AMD's Mantle is a new PC low-level graphics API, but was it ported from the Xbox One?

Late Wednesday, AMD revealed plans to launch its new Radeon R9 and R7 series of GPUs, but the company announced much more than just a new set of hardware products. It also revealed plans to offer game developers access to a new low-level 3D graphics API called Mantle that will work with the new Radeon GPUs.

AMD's press release states that Mantle will allow game developers to get to the "bare metal" of its new Radeon GPUs, which it claims will offer a "a deeper level of hardware optimization no other graphics card manufacturer can match." The first game that will use Mantle will be "Battlefield 4" from Electronic Arts, which will enable Mantle support via a software patch in December.

However, there is speculation that Mantle is actually a port of the same low level graphics API that AMD developed for Microsoft's Xbox One console. AnandTech has apparently posed that question to AMD who would not even discuss the matter. However, a statement in AMD's own press release seems to hint strongly that Mantle is a port of the API used in the Xbox One. It states:

Mantle also assists game developers in bringing games to life on multiple platforms by leveraging the commonalities between GCN-powered PCs and consoles for a simple game development process.

That could allow game developers who are making Xbox One games a quicker way to port their titles to the PC without the need to lose that low level programming. More information on Mantle is scheduled to be revealed at the AMD Developer Summit in mid-November.

Source: AMD and AnandTech | Image via AMD

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as usual, MSFT bests sony yet again in software. Just as with the last console, all sony brings to the table is numbers while ignoring the API and the OS technology.

It's not from MS, it actually resembles more the API of that from SONY, but in reality is a completely new API developed from AMD since almost 2 years.

TRC said,
This isn't the 1990s. Just say no to proprietary graphics APIs.

so say no to everything google does lately too? even their browser has proprietary apps using apis that don't work on anything else...

Melfster said,
Its not exactly proprietary I don't have problem with AMD doing this. I just need developers onboard.

It isn't exactly not proprietary either, it requires an AMD GPU to work. However, if it takes off (and there is nothing to say it won't) it *might* push Nvidia to develop something similar to keep relevant and THEN things will get interesting for sure. That is my 2 cents anyway, take with a grain of salt.

Some new info by an AMD engineer:

Emerging from lurking mode for a second to make a few points about Mantle.

Mantle is the direct result of a number of AAA game developers asking us for something like this because of several constraints they're experiencing with existing PC graphics APIs. Those developers want to get closer to the metal and able to achieve more with the GPU(s) on their PC without the API getting in the way of this effort. "More with more" is the term used by Raja and it couldn't be more spot on.
AMD listened to developer feedback and entered this venture with Johan Andersson leading the charge. Johan has a passion for writing efficient code that can allow him to accomplish his technical vision and Mantle exists to serve this purpose.

Mantle is not for every developer. It is a low-level graphics API designed to drive the GPU in the most efficient manner. This level of access requires a bit more development effort than existing APIs to reap the rewards it provides.

AMD remains committed to support DirectX and OpenGL and to keep optimizing our drivers for those APIs. Mantle is an option that some developers may choose, but it does not affect those that wish to keep using existing APIs.

Some technical concerns are mentioned on this thread. The Mantle API has been in design and development for more than 2 years and rest assured we've had some time to think about the best way to address those (and loads of others).

More technical details about Mantle will be revealed in due course. Johan is a keynote speaker at the AMD Developer Summit (11-14 November, San Jose).

