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Battlefield 4 Mantle Early Performance Testing

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Manufacturer: AMD

A quick look at performance results

Late last week, EA and Dice released the long awaited patch for Battlefield 4 that enables support for the Mantle renderer.  This new API technology was introduced by AMD back in September. Unfortunately, AMD wasn't quite ready for its release with their Catalyst 14.1 beta driver.  I wrote a short article that previewed the new driver's features, its expected performance with the Mantle version of BF4, and commentary about the current state of Mantle.  You should definite read that as a primer before continuing if you haven't yet.  

Today, after really just a few short hours with a useable driver, I have only limited results.  Still, I know that you, our readers, clamor for ANY information on the topic.  I thought I would share what we have thus far.

Initial Considerations

As I mentioned in the previous story, the Mantle version of Battlefield 4 has the biggest potential to show advantages in times where the game is more CPU limited.  AMD calls this the "low hanging fruit" for this early release of Mantle and claim that further optimizations will come, especially for GPU-bound scenarios.  Because of that dependency on CPU limitations, that puts some non-standard requirements on our ability to showcase Mantle's performance capabilities.

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For example, the level of the game and even the section of that level, in the BF4 single player campaign, can show drastic swings in Mantle's capabilities.  Multiplayer matches will also show more consistent CPU utilization (and thus could be improved by Mantle) though testing those levels in a repeatable, semi-scientific method is much more difficult.  And, as you'll see in our early results, I even found a couple instances in which the Mantle API version of BF4 ran a smidge slower than the DX11 instance.  

For our testing, we compiled two systems that differed in CPU performance in order to simulate the range of processors installed within consumers' PCs.  Our standard GPU test bed includes a Core i7-3960X Sandy Bridge-E processor specifically to remove the CPU as a bottleneck and that has been included here today.  We added in a system based on the AMD A10-7850K Kaveri APU which presents a more processor-limited (especially per-thread) system, overall, and should help showcase Mantle benefits more easily.

Continue reading our early look at the performance advantages of AMD Mantle on Battlefield 4!!

We have several other platforms setup for testing, with various graphics cards and processors (including a Core i3-4330), but testing will take quite a bit more time to get all of the results we want to present.

Test System 1

  • Intel Core i7-3960X
  • 16GB DDR3-1866 memory
  • ASUS R9 290X DirectCU II

Test System 2

  • AMD A10-7850K
  • 16GB DDR3-2133 memory
  • ASUS R9 290X DirectCU II

 

Testing Methodology

As you might be aware, we use a graphics performance testing methodology called Frame Rating for nearly all of our reviews.  This process uses capture hardware to record the output from the test PC that gets post-processed to evaluate real-world end user experience.  Unfortunately, for Mantle, our tools don't quite work yet. Dice helped us out though by integrating a new feature with the latest BF4 patch to enable frame time logging directly through the in-game console.

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PerfOverlay.FrameFileLogEnable 1 starts recording frame times to a CSV file.  Setting that variable to 0 will stop the recording.  All log files will find their way into the My Documents/Battlefield 4 folder.  Even better, because this is done at the engine level, we can get some interesting information from it.  Not only is the frame time for each display frame recorded,  we also get the GPU and CPU time for each frame as well.  This is interesting as it allows us to see how much time each individual component spent on each frame to check for bottlenecks on both ends.

THIS. IS. BETA!!

