AMD announce Mantle, a direct access graphics API that will debut in Battlefield 4
AMD are in a strong position right now, thanks to the presence of their GPUs in both of the 'next-gen' consoles. Yesterday, they revealed the next step in 'Operation: Make All The Graphics', which I assume is their codename for the global graphical domination they're so clearly chasing. It's called Mantle, and its a new low-level API that gives developers direct access to GPUs using AMD's Graphics Core Next architecture.
That makes it an alternative to the long-standing DirectX API, and one that could look increasingly attractive to developers - not least because, like OpenGL, it isn't exclusively locked to PCs. There are other benefits, too. Most notably that, unlike DirectX, it will allow PC developers direct access to the graphics RAM.
Your first chance to look at the API in action will be Battlefield 4. GCN-based GPUs will be able to render Frostbite 3 natively in Mantle, without the need for DirectX. Mantle support will arrive as a free update to Battlefield 4 in December.
AMD also revealed their "Hawaii" range of graphics cards, designed specifically to capitalise on the Graphics Core Next architecture that Mantle supports. "The AMD Radeon R9 and R7 Series graphics cards are new GPUs for a new era in gaming," claims *deep breath* corporate vice president and general manager, Graphics Business Unit, Matt Skynner. "This era is shaped by ultra-resolution gaming and an exciting new generation of highly-anticipated games like ‘Battlefield™ 4.’ But it’s also an era shaped in a very powerful way by our own Unified Gaming Strategy."
Incomprehensible buzzwords aside, it's clear AMD are attempting to capitalise on their current position, offering an easier way for developers to both support the next-gen consoles and optimise for PC.
Thanks, Tom's Hardware.