Nick - Gaming Engineering Manager, AMD

http://forum.beyond3d.com/show...p=1788711&postcount=210

Edited by Andre S., Sep 26 2013, 4:03pm :

Zinfandel said,
I'm wondering if Mantle is used on the PS4 as well, since it has AMD-powered graphics too.

ps4 uses GNM, sonys own low level graphics API. this was confirmed by the people making the crew. we also don't know how "low level" it is either. it might not even be as low level as Mantle.

turns out, sonys low level api it isn't even as low level as a driver


"One of them is the absolute low-level API, you're talking directly to the hardware. It's used to draw the static RAM buffers and feed them directly to the GPU," Norden shared. "It's much, much lower level than you're used to with DirectX or OpenGL but it's not quite at the driver level. It's very similar if you've programmed PS3 or PS Vita, very similar to those graphics libraries."


http://www.eurogamer.net/artic...oundry-inside-playstation-4

"Mantle appears to have much in common with the GNM API used in PlayStation 4, offering low-level GPU access while retaining a very high level of compatibility with Microsoft's existing programmable pixel shader language (HLSL)." http://www.eurogamer.net/artic...tle-revolutionise-pc-gaming

Totally unclear to me at this point whether Mantle derives from the Xbox One API, the PS4 API, or both. It would seem logical that the PS4 and Xbox One APIs are similar given that they're such similar architectures, made by the very same company now announcing Mantle, but for some reason that's not Anand's theory. I'm confused.

it could be consoles have nothing to do with this,and this turns out to be something like PhysX, or tressfx, all hype. sure dice is using it with frostbite, but then what. theres a reason for a high level api to exist.

then there is the NVidia factor. will NVidia create their own thing? or just ignore mantle? will there be fragmention that developers just wont bother>?

Asik said,
"Mantle appears to have much in common with the GNM API used in PlayStation 4, offering low-level GPU access while retaining a very high level of compatibility with Microsoft's existing programmable pixel shader language (HLSL)." http://www.eurogamer.net/artic...tle-revolutionise-pc-gaming

Totally unclear to me at this point whether Mantle derives from the Xbox One API, the PS4 API, or both. It would seem logical that the PS4 and Xbox One APIs are similar given that they're such similar architectures, made by the very same company now announcing Mantle, but for some reason that's not Anand's theory. I'm confused.

All this is still a bit cloudy...

However, it is strange that anyone would think Mantle would be based on the GNM or any of Sony's technologies, since the Mantle project started before AMD and Sony had any relationship.

Mobius Enigma said,

However, it is strange that anyone would think Mantle would be based on the GNM or any of Sony's technologies, since the Mantle project started before AMD and Sony had any relationship.

We don't really know how long has this Sony-AMD relationship been going on. Consoles have a very long development cycle, which means Sony could very much have intervened on Mantle's creation.

Btw, nothing restricts the PS4 to also get support for Mantle as AMD announced all GCN cards will be getting it (that means, the already existing 7xx0 series), so if Mantle ends up being better than GNM for developers it's as simple as a software update for Sony to support it.

I'm very confused. What about the PS4 low-level API? That's also AMD and that's also GCN, ergo it should logically also be Mantle. Yet the AnandTech article keeps referring it to it as "The Xbox One" API...

Anyway, I can't wait to see comparative BF4 benchmarks with and without Mantle. Keep in mind Frostbite powers basically ALL EA games, so BF4 is just the beginning. Dragon Age: Inquisition, Need For Speed: Rivals, Mass Effect 4, etc., all will benefit from this as well.

Asik said,
I'm very confused. What about the PS4 low-level API? That's also AMD and that's also GCN, ergo it should logically also be Mantle. Yet the AnandTech article keeps referring it to it as "The Xbox One" API...

Anyway, I can't wait to see comparative BF4 benchmarks with and without Mantle. Keep in mind Frostbite powers basically ALL EA games, so BF4 is just the beginning. Dragon Age: Inquisition, Need For Speed: Rivals, Mass Effect 4, etc., all will benefit from this as well.

Now it makes sense why ghost games said nfs rivals will look better on one console(pun intended?).

Asik said,
I'm very confused. What about the PS4 low-level API? That's also AMD and that's also GCN, ergo it should logically also be Mantle. Yet the AnandTech article keeps referring it to it as "The Xbox One" API...

