Mantle Graphics API FAQ

Document created by ali_d Employee on Sep 28, 2015Last modified by ali_d Employee on Feb 12, 2016
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Q. What is Mantle?
A. Mantle is an AMD initiative to create a new programming model that fully exploits the capabilities of modern GPUs, like AMD Radeon™ products, to improve graphics performance.  As part of this initiative, we have worked with leading game developers to create a new API specification and graphics driver that enable this model on PCs with Graphics Core Next-based graphics hardware.



Q. Is Mantle a proprietary AMD technology?
A. Mantle was conceived and developed by AMD in partnership with leading game developers.
This enabled the fast and agile development required to validate the concepts and bring such the technology to life in a relatively short period of time.  However, Mantle was designed in a way that makes it applicable to a range of modern GPU architectures.  In the months ahead, we will be inviting more partners to participate in the development program, leading up to a public release of the specifications later in 2014.  Our intention is for Mantle, or something that looks very much like it, to eventually become an industry standard applicable to multiple graphics architectures and platforms.


Q. Does Mantle compete with DirectX®?
A. DirectX® provides a standardized programming interface for GPUs, allowing the same code to work across a wide range of architectures and product configurations.  Mantle complements DirectX® by providing a lower level of hardware abstraction for developers who want and need it, echoing the capabilities they have come to expect on dedicated game consoles.


Q. What games support Mantle?
A. Please see the official Mantle page for more details.


Q. Are there any new games and engines in development with Mantle?
A. We are continually adding new partners to the Mantle development program.  Check the official Mantle page regularly for updates.


Q. What hardware is supported with Mantle?
A. At this time, the following Graphics Core Next-based products are supported:

Please note that notebooks based on AMD PowerXpress™ and AMD Enduro technologies are not currently supported. Support for these configurations will be added in a later AMD Catalyst™ driver release.


Q. What is the average performance advantage expected of Mantle?
A. Performance benefits will vary depending on the application bottlenecks and developers' optimization efforts, but tests conducted by DICE for Battlefield 4™ have shown improvements of 14-58%. Mantle provides developers the tools to best take advantage of the PC platform, and as developers learn more about squeezing every bit of performance on the next gen consoles, their optimization experience can translate into better optimizations with Mantle on PC.



Q. When does AMD intend to release a public SDK?
A. We have not set a final date for releasing a public SDK, but we will provide more information later in 2014.



Q. Why not use OpenGL extensions instead of a new API?
A. The design of Mantle was driven by feedback from leading game developers, who preferred the idea of a fresh start with a new API to the extension and patching of existing ones.  However, we believe that many of Mantle’s concepts are applicable to other graphics APIs, and will inspire their future development.


Q. Do I need a special graphics driver to run Mantle software?
A. Yes, AMD Catalyst™ 14.4 WHQL (or later) must be installed on your system to take advantage of Mantle-enabled software. This graphics driver enables Mantle for both notebook and desktop systems configured with AMD Radeon™ GPUs featuring the Graphics Core Next architecture.


Q. Are there any issues I should be aware of while playing a Mantle-enabled game on supported hardware?
A. As Mantle is still a young technology, you may encounter unexpected behavior while gaming. Please visit our known issues list to learn more about the issues we’re actively tracking, or provide feedback on our official bug report form if you encounter an unidentified issue.


Q. Does Mantle support multi-GPU configurations?
A. Yes, the Mantle API enables applications to take advantage of workload sharing between multiple GPUs.  However, this is controlled directly by the application instead of the graphics driver (as is the case with AMD CrossFire™ technology).  This means that support for specific multi-GPU configurations and features are application-dependent, but it also enables developers to achieve better performance scaling and efficiency by tuning their implementation to match the particular needs of their rendering engine.


Q. Does Mantle support frame pacing?
A. Yes, Mantle includes support for frame pacing in single and multi-GPU configurations if enabled by the application.


Q. Does Mantle support AMD Eyefinity™ multi-display technology?
A. Yes, Mantle includes support for AMD Eyefinity™ technology if enabled by the application.


Q. Where can I find more technical details on the Mantle graphics API?
A. We encourage you to review our newly-published Mantle graphics API whitepaper for more information on how Mantle improves performance, streamlines development, and addresses historical software bottlenecks.


Q. I’ve heard that Mantle works best with a multi-core CPU. Is that true?
A. Mantle is capable of reducing driver overhead on single-threaded processors. However, AMD believes the biggest performance advantage of a low-overhead API can be achieved on a modern multi-core CPU.


Q. AMD has said that Mantle can help overcome software bottlenecks to improve performance. Can you describe an example?
A. A common bottleneck in graphics work is poor parallelization across multi-core CPUs. Some cores may go completely unutilized, and that represents an opportunity to reclaim lost performance by approaching graphics work in a way that those cores become used. More examples can be found in the official Mantle API whitepaper.


Q. What is the relationship between Mantle and DirectX® 12?
A. There is no direct relationship, but we support and celebrate a direction for game development that is aligned with AMD’s vision of lower-level, "closer to the metal" graphics APIs for PC gaming. While industry experts expect this to take some time, developers can immediately leverage efficient API design using Mantle.


Q. What are the similarities between Mantle and DirectX® 12?
A. DirectX® 12 is Microsoft’s own creation, though its development has been steered by input from many different technology partners including AMD.  We have welcomed the same input on Mantle by sharing the full specification with Microsoft since the early days of our API. As the industry moves to embrace the principles of “closer-to-the-metal” API design, it is evident that our pioneering work with this concept has been highly influential.


Q. What role does Mantle play in the ecosystem of graphics APIs?
A> Mantle is currently the only low-overhead graphics API supported by multiple applications, major game engines, and publicly available graphics drivers. Mantle is ready and waiting to solve present-day problems and deliver proven results on millions of PCs. Additionally, the “lower level” nature of Mantle makes it an ideal way to immediately begin learning the principles of “closer to the metal” API development that are emergent in our industry.


Q. How would you characterize the adoption of Mantle?
A. As Mantle is the first low-overhead PC graphics API built by and for game developers, it has seen significant traction within that community. As of September 23, 2014, 95 developers have registered to work with the Mantle SDK in our ongoing private beta program. Of that group, 10 developers have publicly committed support for Mantle across 20+ games and four game engines. The most recent games include Battlefield™ Hardline, Dragon Age™: Inquisition and Sid Meier’s Civilization®: Beyond Earth™. Altogether, the first-year adoption rate for Mantle, measured by shipping games, is on-track to exceed that of DirectX® 11 in its first year of availability.



Q. Are there any new games and engines in development with Mantle?
A. We are continually adding new partners to the Mantle development program.  Check the official Mantle page regularly for updates.


Q. Will Mantle be supported on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One game consoles?
A. The initial releases of the Mantle API and graphics driver are intended for the PC platform only.  However, one of the key goals of Mantle is to make it as easy as possible for developers to use the same features and programming techniques they are already utilizing for the new generation of game consoles when bringing their games to PCs.  This enables better re-use of development efforts for multi-platform games.


Q. Is Mantle supported on Linux/SteamOS?
A. The initial iteration of Mantle is intended specifically for Windows on PCs.