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In a surprising move, Advanced Micro Devices introduced its own low-level application programming interface designed specifically for GCN [graphics core next] architecture of AMD Radeon graphics chips. The company, which has always criticized proprietary technologies, claims that development of Mantle API was inevitability and claims that eventually it may become an industry-standard.

“I think at this stage it makes sense for us to develop Mantle, at least in its current form, because nobody knows our hardware at the lowest level best than we do. So for us to have to do that for alternative graphics hardware [would be] almost impossible,” said Ritche Corpus, AMD’s director of software alliances and developer relations, in an interview with VR-Zone web-site.

Mantle, a cross-platform application programming interface (that will only support Windows operating system initially) designed specifically for graphics processing units based on graphics core next (GCN) architecture, presenting a deeper level of hardware optimization. Being low-level API, Mantle can bypass all the bottlenecks modern PC/API architectures; according to AMD, Mantle enables nine times more draw calls per second than DirectX and OpenGL thanks to lower CPU overhead. AMD and EA/DICE announced a Mantle renderer for the forthcoming Battlefield 4 game in December, 2013. Mantle will be detailed further at the AMD Developer Summit, APU13, taking place in November.

Two main purposes of Mantle are to speed up game performance on AMD hardware and possibly introduce exclusive visual effects. 3dfx Glide, proprietary API by 3dfx, served the same purposes over a decade ago, back in the 1990s. Nonetheless, AMD does not seem to want to compare Mantle to Glide. Moreover, AMD hopes that eventually Mantle will be an industrial standard.

“The plan is, long term, once we have developed Mantle into a state where it’s stable and in a state where it can be shared openly [we will make it available]. The long term plan is to share and create the spec and SDK and make it widely available. Our thinking is: there’s nothing that says that someone else could develop their own version of Mantle and mirror what we’ve done in how to access the lower levels of their own silicon. I think what it does is it forges the way, the easiest way,” explained Mr. Corpus.

It is interesting to note that Mantle was generally a joint project between AMD and game developer DICE (a subsidiary of Electronic Arts). The first fruits of Mantle will be renderer for Battlefield 4 as well as renderers for other Frostbite 3 engine-based titles (new Command and Conquer, Need for Speed Rivals, etc.).

“Mantle is truly a collaboration and I’ll tell you [DICE’s Johan Andersson] was at the forefront of that at the very beginning. A lot of the feedback on the development of Mantle came from him. We also solicited feedback from a lot of other partners that we haven’t announced yet. At this stage, Battlefield 4 and FrostBite 3 are the closest to deliver something today. I think, as I mentioned before, the goal would be to provide the spec and SDK publicly,” said Mr. Corpus.

Tags: AMD, Mantle, Radeon, GCN, DICE, Electronic Arts, 3dfx, Glide, DirectX, OpenGL

Discussion

Comments currently: 46
Discussion started: 10/05/13 02:54:38 AM
Latest comment: 01/07/14 10:27:18 AM
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1. 
How will MS and Sony feel about Mantle API? I am sure MS will want DX standard to continue especially on the Xbox, and Sony has its own custom API.

Either way it looks good for AMD especially when devs are developing their hardware
2 0 [Posted by: redeemer  | Date: 10/05/13 02:54:38 AM]
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I think it would be smart for Microsoft to look into Mantel for the Xbox One. Best if they have it somehow work as a lower level layer for directX that works on Windows PC's and Xbox One games.
1 0 [Posted by: Memristor  | Date: 10/05/13 03:13:20 AM]
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They already have a low level protocol for xbox, and it's probably 100% compatible
0 1 [Posted by: basroil  | Date: 10/05/13 04:45:45 AM]
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If a game developer wants maximum performance form the console hardware, the obvious choice is AMD Mantle API. So naturally we PC gamers are going to see a lot of console port games that are Mantle API based. A significant advantage in terms of visual quality and performance over nVidia GPUs.
3 0 [Posted by: tks  | Date: 10/05/13 02:46:06 PM]
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you are pretty ignorant with that statement cause you need a mantle rdy gpu from amd to even use it. so buy a new gpu. you think nvidia does not have it's own api in the works? And you don't think MS would counter this by making DX11.2 and beyound out perform a API by amd?! I mean really...
1 2 [Posted by: John Mellinger  | Date: 10/06/13 12:13:57 PM]
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I mean really John. AMD has the technology and expertise. Microsoft doesn't (remember it's not the company it once was, even of 10 years ago). DirectX is a high level API and cannot compete with AMD and Mantle. As far as Nvidia, it is a dead company walking sporting Rolex watches and big hair. Nvidia will not exist by the end of this decade. AMD will have the graphics game sewn up before long, from phones to games consoles to PCs.
1 3 [Posted by: fanboyslayer  | Date: 10/06/13 03:13:02 PM]
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Nvidia is far from a dead company... if anything they are leading the true pc game experience.
0 2 [Posted by: John Mellinger  | Date: 10/07/13 05:36:13 AM]
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Just fell off my chair laughing from that one. Thanks for the great belly laugh.
0 0 [Posted by: fanboyslayer  | Date: 10/07/13 01:31:03 PM]
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nVidia bought 3dfx solely to kill its Glide, so that M$ could own with its ugly DirectX 6.