Anyway, I can't wait to see comparative BF4 benchmarks with and without Mantle. Keep in mind Frostbite powers basically ALL EA games, so BF4 is just the beginning. Dragon Age: Inquisition, Need For Speed: Rivals, Mass Effect 4, etc., all will benefit from this as well.

Mantle is using things specific to the XB1 hardware and is similar to what is in the XB1 development kit.

Mobius Enigma said,
Mantle is using things specific to the XB1 hardware and is similar to what is in the XB1 development kit.
And why not the PS4? What, in AMD's announcement, leads to think that Mantle is derived specifically from XB1 rather than PS4, or both?

Asik said,
And why not the PS4? What, in AMD's announcement, leads to think that Mantle is derived specifically from XB1 rather than PS4, or both?

Because this is lower (closer to the hardware) than what Sony or the PS4 uses.

(There are many things like this in addition to the low level hardware specifics that made it beyond crazy for all the 'lazy' performance comparisons of the PS4 to the XB1.)

Mobius Enigma said,
Because this is lower (closer to the hardware) than what Sony or the PS4 uses.
You mean Mantle is closer to the hardware than the PS4's native API? What would you base that on? That seems counter-intuitive, Mantle is a cross-platform API.

Asik said,
You mean Mantle is closer to the hardware than the PS4's native API? What would you base that on? That seems counter-intuitive, Mantle is a cross-platform API.

As I said, I need to take time to read more about the API specifics.

Some of the information I am going off of comes from developers.

I am not saying that Mantle comes from Microsoft XB1 APIs.

However, the base technologies go back to the XB360. When Mantle was started they picked up from some of the Microsoft Dev Kit optimizations for the XB360. I don't know how closely they worked with Microsoft after this or what was rolled into which set of technologies if they did collaborate on the APIs. (Again I need to take time to go over some of this and hit up a couple of friends that should know.)

Until then...

Considering AMD didn't have a relationship with Sony at the time Mantle was started, it would be a reasonable argument that Mantle is NOT based on PS4 technology.

Mantle isnt going to replace DirectX anytime soon considering its only for GCN architecture, what will nvidia do hahaha. It would take a while for developers to start using it anyway so directx is safe for a quite a while

no its not already using it, its a BF update in december, the frostbite engine doesnt have it running in it. Mantle is a new API that games companies can use if they want. Dont need to read the article anyway as i watched the live amd stream with dice last night which had this in it

Melfster said,
As the article says the frostbite engine is already using it. So it is big advantage to AMD.

Yes becase an extra 5-10fps @60fps is a big perf boost.....<sigh> marketing claptrap

no its an 8x series chip. seems all integrated graphics are 8x series sea islands then the volcanic islands have the new naming convention of R9, R7 etc

except mantle is available on both platforms.....so I don't quite understand what your meaning. PC perf is heads and shoulders above both consoles as it stands atm, never mind with each iteration of NV/AMD GPUs released after the consoles.

I have heard that is actually more closely related to Sony than to MS, but FINALLY, a real low level API comming for ANY OS. DirectX may last a while but if mantle succeeds, it's the end of windows only PC Gaming.

How so? The only article which vaguely refers to what you're saying is Eurogamer which says "Mantle appears to have much in common with the GNM API used in PlayStation 4". That isn't Mantle supporting, its just quoting idea relations.

Considering Mantle supports Direct3d SL and other lanaguages from DirectX it isn't going anywhere. You honestly think MS will of pumped in 3 billion to a company if it hurts them as a business?

Arceles said,
I have heard that is actually more closely related to Sony than to MS, but FINALLY, a real low level API comming for ANY OS. DirectX may last a while but if mantle succeeds, it's the end of windows only PC Gaming.

Um, Mantle right now depends on DirectX for user shaders and fallback and is designed for Windows.

Arceles said,
Nope, It never says that it depends on DirectX, it offers compatibility with shader languages but not depends.

I need to read more on this, you might be correct.

However, the current development projects using Mantle are on Windows and do use DirectX 11 as a fallback.

