wonder what I can expect with 2600K and crossfire 7970s. 'Only' 9% would still be a substantial gain and put me closer to being able to vsync with 96Hz. Can't wait to try Mantle enabled BF4.

V3A3X V3A3X said:

You can polish a turd, and it will still be a turd, may be shiny, but definitely no more than a turd

2 people like this | cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I would have never guessed that was a turd in your avatar.

1 person liked this |
Staff
Steve Steve said:

I would have never guessed that was a turd in your avatar.

Maybe its just well polished.

Never fear guys once AMD get us a working driver we will get some testing done!

Guest said:

The ONLY people with the best CPUs are the people with a new top of the line CPU. Not everyone has a new CPU and not everyone purchases the top of the line CPU. As a result there are many people that will benefit from this. I'm glad you can upgrade to the top of the line CPU ever time they are released. As for me, I keep my systems a lot longer than that.

ghasmanjr ghasmanjr said:

This is awesome. Even with "only" a boost of 9%, I will finally never drop below 60 fps on Battlefield 4 on the largest maps like Paracel Storm. I get about 70-75 fps on Locker, but that is indoors, dark, and dreery.. Paracel Storm is beautiful and well done but I can imagine that it is slowly killing my gpus seeing that they only get 58 fps average.

Guest said:

So AMD couldn't compete with Intel in the CPU arena, and now they are intentionally engineering games to be less dependent on the CPU. Talk about an extremely hilarious fix for their inadequacies.

Just what I was thinking, it's quite disappointing AMD just can't compete with Intel on CPU power.

3 people like this | fimbles fimbles said:

So AMD couldn't compete with Intel in the CPU arena, and now they are intentionally engineering games to be less dependent on the CPU. Talk about an extremely hilarious fix for their inadequacies.

If you cant beat them, Make their product irrelevant.

Guest said:

Every time I fire up BF4, there are "gigs" of updates..... Today, was no different... 1.3GB update.. I say there are other sections in this update aside from a MANTLE patch...atleast I hope so. To need a 1.3GB update just use MANTLE is a lil' rediculous. On the flip side.. the new 14.1 is not available on AMD Yet as of 10:30am EST. BUT>..... I have been using the "Kaveri" driver, or the 13.30 driver and have noticed a huge difference in Crossfire and FPS in games over all. As well as going from CrossFire to single card, with Non-Kaveri drivers was giving me fits... It had a mind of its own whether it wanted to switch from 2 to 1 card, or vice versa. I have a higher end system, but I Tell ya I hope the new drivers work out. I'm <-> this close to switching to Nvidia cards.

OliTheG OliTheG said:

"only 10% improvement on an R9-290X"

Do you not realise that that is basically 1, if not 2, generations of graphical power ahead in that case, as the R9-290 is not even 10% more powerful than the 7970 without mantle.

But no, keep sucking on NVidia, and their inflated prices.

Guest said:

Wow, it's amazing how some of you naysayers are just plain ****** and I bet don't even understand how Mantle works. All Mantle does at this point is remove the CPU overhead that exists in DirectX and OpenGL, and perhaps slightly improves GPU performance.

This is excellent news for people with low end CPUs and decent GPUs because now they'll see a drastic improvement in FPS. Not only that, but this API also improves your minimum FPS, if you take a closer look at the results in this article...

[link]

You'll see that the framerate is also much smoother, so it pretty much eliminates the large frame dips you usually see in games. I think AMD has a winner here.

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

So AMD couldn't compete with Intel in the CPU arena, and now they are intentionally engineering games to be less dependent on the CPU. Talk about an extremely hilarious fix for their inadequacies.

I guess I see it a little differently. AMD's APUs already excel in media and graphics over Intel's IGP solutions. This is a case of AMD leveraging the actual GPU side of their business, and coming up with solutions that leverage the power in GPUs towards taking the load of CPUs. In other words, AMD is coming up with clever technological ways to compete and be relevant. Doesn't seem like an effort that deserves nothing but derision and condescension. At least they are trying.

GhostRyder GhostRyder said:

I think there is come mis-communication with what Mantle works with and how much of a performance improvement there is and with what hardware makes these improvements. Mantle makes use of 8 CPU cores and takes some of the weight off the CPU and puts it towards the GPU giving it some nice improvements. It makes use of multi-threading on the CPU to give some nice performance improvements across the board which will make having the 8 Core FX chip. Im curious what this will overall do for me, ill have to give it a try when 14.1 is available on my system.

1 person liked this | Guest said:

So many neg comments for an improvement.

1 person liked this | Gary S Gary S said:

So AMD couldn't compete with Intel in the CPU arena, and now they are intentionally engineering games to be less dependent on the CPU. Talk about an extremely hilarious fix for their inadequacies.

