AMD has released a beta version of Catalyst 14.1 that includes support for its Mantle API for the first time. The alternative to Direct3D and OpenGL should provide better performance in 3d games.
Mantle is available for AMD GPUs based on the Graphics Core Next architecture. In supported games, Mantle replaces the less efficient DirectX or OpenGL. According to AMD, Mantle provides less overhead on the cpu and is less likely to form a bottleneck for the gpu. Because developers get full access to the possibilities of the GPU, it is also easier to get the most out of a recent Radeon video card.
With the beta of Catalyst 14.1, AMD has with some delay released the first driver version that makes Mantle accessible to the PC gamer. Despite this, there are still few games that use Mantle, although EA released a Mantle patch for Battlefield 4 last week. The benchmark Star Swarm has also been adapted for AMD’s new api.
The speed gains that Mantle makes possible according to AMD seem to be achieved in practice. For example, in benchmarks of Legitreviews with a Sapphire Radeon R7 260X, significantly better performance can be seen in Battefield 4 and Star Swarm. As more games start to support Mantle, it will become clearer what speed gains can be expected on average.