nVidia and M$ are friends, nVidia would never create an API to compete with DirectX.

Mantle was created probably because M$ was friendling nVidia and not providing AMD the support they wanted to optimize DX runtime and Radeon driver to its hardware.

Some game devs also aren't happy with DX, so AMD partnered with them to create a new API.
0 0 [Posted by: Hikari  | Date: 01/07/14 10:27:18 AM]
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2. 
Don't give support for nvidia-
I think mantle should be proprietary and exclusive for next 2-3 years after that they should support other vendors like Qualcomm, imagination, arm and intel but not nvidia .........nvidia hv their own nvapi and we know nobody will use that(coz amd hardware will be everywhere)....so they should make their nvapi better and start a new war,,,,surely customer will get max benifit.
3 3 [Posted by: mudi1  | Date: 10/05/13 05:56:09 AM]
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NVAPI is not Graphic API like mantle, where do you got that information?
3 1 [Posted by: Sagia86  | Date: 10/05/13 09:12:29 AM]
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Frnd i know that just saying they should make nvapi better and similar to mantle,nvapi also gives basic hardware access.
1 2 [Posted by: mudi1  | Date: 10/05/13 10:49:46 AM]
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NVAPI allow only for read about NV hardware, drivers settings, monitors infos and similar. Is is not and WILL NOT be any grafhics interface, 'genius'
1 1 [Posted by: Tristan  | Date: 10/05/13 03:43:43 PM]
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I dont think Mantle API would be open source. Its a GCN exclusive API. A Mantle API based game may run without problems on other vendors hardware using the traditional APIs like DirectX or OpenGL with all the performance overhead and lower visual fidelity.
0 1 [Posted by: tks  | Date: 10/05/13 02:51:43 PM]
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No API is by definition not an implementation, and therefore hardware agnostic. Whether there are hardware features that implement the API faster is a different thing, and the main reason why we have DX9/10/11/11.2 compatible graphics cards.

Once the mantel API is set, anyone can develop their hardware and software for it. By releasing the API publicly, AMD will have practically zero control over who makes what and how. And unless they want to exclude indie developer and the freeware segments, they will likely be releasing the API publicly. That's why DX and OGL are so popular after all.
1 0 [Posted by: basroil  | Date: 10/07/13 06:08:48 AM]
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Now, we all know you're a troll, but even trolls know the little thing called patent and copyright law. With patents, a company must provide fair and reasonable licensing for any standard, so if other vendors get it so will nvidia or amd would risk a billion dollar lawsuit (that it can't afford). And since most of the api is covered by copyright and only implementation in patents, nvidia would be free to make a compatible system without AMD being able to say a single thing.

In fact, nvidia can likely use CUDA to implement most mantel functions, and the others are just better implementations of opengl.
0 0 [Posted by: basroil  | Date: 10/07/13 05:59:47 AM]
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3. 
Part of me wants AMD to be the better man and make Mantle open source for all to enjoy.