How is AMD supposed to compete with Intel when Intel has an R&D department that employees almost the same amount of people as AMD does company wide?

1 person liked this | ghasmanjr ghasmanjr said:

How is AMD supposed to compete with Intel when Intel has an R&D department that employees almost the same amount of people as AMD does company wide?

They compete by releasing ultra high end cards this year that are priced similarly to Nvidia's cards. The R9 series is a huge bang for their buck. I'm glad they stopped trying to match Intel cpu-wise. They focused on their gpu and made huge advancements this year.

Guest said:

CPUs are history. The new generation of processors are going to combine the CPU/GPU into a single completely hybrid processing unit, with the cpu cores and gpu cores actively getting scheduled for performing serial, vector, and/or scalar computations in parallel.

In the old CPU model, all the graphics and programming have to be scheduled by the GPU, which means a slower CPU, then a smaller performance of the system.

In any new hybrid processor architecture, the CPU cores runs at maximum speed and the GPU cores run at maximum speed without having to wait for each other. The latter means a new way to write software, which is not CPU centric.

This is the first HSA/hUMA hybrid chip from AMD. This architecture has a hugemongous capability to improve the performance by a magnitude of times in many areas.

Intel does not own high-end GPU technology and only has smaller performance GPUs, so it cannot even use integrated and discrete GPUs to significantly scale the performance.

All new generation of processors, new generation of high-performance software, and high performance graphics will use the HSA/hUMA programming models, AMD, Samsung, Texas Instruments, etc. will all be using this scalable programmable software and all software using it will scale in performance significantly.

If you understand CPU/GPU/APU technology, you will know that what we are looking at here is the first light on a new way to write scalable software and a new way to extract/scale all the CPU/GPU core performance from a chip, by getting rid of all the old CPU based performance bottlenecks..

This is history in the making, and in a couple of years, CPUs will look like dinosaurs..

Guest said:

Correcting mistake in:

"In the old CPU model processing system, all the graphics and programming have to be scheduled by/through the CPU, which means a slower overall GPU and CPU performance, which causes a loss in overall processing performance."

CPUs are history. The new generation of processors are going to combine the CPU/GPU into a single completely hybrid processing unit, with the cpu cores and gpu cores actively getting scheduled for performing serial, vector, and/or scalar computations in parallel.

In the old CPU model, all the graphics and programming have to be scheduled by the GPU, which means a slower CPU, then a smaller performance of the system.

In any new hybrid AMD processor architecture, the CPU cores runs at maximum speed and the GPU cores run at maximum speed without having to wait for each other, sharing the same memory, paging, virtual process space, locking, etc. The latter means a new way to write higher performance software, which is not CPU centric.

This is the first HSA/hUMA hybrid chip from AMD. This architecture has a hugemongous capability to improve the performance by a magnitude of times in many areas.

Intel does not own high-end GPU technology and only has smaller performance GPUs, so it cannot even use integrated and discrete GPUs to significantly scale the performance.

All new generation of processors, new generation of high-performance software, and high performance graphics will use the HSA/hUMA programming models, AMD, Samsung, Texas Instruments, etc. will all be using this scalable programmable software and all software using it will scale in performance significantly.

If you understand CPU/GPU/APU technology, you will know that what we are looking at here is the first light on a new way to write scalable software and a new way to extract/scale all the CPU/GPU core performance from a chip, by getting rid of all the old CPU based performance bottlenecks..

This is history in the making, and in a couple of years, CPUs will look like dinosaurs..

John Pombrio John Pombrio said:

The hard part is that Mantle requires pretty new AMD CPU/APU's and CGN graphics cards in order to work. That will NOT help the folks who have older systems that could really use the bump in frame rates.

veLa veLa said:

So AMD couldn't compete with Intel in the CPU arena, and now they are intentionally engineering games to be less dependent on the CPU. Talk about an extremely hilarious fix for their inadequacies.

While you are right in some regards, you do realize the AMD processor they used is a low end product right? If they would've used an FX-8320 or above the difference would've been much less significant.

Guest said:

The hard part is that Mantle requires pretty new AMD CPU/APU's and CGN graphics cards in order to work. That will NOT help the folks who have older systems that could really use the bump in frame rates.

Nope, it only requires a GPU with GCN architecture. The reason APUs are listed because the new Kaveri chips have GCN for their GPU component, has nothing to do with AMD CPUs. This will in fact, help folks with older systems because all they have to do is buy an AMD card that belong to the HD7000 and R7/R9 series and they're good to go with Mantle.

Guest said:

Mantle is designed by and built for game developers so that they can bypass the software layers within a PC and run code directly on the system hardware. That way, they can get rid of bottlenecks and make games run much faster.