Arceles said,
I have heard that is actually more closely related to Sony than to MS, but FINALLY, a real low level API comming for ANY OS. DirectX may last a while but if mantle succeeds, it's the end of windows only PC Gaming.

In CPUs, people can code to the metal with assembly, but the majority of the time they don't. They only use assembly for performance critical sections of their code. This is the same purpose for Mantle. It isn't a replacement for DirectX. It is an aid.

vcfan said,

In CPUs, people can code to the metal with assembly, but the majority of the time they don't. They only use assembly for performance critical sections of their code. This is the same purpose for Mantle. It isn't a replacement for DirectX. It is an aid.


The difference is that GPUs don't have a stable instruction set like CPUs do. NVidia and AMD are free to completely change their instruction sets with every generation - actually they do do that (e.g. see how CUDA evolves and changes with every release)!
Up to this day this non-fixed instruction set has not been a problem, as programs only interact with a driver which is tailored to the respective instruction set. (At least on the PC that's the case, on consoles where you have a fixed hardware configuration for several years and don't need to provide forward- or backward-compatibility that's a whole other story.)

Arceles said,
I have heard that is actually more closely related to Sony than to MS, but FINALLY, a real low level API comming for ANY OS. DirectX may last a while but if mantle succeeds, it's the end of windows only PC Gaming.

Of course, because Xbox One and PS4 does not use Direct X.....oh wait a yes they do Xbox 1 = 11.2 DX PS4 11.1

guru said,
even if its easy to port xbone games to Mantle, 2/3rd of PCs run nvidia cards

Gamers are quick to change if the technology shows them the capabilities they so desire. This may be one of them.

Years ago, when ATI and Nvidia were just getting started, no one thought they could disrupt Glide and 3dfx

spudtrooper said,

Gamers are quick to change if the technology shows them the capabilities they so desire. This may be one of them.

Years ago, when ATI and Nvidia were just getting started, no one thought they could disrupt Glide and 3dfx

I really wish 3DFX was still around.

spudtrooper said,

Gamers are quick to change if the technology shows them the capabilities they so desire. This may be one of them.

Years ago, when ATI and Nvidia were just getting started, no one thought they could disrupt Glide and 3dfx

Fragmentation is the key topic being overlooked.

If AMD takes control of the gaming industry, they will lock their own users into a product line they won't be able to sustain for compatibility. No matter how diverse the Mantle low level API is, GPU technology will continue to shift, and these hardware direct APIs will need to be emulated/translated to run on new hardware technologies.

There is a reason low level development APIs work on a console and get better performance out of a console and they do not work on a general computing device like a PC that is continually changing and meeting compatibility requirements of 100s of companies.

Even if there is a divide in AMD and NVidia with low level APIs, developers are going to say 'screw that' and go back to the higher level APIs like DirectX to ensure their game runs well on ANY set of CPUs/GPUs.

Lower level APIs were a nightmare in the 90s with just a few video card technologies, and is how and why we have higher level gaming APIs, specifically DirectX.

The only chance Mantle has is Microsoft taking it over, using the actual XB1 low level APIs they already provide and extend them out to a basic set of hardware technologies that will work with Intel, NVidia, and AMD - and call them DirectX low.

However, DirectX 11 already provides low level access for specific optimizations, so even this would be a bit redundant.

spudtrooper said,
Gamers are quick to change if the technology shows them the capabilities they so desire. This may be one of them.

Years ago, when ATI and Nvidia were just getting started, no one thought they could disrupt Glide and 3dfx

Gamers are quite finicky really. I can't say I'm any different, as I refuse to install another AMD card after putting up with their drivers over the years.

Anyway, Nvidia has partnered up pretty well with all sorts of companies like Bethesda. Until those companies decide to quit pairing up with them, I doubt we'll see any change in the market as far as gamers are concerned.

dead.cell said,

Gamers are quite finicky really. I can't say I'm any different, as I refuse to install another AMD card after putting up with their drivers over the years.