Then again, after having to listen to all the crap that has been dumped on AMD by nVidiots over years, part of me says screw them, and hopes AMD will show no mercy, and keep Mantle proprietary just long enough for their nVidia cards to become obsolete. It would serve them right for supporting the bigger, fatter, more egotistical company all the time, and it would serve as payback for nVidia trying to shut out AMD with PhysX.
4 2 [Posted by: anubis44  | Date: 10/05/13 11:00:00 AM]
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Well, the real issue is getting it used by games. And if that is your highest priority, then AMD needs nVidia to use it also. If/when that happens, the games floodgates will open.
0 0 [Posted by: Joel Kleppinger  | Date: 10/05/13 04:36:24 PM]
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show the post
0 6 [Posted by: John Mellinger  | Date: 10/06/13 12:20:47 PM]
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That's your perception hipster. But you're dead wrong. AMD developed HSA technology during the GFC. They had many foreign financial backers including myself. Now HSA is why Sony/MS were interested in AMD for consoles (for starters). So whilst Nvidia was farting and belching on big oily yum-cha profits and pumping out beefy winning cards, AMD was quietly working on THE FUTURE. Now Mr Jen-Hsun Huang will pay the ultimate price for his grandiosity and arrogance. He would be best served by leaving Nvidia to create a new start up in a different area of computing so he can save face.
3 3 [Posted by: fanboyslayer  | Date: 10/06/13 03:23:51 PM]
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Not like amd can fail anyways. They have all next gen consoles which will bring in some serious cash. Not only that but amd is offering better deals(Reloaded game bundle) and they are mostly open source. Next Gen will see almost every game made for amd hardware as well, it's gonna be hard for Nvidia to keep up.
3 0 [Posted by: evernessince  | Date: 10/06/13 09:03:08 PM]
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show the post
0 3 [Posted by: John Mellinger  | Date: 10/07/13 05:38:39 AM]
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show the post
0 4 [Posted by: John Mellinger  | Date: 10/07/13 05:36:57 AM]
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Hey, that's pretty cool hipster. What was your highest score on Pitfall? Sounds like you're at the age where you might have quite a bit of money tied up in Nvidia then? LOL!
1 2 [Posted by: fanboyslayer  | Date: 10/07/13 01:37:44 PM]
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Pitfall was a fantastic game!
0 0 [Posted by: Fukhead McPot  | Date: 10/22/13 05:59:22 PM]
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PhysX is probably the most meaningless and useless gimmick to ever be created in the history of technology.
3 0 [Posted by: Varun Hk  | Date: 10/07/13 12:24:55 PM]
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Nvidia drivers have been crap for the last 6 months - 1 Year. With no foot in the next gen console race & no major announcements other than Tablet GFX coming up I don't see much of a future in Nvidia atm...
0 0 [Posted by: Fukhead McPot  | Date: 10/22/13 05:52:26 PM]
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4. 
Mantle is more about offloading weak AMD CPU, than increase graphic quality. All graphic data from applicaction, are transformed by DX and CPU to some intermediate format, then pushed to GPU drivers. So Mantle is basicaly 'driver API', stripped form DX dependency. This way creating intermediate data can be done by game engine, with lower CPU performance requirement.

Consoles also have 'thin drivers close to metal', and do not provide any shocking graphics quality.
1 1 [Posted by: Tristan  | Date: 10/05/13 04:04:50 PM]
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So the whole AMD Mantle promotion was basically about highlighting AMD CPU weakness? You're another twisted fanboy outed. Go sit on a pineapple.
2 2 [Posted by: fanboyslayer  | Date: 10/06/13 03:31:54 PM]
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5. 
nVidia doesn't deserve anything. All their technologies are proprietary so f*** them.
3 3 [Posted by: yeeeeman  | Date: 10/06/13 12:06:54 AM]
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Thanks for having the guts to just come out and say what I was really thinking.
1 2 [Posted by: anubis44  | Date: 10/06/13 09:15:40 AM]
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Don't be a coward. Give Nvidia the one finger salute like Linus Tolvards.
3 1 [Posted by: fanboyslayer  | Date: 10/06/13 03:34:57 PM]
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Believe me, I already do give them the finger.