So if the game crashes my whole computer crashed? F that

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

So if the game crashes my whole computer crashed? F that
That is the case regardless, if it causes a BSOD or system freeze.

Guest said:

Games can crash without bluescreen but with mantle will it fail harder?

Lionvibez said:

"only 10% improvement on an R9-290X"

Do you not realise that that is basically 1, if not 2, generations of graphical power ahead in that case, as the R9-290 is not even 10% more powerful than the 7970 without mantle.

But no, keep sucking on NVidia, and their inflated prices.

Huh?

[link]

Guest said:

CPU overhead? I've been using a i7-2600k (not overclocked) and monitoring it's cores & it's never maxed out gaming. It's the gpu that's doing all the work. Waiting to load from a 5400rpm hdd that's slow.

Use an SSD (better still, get 2 & stripe them) & overclock your gpu for better performance...

Guest said:

"Mantle is designed by and built for game developers so that they can bypass the software layers within a PC and run code directly on the system hardware. That way, they can get rid of bottlenecks and make games run much faster."

Umm, that sounds like coding in assebly language to talk directly to hardware like we did 30 YEARS ago from dos. Things will be more buggy I'd think & yeah, if it crashes then it sounds like you'd need to re-power on...

Puiu Puiu said:

CPU overhead? I've been using a i7-2600k (not overclocked) and monitoring it's cores & it's never maxed out gaming. It's the gpu that's doing all the work. Waiting to load from a 5400rpm hdd that's slow.

Use an SSD (better still, get 2 & stripe them) & overclock your gpu for better performance...

what about those who don't have an expensive CPU? also I bet I can max your CPU in planetside 2 and eve online :p

Also, just in case you don't know, the CPU stays idle for long times because of directx. watch the 44 minute video from OXIDE that explain really well why your CPU is not maxed.

on a side note: I don't understand why do people hate the idea of a free performance boost, it's just retarded.

7 people like this | Vrmithrax Vrmithrax, TechSpot Paladin, said:

on a side note: I don't understand why do people hate the idea of a free performance boost, it's just retarded.

Welcome to the internet. For any tech topic, there is usually a substantial population of argumentative people that fall into at least 1 of 3 categories (sometimes all 3).

Category 1: Not feeling fulfilled unless they are arguing and complaining, hoping to share their misery with the rest of the world.

Category 2: Loves the sound of their own voice, and will spout off on a subject like they are an expert, even though they have no idea what they are talking about, and probably are just copy/pasting from wiki or relaying anecdotal evidence.

Category 3: Fanboy/Fangirl who can't stand their favorite product/brand's competition to have any positive news or traction at all, and so they must immediately attack - even if the attack is unwarranted and/or makes no sense.

2 people like this | Puiu Puiu said:

"Mantle is designed by and built for game developers so that they can bypass the software layers within a PC and run code directly on the system hardware. That way, they can get rid of bottlenecks and make games run much faster."

Umm, that sounds like coding in assebly language to talk directly to hardware like we did 30 YEARS ago from dos. Things will be more buggy I'd think & yeah, if it crashes then it sounds like you'd need to re-power on...

This indeed makes the game code a bit more buggy if it's not developed well, but seeing the current state of the AAA games I don't think it can get any worse. The PC restart on every bug era has kinda ended, not that big of an issue unless it's a driver issue. It's an API not a driver.

It's not as close to the metal as assembly. They just removed many of the limitations Direct3D had (like the limits on working threads and CPU idle time while GPU threads work) and gave developers control over the aspects that direct3D did automatically (and most of the time very slow because of checks upon checks - this is because of legacy code in DirectX).

2 people like this | cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Welcome to the internet. For any tech topic, there is usually a substantial population of argumentative people that fall into at least 1 of 3 categories (sometimes all 3).

  • I do try not to fall under Category 3. If I have a hatred for one, I try not to praise the other.
  • And although I don't like the sound of my voice, I can't object to being put in Category 2.
  • As much as I might object to being placed in Category 1, I can't deny the Category as my usual home.
  • I can't help but feel there is another category, based on factual experience posted for the sole purpose of helping others.
2 people like this | dividebyzero dividebyzero, trainee n00b, said:

  • I do try not to fall under Category 3. If I have a hatred for one, I try not to praise the other.
  • And although I don't like the sound of my voice, I can't object to being put in Category 2.
  • As much as I might object to being placed in Category 1, I can't deny the Category as my usual home.
  • I can't help but feel there is another category, based on factual experience posted for the sole purpose of helping others.

Probably more than one more category. Conspiracy theorists...people who gravitate to one company because they see it as the lesser of two-or more, evils (generally misguided since there are no philanthropic corporations)....corporate reps/shills/focus groups/guerrilla marketers...people who shy away from a brand because they have no faith in the companies management and/or strategic plans (my personal bugbear), and of course, as you've outlined - the end user experience of the brand ecosystem, both collective and singular.

