Battlefield 4 demoed with AMD's Mantle during CES conference, runs "up to 45% faster"
If PC gaming is a romance, then DirectX represents the high-school era. It's the thing that's passing notes between your games and your graphics cards, possibly while getting a bit bashful and giggling. Cute as this image is, it's hardly the most efficient way to foster a relationship. Step in AMD's new low-level API, Mantle, which has been designed to allow games to directly access GPUs. That sounds like a good thing, although it's going to be awkward when Battlefield 4 realises that your graphics card has been seeing other games behind its back.
At AMD's CES conference, Battlefield 4 was demoed on-stage running the Mantle API. It was presented alongside the claim that it could run "up to 45% faster than the original version on this same hardware." Meaning, up to 45% faster than the DirectX equivalent. You can watch the relevant section at the 31 minute mark of the below video.
Really, there's not much we can tell from the footage - especially when it contains a couple of embarrassing lag spikes. If AMD's performance quotes are accurate, though, it'll be a welcome streamlining of performance. Mantle is currently lined up for support in over twenty games - both current and upcoming - including Battlefield 4, Thief, Star Citizen and Sniper Elite 3.
It'll be interesting to see how AMD plan to handle multiple vendor support. Mantle is designed specifically for GCN cards, but AMD have also claimed that certain functionality will be supported in existing modern cards. That could also include Nvidia. While there must be a temptation to keep the tech proprietary, it'll be difficult to promote mass adoption by locking out a significant portion of the PC market.