I'm sure you have all used beta Catalyst drivers before.  These are much different.  I might go as far as to consider these drivers, and the Mantle libraries themselves, in an "alpha" state.  There is a pretty sizeable list of known issues which AMD is being very upfront about.  Its includes the following:

  • Intermittent stuttering or stability issues may occur when utilizing Mantle with AMD CrossFire technology in BattleField 4
  • Mantle performance for the AMD Radeon HD 7000/HD 8000 Series GPUs and AMD Radeon R9 280X and R9 270X GPUs will be optimized for BattleField 4 in future AMD Catalyst releases. These products will see limited gains in BattleField 4 and AMD is currently investigating optimizations for them.
  • Notebooks based on AMD Enduro or PowerXpress technologies are currently not supported by the Mantle codepath in Battlefield 4.
  • AMD Eyefinity configurations utilizing portrait display orientations are currently not supported by the Mantle codepath in Battlefield 4.
  • Graphics hardware in the AMD A10-7850K and A10-7700K may override the presence of a discrete GPU under the Mantle codepath in Battlefield 4.
  • AMD testing for the AMD Catalyst 14.1 Beta has been concentrated on the following products: AMD Radeon R9 290X, R9 290, R9 280, R9 270, R7 260X, R7 260, HD 7000 Series, HD 8000 Series, A10-7850K and A10-7700K. Future AMD Catalyst releases will include full test coverage for all AMD products supported by Mantle.

The CrossFire stability issue, at least in my experience, is not a minor thing as I was never able to get it working properly on either an X79 platform or the A88X + Kaveri system.

In several talks with AMD this week I did express concern over this very early beta status of Mantle.  My fear is that with AMD having difficulty getting Mantle working with a single gaming title (Battlefield 4 today) after having a full month of extra time (remember the initial promised December release) does not bode well for Mantle in the long term.  AMD tells me that Mantle has been in the works for more than two years which should be enough to perfect the platform for these limited variables. It is possible that these growing pains of stability and performance are a one time occurrence to go along with a new graphics API.  But, once several or a dozen games are available using Mantle, how will AMD's support and development teams be able to handle it?

A Quick Note on Image Quality

I know that some of you are curious about the image quality comparisons between DX11 and Mantle codepaths.  Though I didn't do any testing in this story I did go to the man himself to ask the question.  Johan Andersson, Technical Director on Frostbite at Electronic Arts, told me quite clearly that "no, there shouldn't be any difference" in image quality between the two options in Battlefield 4.  I don't usually just take people at their word, but he is an exception!

Worst Case Scenario

Our standard level and section used for testing Battlefield 4 is the opening portions of the single player SP_Dam stage.  As it turns out, this section is quite GPU limited (as we would normally want for our GPU testing...) but this doesn't fair well for AMD's Mantle out of the gate.  Here are results with the Core i7-3960X and R9 290X at 2560x1600 with the Ultra preset.

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Click to Enlarge - Note the incorrect labeling here, it is NOT 1920x1080 but in fact 2560x1600

Results from both the Mantle version and the DX11 version are essentially the same here, averaging about 43 FPS.  That's a bit disappointing but, after the preparation from AMD about setting expectations, it more or less makes sense.  This is a high-end processor in a section of the game that is very GPU limited and thus we didn't expect to see a dramatic advantage for the Mantle API.  We did however expect to see SOME KIND of advantage...

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If we look at the CPU time graph though from these two runs, it is clear that BF4's Mantle implementation is having an effect.  Notice how much more consistent the CPU time is on the Mantle test run without any kind of spikes of CPU usage.  Our Core i7-3960X is definitely being utilized more efficiently although, in this particular combination of hardware and level, it just doesn't result in any performance advantages.

February 1, 2014 | 11:04 PM - Posted by jebo (not verified)

It's always great to get "free" extra performance, and a 30% increase is certainly impressive. But how many other hand developers will take the time to implement mantle when its benefits are limited to so few users/use cases?

I am however very interested to see how mantle impacts the mid/low range. For example I have a laptop with a Radeon 7750 and i7 CPU. Will it see any benefit?

February 1, 2014 | 11:07 PM - Posted by arbiter

But that 30% is if you have a a10 cpu with a r9 290, yea 170$ that is pretty bit bottle neck for a gpu that is 600+$ gpu. Reason this is a problem is only get this in game with mantle, which there won't be many games with it for a while if any other dev's decide to support it.