Anyway, Nvidia has partnered up pretty well with all sorts of companies like Bethesda. Until those companies decide to quit pairing up with them, I doubt we'll see any change in the market as far as gamers are concerned.

Gamers are sheeple.. Someone will write a stellar review of an AMD card and the community will swing.

AMD drivers have been fine for a long time now..

spudtrooper said,
Gamers are sheeple.. Someone will write a stellar review of an AMD card and the community will swing.

AMD drivers have been fine for a long time now..


You must not talk to many gamers. They always come in the store, acting like they know it all half the time. You could be a developer for nvidia or AMD and you'd still be wrong.

Also, I know that, I'm just speaking out of my own experience. When you are frustrated as a consumer, it's easier to choose another product/brand until they do you wrong. Unless nvidia starts to drop the ball, I see no reason to switch.

AMD has said that Mantle would be compatible with nvidia if they implement it in their drivers. AMD promotes standards that are compatible across platforms like havock physics, TressFX, DirectCompute, for example. Nvidia creates standards that lock you into Nvidia, like PhysX and CUDA. They even go so far as to disable Physx on an Nvida card if an AMD card is just present in your system.

giantpotato said,
AMD has said that Mantle would be compatible with nvidia if they implement it in their drivers. AMD promotes standards that are compatible across platforms like havock physics, TressFX, DirectCompute, for example. Nvidia creates standards that lock you into Nvidia, like PhysX and CUDA. They even go so far as to disable Physx on an Nvida card if an AMD card is just present in your system.

They both have their own lock-in quirks.

PS NVidia didn't create PhysX, and it originally ran on dedicated PPUs.

spudtrooper said,

Gamers are quick to change if the technology shows them the capabilities they so desire. This may be one of them.


Years ago, when ATI and Nvidia were just getting started, no one thought they could disrupt Glide and 3dfx

Just like MMX changed the face of gaming........it will be a flash in the pan, just as MMX extensions were/are. Just as PhysX is tbh how many games actively support it? a handful.

Mando said,

Just like MMX changed the face of gaming........it will be a flash in the pan, just as MMX extensions were/are. Just as PhysX is tbh how many games actively support it? a handful.

You do realise that MMX is now just a standard part of the CPU's feature set (including AMD's) and is no doubt widely used...it's just normal now so nobody feels the need to boast about / market it any more.

spudtrooper said,

Gamers are quick to change if the technology shows them the capabilities they so desire. This may be one of them.

Years ago, when ATI and Nvidia were just getting started, no one thought they could disrupt Glide and 3dfx

once they start using ATi drivers they will switch back

Considering MS placed 3 billion into the company, I'm pretty sure the mono driver and this will have very common ideas and implementations.

This is pure speculation but this could very well be the reason why there hasn't been a playable version of BF4 on the X1, or anything Frostbite. Writing lower down will change the whole architecture of the engine and require a complete re-write and considering the PC update will be in December, the time frames do align quite well.

Edited by JonnyLH, Sep 26 2013, 2:08pm :

JonnyLH said,
Considering MS placed 3 billion into the company, I'm pretty sure the mono driver and this will have very common ideas and implementations.

This is pure speculation but this could very well be the reason why there hasn't been a playable version of BF4 on the X1, or anything Frostbite. Writing lower down will change the whole architecture of the engine and require a complete re-write and considering the PC update will be in December, the time frames do align quite well.

BF4 is being shown at EE on X1 hardware, so we'll see how it works out.

But the Xbox One is the worst console ever released and Microsoft have no idea what they're doing except to lose to the all mighty Sony...... Right?

/s

At least thats the impression you'd get from GAF. This sounds good though if it's more adopted I might finally go back to AMD GFX cards

-T- said,

At least thats the impression you'd get from GAF. This sounds good though if it's more adopted I might finally go back to AMD GFX cards

maybe once they fire some competent driver programmers.