As part of a larger Mantle promotion, AMD has posted a number of blogs on their site detailing their low level API. The blog posts themselves are unabashedly closer to advertising than technical writing, but as something of a diamond in the rough AMD has also published a whitepaper on Mantle.

At 11 pages long the Mantle whitepaper offers a solid high level overview of the technology. In it AMD delves into further detail about several aspects of the API, without getting buried in the minutia of an API in a way that only seasoned programmers can appreciate. Among the subjects covered are Mantle's memory model, execution model, pipeline model, and the basic tenet of where low-level APIs can reduce overhead and improve performance over high level APIs.

The bulk of this information is a repeat from AMD’s earlier developer presentations, so we won’t spend any time going over the materials in-depth here, but for a more approachable look at the API from AMD’s perspective this is a great start.

Source: AMD

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  • DanNeely - Thursday, May 29, 2014 - link

    The next major versions of Direct3d and OpenGL are incorporating many of the enhancements offered in Mantle. The key wins it offers are by changing out parts of the current standard rendering pipeline to reflect that the relative performance balance between the GPU and CPU has shifted by multiple orders of magnitude in favor of the former. The result of this is that what were cheap CPU steps a decade ago have become performance bottlenecks today.

    As a proprietary API Mantle's advantage is mostly in that it's able to hit the market much faster than new standards can. This gets AMD out in front, and with Mantle development being primarily pushed towards the developers of AAA game engines, the cost of adding support for the new standards in a few years will mostly fall on companies that can easily afford it and who're already willing to spend huge piles of cash to get every last sliver of performance, and already using every non-portable GPU family specific hack they're aware of in their low level code anyway (so supporting Mantle is business as usual for them).
  • TEAMSWITCHER - Thursday, May 29, 2014 - link

    I have to believe that AAA game makers are tired of adding support for platform specific API's - especially for only a sliver more performance on desktop PC's with graphic cards that don't have a performance problem to begin with. That and almost all mobile computing solutions now use Intel graphics. So Mantle is more pain than gain.
  • Tetracycloide - Thursday, May 29, 2014 - link

    Platform specific? Didn't AMD do the hardware for both the 360 and the PS4? I don't think there's much crossover in AAA development from console/desktop to mobile. I mean yes, there have been some ports back and forth but it's pretty uncommon. Porting from a console to another console or to the PC is the norm for almost everything though.
  • tobi1449 - Thursday, May 29, 2014 - link

    Yes, but: None of the consoles support Mantle. They each feature their respective companies low level libraries.
  • przemo_li - Friday, May 30, 2014 - link

    We do not know (and wont as XOne/PS4 APIs are proprietary), how much influence MS/Sony had over them. They could be slightly or significantly different.

    Also XOne sports Win, PS4 have OS that is "embeded", while Mantle is "just" driver.
  • kyuu - Thursday, May 29, 2014 - link

    You "have to believe" that because you don't seem to understand just how much of a bottleneck CPU-bound operations are (the big one being draw calls). It's not about eeking "a sliver more performance" from desktop GPUs. The issue of inadequate CPU performance (relative to GPU performance) is holding back developers who want to push the level of graphics fidelity in their games. That's why CIG is implementing Mantle-support for Star Citizen, for example.
  • przemo_li - Friday, May 30, 2014 - link

    Where did You heard that?


    (Sad) story of the industry is that You need many backends. PS3 have its API, PS4 have its API, X360 have its API, XOne have its API, Win7 have its API, Win8 have its API, Linux/OSX have smae api but with different feature level supported. Android/iOS have their API, WinP have its API.

    You know where I'm going....
  • killeak - Friday, May 30, 2014 - link

    Is true that Direct3D 12 will be very similar to Mantle, but I really doubt that about OpenGL Next will be like that.

    While MS can rewrite the API from scratch, and they did that several times in the DX history, OpenGL is still based on the old state machine API from the '92. I don't see how Khronos can make an OpenGL that look like mantle or direct3D 12, without breaking compatibility and redesigning almost everything. They never did it, not with GL 2.0 nor 3 nor 4.

    So, no I won't have much hope in OpenGL 5 to be like Mantle or Direct3D 12. To be honest, OpenGL has it's place. Is a high level API that works in many different hardware in many different OS. We need an API like that for many things from small games to CAD apps, is just not ideal for big AAA games...
  • przemo_li - Friday, May 30, 2014 - link

    Duno about OpenGL.

    Khronos did not shared any such thoughts. And current ARB extensions lack in many palces compared to Mantle (memory management, parallelism, acces to engines on GPU, comand buffer construction).

    MS seam to follow on "general" terms. But they do not talk much about specifics to see how far apart or how similar concepts will be in both of them.
  • haikuginger - Thursday, May 29, 2014 - link

    Given that both major console players are using AMD hardware this generation, Mantle makes a lot of sense. It'd be a tough sell to get developers to write for it if it was for PC hardware only, but given that developers are already going to be optimizing for the AMD hardware in the Xbox One and the PS4, it's not that much of a stretch to apply the same optimizations to the PC space. AMD hardware in game consoles makes platform-specific code much more general-purpose.

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