February 2, 2014 | 04:45 AM - Posted by JohnGR (not verified)

Few users? You serious? Most people have a dual core or quad core processor, and in many cases an old dual/quad core processor. If Mantle does good and doesn't look like an alpha/beta forever, in the future AMD gpus will be the best option for everyone with a low/mid range system except if Maxwell is a low power consumption/high performance beast.

February 1, 2014 | 11:11 PM - Posted by puppetworx (not verified)

Interesting results; mostly contrary to what I have seen elsewhere but also far more detailed. The majority of the testing that I have seen which gives Mantle the advantage has been at 1080p not 1600p, perhaps that is where the difference lies?

February 2, 2014 | 12:57 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Yeah really. Every other review of Mantle out there has shown gains from 10% to as high as 40% depending on configuration. Reviews using 4670K, 3970X, 4770K paired with 290 or 290X all showing those 10 to 40% gains.

http://www.computerbase.de/artikel/grafikkarten/2014/erste-eindruecke-zu...
http://www.golem.de/news/amds-mantle-api-im-test-der-prozessor-katalysat...
http://www.legitreviews.com/amd-mantle-api-real-world-bf4-benchmark-perf...
http://www.legitreviews.com/amd-mantle-api-real-world-bf4-benchmark-perf...

here at pcper nothing and no gains. laughable but to be expected from pcper i suppose. maybe the reviewer just suffering from serious PEBKAC.. lol

February 2, 2014 | 12:58 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

more

http://anandtech.com/show/7728/battlefield-4-mantle-preview

February 2, 2014 | 02:40 PM - Posted by Jacob (not verified)

You're sufferring from serious "can not read" issues, the single player results are inline with most of what i read online, the multiplayer results, with mp being much more cpu intensive show performance gains of 27% and 32% which certainly make sense.

May 30, 2014 | 06:44 AM - Posted by Tia (not verified)

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Of the sexually transmitted diseases that researchers examined for the most common was HPV.

These young individuals are smart and accountable.

my page std exam (Tia)

February 2, 2014 | 01:07 AM - Posted by Ryan Shrout

I clearly show performance gains in our multiplayer testing. And I discuss how our specific single player testing location is a worst case scenario. Did you rtfa?

February 2, 2014 | 03:02 AM - Posted by puppetworx (not verified)

I read it but I did miss that about the single player being at the very worst part of the game for GPU, that explains it then. Considering how most other sites are using different sections of the game this is valuable data to have.

For the record I wasn't complaining or criticising, I was curious and I specifically referenced singleplayer, not multiplayer, because that's where I saw the difference between your review and others. Now I understand why.

February 2, 2014 | 03:33 AM - Posted by puppetworx (not verified)

Actually I see I didn't explicitly reference singleplayer, but since you tested SP at 1600p and MP at 1080p that's what I implied, that's probably where the misunderstanding was.

February 2, 2014 | 03:11 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Ryan how did you record framerate?
Fraps doesnt work with Mantle nor any other benchmarking software...

February 2, 2014 | 05:37 AM - Posted by snook

ryan said: "PerfOverlay.FrameFileLogEnable 1 starts recording frame times to a CSV file. Setting that variable to 0 will stop the recording. All log files will find their way into the My Documents/Battlefield 4 folder."

it's in the article.

February 2, 2014 | 07:22 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Why are you talking about something you are clueless about?
That command is for measuring frametimes not frame rate.
It s in the article. :)

February 2, 2014 | 08:30 AM - Posted by Ryan Shrout

Once you have the frametimes is quite easy to calculate frame rates using basic math.

February 2, 2014 | 10:48 AM - Posted by snook

Mr. clueless to you. :P as ryan says above, it can be calculated. or as a clueless man such as myself would do, i would just hit "~" and type perfoverlay.drawfps 1.

your turn :0

February 2, 2014 | 11:33 AM - Posted by Ryan Shrout

Once we have the individual frame times calculating the frame rate is pretty simple.

