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Earlier this week, AMD released the latest beta driver of its Catalyst driver software. Normally, a driver upgrade wouldn’t cause much fanfare. But this update, called Catalyst 14.1, is different.
Catalyst 14.1 introduces something called Mantle API. Some have called it the “biggest innovation in gaming since DirectX 9”.
What’s so innovative about Mantle? Basically, the goal of Mantle is to improve framerates. Every driver promises to improve framerates in some way or another, but Mantle looks like it actually has some significant performance upgrades at its back.
Specifically, Mantle promises to improve framerates by between 5% to 45% Games should achieve the higher end of that optimization line if they optimize their engines and coding to take full advantage of Mantle.
AMD released this note explaining how Mantle came to be:
Here’s how Mantle works and what it does:
-Mantle attempts to replicate console development architecture on PC, which would make it easier for developers to optimize their games to perform on all different types of hardware configurations
-Mantle uses frame pacing technology to “smooth the handoffs between multiple GPUs working together in a Crossfire alignment to an even and regular pace”
-So far, the only game optimized for Mantle is Battlefield 4, which has seen up to a 45% boost in framerates, although typical improvements lie around 30% – which is still a huge boost
-Another game built specifically to showcase Mantle delivers a 200% performance improvement when running the demo
-All of the following video cards will support Mantle: AMD Radeon R9 and R7, Radeon HD 8000 and 7000 series, A10-7000 and A8-7000
-Future updates should boost performance across all cards, although only the high end cards will see major improvements with the latest drivers.
How to download Mantle
If you have an AMD video card, then you can download the Mantle Beta driver here: http://support.amd.com/en-us/kb-articles/Pages/latest-catalyst-windows-beta.aspx
Simply download and install that driver to enjoy all the benefits listed above. If you’re an AMD user with one of the video cards listed above, this is a must-download.