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AMD Mantle revealed

#31AsellusPosted 9/26/2013 5:00:20 AM
^ Not really anything new there.

This however...

At the same time, when it comes to writing APIs we also have to briefly mention the fact that unlike the PC world, the use of both high level and low level APIs are a common occurrence in console software. High level APIs are still easier to use, but when you’re working with a fixed platform with a long shelf life, low level APIs not only become practical, but they become essential to extracting the maximum performance out of a piece of hardware. As good as a memory manager or a state manager is, if you know your code inside and out then there are numerous shortcuts and optimizations that are opened up by going low level, and these are matters that hardcore console developers will chase in full. So when we talk about AMD writing APIs for the new consoles, we’re really talking about AMD writing two APIs for the new consoles: a high level API, equivalent to the likes of Direct3D and OpenGL, and a low level API suitable for banging on the hardware directly for maximum performance.

This brings us to the crux of the matter: what’s not being said. Simply put, what would happen if you ported both the high level and low level APIs from a console – say the Xbox One – back over to the PC? We already know what that high level API would look like, because it exists today in the form of Direct3D 11.2, an API peppered with new features that coincide with AMD GCN hardware features. But what about a low level API? What would it look like?

What’s not being said, but what becomes increasingly hinted at as we read through AMD’s material is not just that Mantle is a low level API, but rather Mantle is *the* low level API. As in it’s either a direct copy or a very close derivative of the Xbox One’s low level graphics API. All of the pieces are there; AMD will tell you from the start that Mantle is designed to leverage the optimization work done for games on the next generation consoles, and furthermore Mantle can even use the Direct3D High Level Shader Language (HLSL), the high level shader language Xbox One shaders will be coded against in the first place. Let’s be very clear here: AMD will not discuss the matter let alone confirm it, so this is speculation on our part. But it’s speculation that we believe is well grounded. Based on what we know thus far, we believe Mantle is the Xbox One’s low level API brought to the PC.

If indeed Mantle is the Xbox One’s low level API, then this changes the frame of reference for Mantle dramatically. No longer is Mantle just a new low level API for AMD GCN cards, whose success is defined by whether AMD can get developers to create games specifically for it, but Mantle becomes the bridge for porting over Xbox One games to the PC. Developers who make extensive use of the Xbox One low level API would be able to directly bring over large pieces of their rendering code to the PC and reuse it, and in doing so maintain the benefits of using that low-level code in the first place. Mantle will not (and cannot) preclude the need for developers to also do a proper port to Direct3D – after all AMD is currently the minority party in the discrete PC graphics space – but it does provide the option of keeping that low level code, when in the past that would never be an option.

-- http://www.anandtech.com/show/7371/understanding-amds-mantle-a-lowlevel-graphics-api-for-gcn

It's interesting but wow does this ever feel like opening a can of worms. Not just a proprietary api but a proprietary api designed around a single particular gpu architecture.
#32CC RicersPosted 9/26/2013 7:22:20 AM
Interesting situation would be if NVidia starts doing something about it. If they come out with a similar API and DirectX becomes less relevant, this could be the new DirectX vs OpenGL. Whether or not AMD can get many developers to code games with it is a big factor.

The worst I can see come out of it is that it makes the PC games market more fragmented, and you'd have either games that will be more optimized for either AMD cards or NVidia cards or worst of all, a game that is made for one graphics API will be severely crippled in the competitor's API unless the game is made to adapt to both. It's almost like cross-platform programming.

Mantle takes another step backward by taking a step forward. It's trading portability for more performance. I'm not saying it is bad, I'm just saying that it's a classic tradeoff choice.
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#33urtvPosted 9/26/2013 7:34:12 AM
as long as i dont have to get an amd cpu
#34LostHisHardcorePosted 9/26/2013 8:04:56 AM
Hopefully more developers will pick it up what with amd making it the goto api for the consoles and lets face it, all triple A games are multiplats.
Though even if it does take off, we probably won;t see any tangible results for atleast another year or so I reckon, just the odd bit of support from dice and ea
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#35AsellusPosted 9/26/2013 11:24:57 AM
The worst I can see come out of it is that it makes the PC games market more fragmented, and you'd have either games that will be more optimized for either AMD cards or NVidia cards or worst of all, a game that is made for one graphics API will be severely crippled in the competitor's API unless the game is made to adapt to both. It's almost like cross-platform programming.

Thing is, you can't even do that. Remember, it's not simply that Mantle is "an api for AMD cards" - it's that it's an api for *GCN* cards. Ie, it won't support any AMD product prior to the 7000 series. If AMD ever moves away from GCN in their future products it won't support those either (or at least will require some degree of GCN emulation in order to do so).
#36DarkZV2BetaPosted 9/26/2013 11:44:51 AM(edited)
Mantle will likely be used by certain games looking to get more performance, but only as an option or alternative to Direct3D or OpenGL.
Either that, or alternative versions of mantle will be released for newer GPUs. AMD's marketshare is too small for developers to want to target a fraction of that.
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#37XjphPosted 9/26/2013 11:45:14 AM
It's like 3DFx Glide all over again...
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#38PyrotechnixxxPosted 9/26/2013 11:56:34 AM
DarkZV2Beta posted...
AMD's marketshare is too small for developers to want to target a fraction of that


On PC, yes. But this appears to be the primary API for consoles, which means easier porting than we've ever seen before.
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#39AsellusPosted 9/26/2013 12:00:32 PM
On PC, yes. But this appears to be the primary API for consoles, which means easier porting than we've ever seen before.

Not really, or at least not really if you're interested in supporting nVidia gpus as well as all AMD gpus prior to the 7000 series.
#40godplaysSNESPosted 9/26/2013 12:30:53 PM(edited)
Asellus posted...
On PC, yes. But this appears to be the primary API for consoles, which means easier porting than we've ever seen before.

Not really, or at least not really if you're interested in supporting nVidia gpus as well as all AMD gpus prior to the 7000 series.


Well, about every major graphics engine do support DX11 now. So supporting those GPUs won't be a problem.

If AMD can get UE4, CE3 and Ubisoft's engines to support Mantle, AMD will benefit in alot of titles. Just Frostbite 3 using Mantle will benefit many big franchises


Mantle's much reduced CPU overhead should benefit users with C2Q and Phenom II X4s alot
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