Add up all the frame times until they equal around 1000 (for 1000 ms).  Then divide by the number of frames.  OR average all the frame times and then divide that into 1000.  Ta da.

February 2, 2014 | 03:17 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Don't get upset with him. Be upset at yourself Ryan for being lazy.

Other sites provided vastly more information and setups then these two you provided.

Our best case scenario resulted in huge performance gains for the AMD hardware when tested on multiplayer maps that have a lot more work for the CPU to do. 27% and 32% average frame rate increases are clearly a very important data point for AMD although you have to wonder, based on our two wildly different result sets, which of these is going to be the norm and which will be the outlier.

More than likely the truth lies somewhere in the middle.

If your just providing very limited data to your readers and other sites provide a great more setup scenarios and data what do you expect when your article is late and extremely lacking.

February 2, 2014 | 08:31 AM - Posted by Ryan Shrout

Sigh. The claim about "being lazy" is just about the WORST thing I could have read here.  In truth we have about 8-10 hours of testing that we DID NOT include for other hardware setups thanks to AMD's last minute changes to the driver, etc, including not recommending multi-GPU configs.  Also, we had set aside many hours on Wednesday for testing, but didn't get a driver that was promised.  Then we set aside time on Thursday, same result.  Same on Friday, but we didn't get a driver until 6pm local time.  

And it may surprise you but I have a family and stuff.

February 2, 2014 | 12:11 PM - Posted by snook

lol, you have the patience of Job, Ryan.

i would have strangled mantle "out of the box".

February 2, 2014 | 03:42 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I could have never guessed you had a family from the maturity shown in your live streams shows.

My condolences to your spouse. He/She deserves it if your throwing them under the bus for a lousy article.

Strange that I haven't read any bickering in other articles who've setup multiple hardware scenarios.

Your maturity and professionalism shines through alright. Stay classy.

It's your job after all.

February 2, 2014 | 09:40 PM - Posted by snook

lol, you have lost the argument/debate when personal attacks against his treatment of spouse and children are your only play.

you know less about that than you did about his time spent testing mantle. congrats on being a zero sum man/woman.

February 2, 2014 | 10:20 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

In fairness the guy was pointing out something ryan already had said himself. Ryan shouldn't have used it as an excuse if he didn't want people pointing it out.

Bad all around.

February 3, 2014 | 05:21 AM - Posted by snook

perhaps, but he spoke from a position that intimated ryan was a poor husband and father because of comments/actions ryan has made. which he couldn't possibly know.

I could, however, point out that the posters mother didn't teach him manners and lacked them herself and that any woman that is around him suffers due to his mothers incompetence, i would be closer to truth than he was.

and it's always best to clean your own house first, prior to pointing out the dirt in someone else's.

your points are valid in that if he puts something out there he could get it back in spades.

February 2, 2014 | 09:48 PM - Posted by pdjblum

Perhaps the only thing juvenile Ryan did was respond to your post, as absurd and malicious as it was. The ironic thing is that I cannot recall one time where Ryan responded to a post from me with a direct question to him, despite those being nice posts. Ryan, maybe you should be more inclined to respond to neutral or positive legitimate posts rather than negative, illegitimate posts.

February 3, 2014 | 05:26 AM - Posted by snook

I have had the opposite experience. both ryan and josh have responded on several occasions to my questions (mine are noobishly stupid inquiries mostly) so they may feel sorry for me. I encourage you to keep asking, they will respond eventually.

February 3, 2014 | 01:28 PM - Posted by pdjblum

ok, thanks snook, but it has been really frustrating.

February 3, 2014 | 01:54 PM - Posted by snook

I hear ya. follow them on twitter if you use it. every question Ive asked there gets a quick response generally.