Vrmithrax Vrmithrax, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Ooh, good call, @dividedbyzero... I totally forgot about the Conspiracy Theorist category... That might be a subset of Category 2... And reps/shills could easily fall into a subset of Category 3...

And you are right, @cliffordcooley. I generally count your last category as some of the few actually relevant and helpful individuals, who know what they are talking about, and have valid reasons for their stance. I don't lump them into the "argumentative just to be argumentative" pile with the other categories. If people are willing to actually listen to that dissenting opinion, it's usually an excellent source of "buyer beware" advanced warning. I think the problem is, the real deals are washed out by the other white noise categories of dissenters, to the point that it gets hard to tell who's who.

But those of us that pay attention, listen without already having our minds firmly locked on a choice, and notice how often someone is accurate, tend to have better luck sorting the wheat from the chaff, as the saying goes.

JC713 JC713 said:

I really hope this increases performance of non-GCN GPUs also like AMD said a few weeks back. The GPU support is so minimal currently, I am beginning to doubt whether non-GCN GPUs will receive benefits (not as large as GCN, but still something).

Jack Reacher said:

Problems with an AMD graphics driver? I'm absolutely shocked!

At least now you guys know what all the rest of the AMD graphic card owners go through on a daily basis.

arranmc182 arranmc182 said:

So core i3 with AMD GPU may be the future sweet spot for a gaming rig, if playing Mantle games.

I would say the i3 is still on the low side as its only dual core something like the i5 or FX 63XX will be the sweet spot.

Puiu Puiu said:

It seems like some reviewers got the new drivers early and they will publish it to the public soon. I think by Monday they should be ready if no other bugs are found ^_^

dividebyzero dividebyzero, trainee n00b, said:

It seems like some reviewers got the new drivers early and they will publish it to the public soon. I think by Monday they should be ready if no other bugs are found ^_^

Looks like a mixed bag, albeit promising once the bugs are ironed out ( stuttering and system instability w/CrossfireX !? ). Nice gains with APU + 290X, although I'm not entirely sure how realistic that component fit-out is in reality- maybe an APU+ 280/7970 might be a more common configuration.

[link] . Interesting how CPU bound the GTX 780 is in BF4 MP judging by the stock vs overclocked 4770K result here...pity Mantle won't be offered to Nvidia...predicting an Nvidia close-to-metal API or inclusion of Driver Command Line coding in 3....2....1..

Guest said:

1) what does it look like

2) does it do much for quality cpu's?

Dx 9 gives amazing frame rates next to 11,

and cheap cpu's will balk at big games anyway.

Guest said:

Battlefield! Battlefield! Battlefield! SQUAARK! BATTLEFIELD!

A game for the sort of ***** who spends £30 on a mouse.

GhostRyder GhostRyder said:

Ive tried the BF4 Beta Driver with Mantle Enabled on 14.1 with my system (I have tried it now for about an hour). With an FX 9590 and 3 R9 290X's in Eyefinity at 5760 does show some performance improvements for me im not sure on the exact numbers maybe ill do some recording to see. But so far on Parcel storm and some Siege of Shanghai (Ive only gotten 2 matches of conquest in) I can safely say that ive noticed the FPS staying higher on some intensive activities with no real dipping anymore. I don't know for sure how good they are in all honesty because I normally don't watch an FPS counter, but im happy with it so far (I have not had any "stuttering" or "Stability issues" yet, but maybe im just lucky).

Don't know, but im happy with it so far.

TS-56336 TS-56336 said:

If Mantle is very similar to the PS4's API, then it will make porting from PS4 to PC much easier. I would say even if there is no performance gains it will still be worth it AS LONG AS it really is not bound to any specific hardware architecture.

1 person liked this | Arris Arris said:

Battlefield! Battlefield! Battlefield! SQUAARK! BATTLEFIELD!

A game for the sort of ***** who spends £30 on a mouse.

Urm, ok guest. THanks for that constructive input.

Now, off to test BF4 with crossfired cards and 14.1. I have a feeling fun may not be had.

Arris Arris said:

"Intermittent stuttering or stability issues may occur when utilizing Mantle with AMD CrossFire? technology in BattleField 4? - AMD recommends using the DirectX code path when playing Battlefield 4 with multiple GPUs. A future AMD Catalyst release will resolve these issues"

"Frame Pacing for Dual Graphics and non-XDMA configurations above 2560x1600 do not currently work with Battlefield 3 and Battlefield 4. An upcoming release will enable support"

Might avoid this driver until it's a non beta.

Nobina Nobina said:

What if I have a laptop with descrete GPU, AMD Radeon HD7470M, will it be compatible? All of the previous AMD drivers made my LCD backlit turn off.

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