I never recommend nVidia cards to family or friends. Most especially not after being screwed over by them when I had a Toshiba Tecra M3 that fell victim of a defective nVidia graphics chip during the 'bumpgate' scandal.
1 0 [Posted by: anubis44  | Date: 10/07/13 11:03:27 PM]
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6. 
show the post
0 6 [Posted by: AnonymousGuy  | Date: 10/06/13 07:49:56 AM]
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On the contrary, AMD now own all 3 gaming consoles. AMD hardware is the standard all gaming is being coded for. The tables have turned. It is nVidia who are on the defensive now.
5 0 [Posted by: anubis44  | Date: 10/06/13 09:17:14 AM]
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show the post
0 5 [Posted by: John Mellinger  | Date: 10/06/13 12:23:29 PM]
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And I suppose you're another fanboy with more money than sense. Who the bloody hell do you think will buy a $5000 machine to play games in the times of the greatest financial crisis since 1930s and the trend towards tablets and smart gadgets? Get seriously real or get your head read (and sell your Nvidia shares before it's too late).
2 2 [Posted by: fanboyslayer  | Date: 10/06/13 03:41:01 PM]
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show the post
0 3 [Posted by: John Mellinger  | Date: 10/07/13 05:42:55 AM]
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Well, maybe you're blind, or were blanked out, but during the reveals of the consoles and the new GPU family of AMD, it was said that they will support 4K, except in consoles, they've left it to the devs' whim.
Edit: Oh, and Nvidia never agreed for the consoles, because the CEOs of both manufacturers were unwilling to bend over to Nvidia's unrealistic BS demands in margins. and most multi-platform developers are moving to a PC-first idea, since it's easier to downscale than to upscale.
1 0 [Posted by: Varun Hk  | Date: 10/07/13 12:21:50 PM]
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Nvidia is taking on the 4k gaming show pony because it has no tricks up its sleeve to answer AMD's new generation of cards until late 2014. It is just branding existing equipment as Battlebox (well what do you do when you lose out on the console contract?). It is a pathetically desperate counter measure against a resurgeant AMD with Mantle technology and a clever mustering up of the gaming scene. Nvidia is sinking in quicksand, clutching at air. First there was the decision to license its graphics IP after 4 generations of Tegra fails. And now this. What will be next? Bribing companies not to use AMD GPUs? That would be very Intel.

PS: I've read your comments on Fudzilla. You're truly a very shaggy muppet. Here is one of your gems - "3 companies are going to do battle with the gaming world and they are Intel, Valve, and Nvidia". I've got snot dribbling out of my nose from laughter at that one. Keep them coming, I say!
0 2 [Posted by: fanboyslayer  | Date: 10/07/13 01:54:33 PM]
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7. 
If Nvidia thought that glide was of use to them when they bought out 3dfx, don't you think that they would have used it instead of directx? The best part of 3dfx they took from them was the SLI multi gpu support. A lesson upcoming that AMD will learn the hard way. One, you can't recode hardware like consoles that are already in production for xmas sales. Two, Microsoft announced that DX 11.2 will be the API for xbox one and Windows 8.1. And three, it would take a massive firmware update just to get support for Mantle if even Sony (who is just going with the flow) may choose to do so. Most of all, Mantle supports only AMD hardware. It will take a massive change for Nvidia to support their Compeititions low level API.
0 0 [Posted by: wheeljack12  | Date: 10/08/13 08:57:13 PM]
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Actually it would take very little effort for Sony or MS to support Mantle in PS4/XB1. I assume the reason they aren't supporting Mantle ATM is that
1: the PS4 and XB1 are both using low level API's already.
2: Neither company wants to muck up the waters before christmas.
3: PS4/XB1 are already using a form of mantle.
0 0 [Posted by: grndzro  | Date: 11/25/13 01:48:26 AM]
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8. 
Glide had several restriction which one of these are 16 bit color for example.Other thing is that it was designed for Voodoo hardware architecture as low -level API so if Nvidia want use their version of Glide, they would have rewrite everything from the scratch to support their own hardware.
1 0 [Posted by: del42sa  | Date: 10/10/13 04:09:43 PM]
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GLide was superb. It used special dithering techniques that made 16 bit looking almost identically as rendered on 32 bit, but with the speed and performance of the first one. Also it was first to introduce MSAA, Anisotropic filtering, multitexturing, etc before D3D. I still remember how good and fast games were looking on GLide compared to similar on D3D.
0 0 [Posted by: TAViX  | Date: 10/10/13 06:21:57 PM]
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I am not arguing.. :o) , Yes Glide was superior in it´s times, just pointing, that the condition in which the Glide was back in year 2000, it would be useless for Nvidia GPU unless they provided heavy code rewriting for their hardware.
0 0 [Posted by: del42sa  | Date: 10/10/13 06:43:12 PM]
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