February 3, 2014 | 11:34 AM - Posted by Trav (not verified)

...you go through the effort of insulting him...but do it anonymously???
That sir...makes you a PUS%Y!!! .....BHAHAHAHAAHAAAHAAAA!!!

February 3, 2014 | 01:55 PM - Posted by snook

were you able to note if mantle was leveraging the iGPU along with the discrete GPU? or am i getting mantle and HSA confused?

February 1, 2014 | 11:14 PM - Posted by DPM (not verified)

I have an FX-8350 and HD7850 so I'm not an enthusiast by any means. I am personally excited about these results because it may extend the length of time between GPU upgrades. Even then, I might get a few GPU upgrades in before I upgrade the CPU since the CPU bottle-necking is something that Mantle seems to handle well. The amount of work that has gone into this must have been daunting. I mean, running a AAA title without DX11 must require thousands of man-hours of development time.

As others have said, free performance is awesome. Although I would like to know more about the developer implementation. Is it painfully complex? Does it require specialists, training, or partnering with AMD developers? In other words, is Mantle something that will be a chip-shot for developers to add in for great performance returns?

February 2, 2014 | 05:47 AM - Posted by snook

once i realized CF wasn't working properly, i took one card out and ran my 8350 with a single 7850. FPS range was between ~25-60 (using ultra preset), I was using the "eye the FPS counter" method :) so accuracy is spotty. visually it looked smoother to me than DX11 did.

February 3, 2014 | 07:24 PM - Posted by RB (not verified)

I have an 8350 and xfire 7850s and I saw a HUGE decrease in performance. 5-12 fps. What the heck...

February 1, 2014 | 11:46 PM - Posted by wujj123456

I will wait for mainstream review. I honestly think an 4-core i5/i7 + 290X/290/280/270 will be the point most people interested in. We all kinda know what worst and best case will be, but most important question is how many people will it affect and how it will impact purchase decisions if the games you play happens to support Mantle.

February 2, 2014 | 02:15 AM - Posted by arbiter

Well what games support mantle comes down to how much work does the dev have to put in to use it. Don't think we will get an answer to that question for a while yet. Cost of adding it has to be worth it to the game maker else well, it won't matter.

February 2, 2014 | 12:19 AM - Posted by Nacelle

I have a 2500k @ 4.2ghz, an R9 290 @1100mhz, and Eyefinity 6048x1080. BF4 Mantle is a fail. It runs slower and doesn't look as good. I played a couple minutes and switched back to DX11.

February 2, 2014 | 02:21 AM - Posted by arbiter

Yea that is one thing that is the question, is how does graphics quality of mantle compare to DX11. If graphics are less complex with mantle then DX11, that could contribute to some of the performance difference.

February 2, 2014 | 12:57 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

This was a horrible testing setup.

February 2, 2014 | 02:19 AM - Posted by arbiter

I think ryan was going for seeing if the numbers AMD and Dice put out were legit or just marketing attempt to make it look better then it is. AMD has had problems with making claims as of late that tend NOT to hold water when reviewers do the test's.

February 2, 2014 | 08:32 AM - Posted by Ryan Shrout

In actuality, I was attempting to make Mantle look as good as possible by including and focusing on the A10-7850K.

February 2, 2014 | 12:58 AM - Posted by nobodyspecial (not verified)

So what difference does extra perf make, if you're still under (well under) 30fps at 1080p and 1600p? If mins are below 30, this doesn't represent how you'd play right? It is pretty pointless to show cases where you would not play anyway. Raise your hand if you want to run 17fps etc just to show mantle can work? I see no hands ;)

Ryan,

I think you should strive to make sure results hit 30fps+ min so we can see actual usage scenarios as anything under this is worthless. Also with phase2 of the frame pacing fix in here, how do we know it's actually Mantle doing the smoothing out, vs. the Phase2 fixes? Wouldn't you have to test the previous driver vs. this one in dx11 or something to see if it is gaining from the frame pacing fixes or to some degree just a driver upgrade also? Most drivers these days get 5-20% over many games from both sides (some even larger), so I'm wondering how much is a driver/phase2 gain vs. how much is REALLY Mantle only showing greatness (or not)? I hope when you have more time to play with this (clearly just a preview of sorts here) you can include some tests that prove it really is mantle here.

Other than that, I'm left fairly unimpressed. It seems to be great in situations I would never land in (never run below 30fps, and never pair a putz cpu/apu with a $500+ gpu). From results here anandtech, etc, it seems it will be lucky to catch a 780TI OC model (which still wins as tomshardware shows in the 290/290x NON REF review of 4 cards, 780ti OC won by ~10%) and even then ONLY when a dev has used mantle. We have to assume with spending $8mil + 2yrs (as Johan said, two years working with AMD on mantle, should be far better IMHO), this is the best any other dev will likely be able to do. That thought is even less impressive. Maybe I'll think more of it as we see other cards more evenly matched with their cpu/apu. But I'm thinking even then you won't get much because this seems to be geared to making a crap cpu slightly less crappy ;) I buy top or one step down these days when I upgrade.

February 2, 2014 | 02:40 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

This is an unmitigated disaster. In typical AMD fashion, a big FUCK YOU goes out to those that purchased anything but the very latest in AMD gpu tech, namely the 290 and 290x. Bought a 7900 series card based on vague promises of mantle made nearly a year ago? Fuck you. Do you like using more than one card? Fuck you. Frame delivery is something that you care about? Fuck you. Eyefinity? Let's not even go there.

Yep, another class act from AMD. Programming a motherf***ing API to compete with DirectX is no small undertaking. It requires the very very best in software engineering. Did you guys really expect AMD (who can't write a decent driver to save their lives) to do a better job than the entrenched and much-iterated on DirectX?

You know, I was a big AMD fan from back in the day. Sticking it to the man, higher performance for lower price, less shady business bullshit, just straight up honest and awesome hardware. My first CPU was an Athlon.

But now? I don't recognize this company anymore, and it's about time that people like Ryan start calling AMD out, because with no criticism there is no improvement. Look how much of a scandal it took for AMD to even acknowledge their bullshit crossfire stuttering, much less do something about it. Hell, I would know, I had tri-fire 6970s! And I bought 7970s in trifire too, now they just sit there mining, while I play on GTX 680s.

It's time to tell AMD it's not acceptable to make flat out IMPOSSIBLE PROMISES like they did with Bulldozer when honest people went and bought FM motherboards only to be brought to tears when the Bulldozer chip came out nearly a full fucking year later, with performance that would have been ok, not great, 3 years prior.

This mantle shit is the same all over again. Buy a 7970 guys, Mantle will "something something decimate Nvidia". Now we find out the 7000 series can go fuck itself, optimizations (i.e. getting that shit to work) will be done "at a later time". And even the cream of the crop newest-of-the-new cards are shitting the bed. Well done!

Also, one final commentary. If you're going to showcase a new graphics API that is intended to change the world, why in the world would you partner up with DICE and EA? DICE has NEVER released a working game from day 1, and their inability to grasp basic quality control is somewhat of a legend. I mean, really.

February 2, 2014 | 05:07 AM - Posted by snook

two things:

1. thanks for using paragraphs to break up that wall of text.

2. it was an ill-informed wall of text.

I'm all for everyone jumping off the AMD bandwagon, leaves me more elbow room.

February 2, 2014 | 08:35 AM - Posted by Ryan Shrout

It is clearly NOT a disaster as I showed some really compelling results on the second page.  Do I think AMD has a lot of work yet to do on it though?  Yes.

February 2, 2014 | 09:47 AM - Posted by Ryan D. (not verified)

Totally 100% agree with this man. I jumped to Nvidia years ago when seeing how bad AMD is breing run and their software is just a mess. Typical Indian coders at work for low pay....

February 2, 2014 | 12:17 PM - Posted by snook

accurately: how bad it WAS being ran. you did manage to work in some ethic stereotyping, kudos :/

February 2, 2014 | 02:49 AM - Posted by Paul Keeble (not verified)

They really didn't give you guys enough time to do this justice. 24 hours, over a weekend of all things ahead of the users.

Would like to see the 3960X in multiplayer, based on elsewhere it looks like it would be around 5-10%.

I guess its nice that you can pair a lower powered CPU with a higher end GPU and get good performance, but no gamer would do that today because BF4 is the only game to support it, and for you to see signficant benefits you basically have to use a lower end CPU.

In a more balanced scenario of 3960X + 290X and say a A10-7850K + 260 I suspect the benefits are not as great. But that is what I would like to see you do next along with an FCAT check as well.

February 2, 2014 | 05:25 AM - Posted by snook

all good points. I think pairing the 7850k APU with a 270X or 280x. seems to be a good all AMD option that hits in the entry/mid level budget and is a reasonable build scenario. likewise, the same cards paired with an intel 3570k or something similar.

mantle could open doors to a better gaming experience for more people and that is a good thing.

February 2, 2014 | 08:36 AM - Posted by Ryan Shrout

Thank you for recognizing the time constraint!!

February 2, 2014 | 02:50 AM - Posted by Mark Strong

In all fairness doesn't it come down to the ability of AMD to get developers to accept this as a standard in order for this to even be an actual issue.

Outside of a few key titles what kind of support can we honestly expect beyond that?

While I appreciate the hard work of AMD in trying to get the most out of their hardware. Shouldn't that development time instead be put towards improvements in their cards performance overall instead of just under this particular set of code.

What should have been if this was going to be the dominant force that was preached to the populace these many months was an absolute devastating difference between performance with mantle and without. Instead they come out with a wide range of variance and relying upon semantics to make what they claim even roughly valid.

To be perfectly clear, Nvidia seems to have a comfortable lead time on the production of their newer architecture system that will grant them the time to test it fully and solve most of the issues. Given this meager showing from mantle I would probably say that the concerns of the Nvidia management about this new competition were ultimately unfounded. So with that being said I could see them stretching the life span of their current cards, with only special filler cards to come in to assuage certain segments of the market (750ti / black titan).

Unless AMD has some sort of secret project in the works with new advancements in fabrication technologies, I couldn't in good faith say that the prospects are very bright for this manufacturer.

As always Ryan, we the community appreciate your diligence and hard work that goes into the production of these reviews.

February 2, 2014 | 09:43 PM - Posted by snook

I saw no improvement (not in FPS) on my set-up; 8350 with 7850 in CF. AMD said as much, that it isn't optimized for all GCN cards yet.. that is refreshing.
the visuals are the same, ultra looks like ultra, not worse. not better.

in this comment section it's mentioned that a 780Ti @ 10% better is a win. but, mantle @ 10% better is a loss! nice brain stem you got there.

lastly, can we please have less armchair gurus pointing out ryan's faults in testing? you don't run benchmarks for me but love to correct ryan who does, without hesitation. go after jeremy, he needs it :P

this release shows promise and AMD did a good job bringing the idea to market. it will get better.

-snook

February 2, 2014 | 02:56 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

My experience so far with it: I have an 2600k paired with a 7970 and I saw my avg fps go from about 60 to about 70 in bf4 with settings at ultra and AA set just above minimum, that comes out to about %17 increase!
That being said, image quality looks the same in both api's, but the problem is mantle causing the game to crash. I just wanted to check out the performance increase and it is there for sure, but I may go back to previous driver until bugs get worked out so game doesn't crash as often.

February 2, 2014 | 05:29 AM - Posted by snook

I just disabled mantle through the in-game menu.
I think the drivers are fine, the patch has a couple of new bugs...at zero cost to the gamer also, lol.

February 2, 2014 | 08:38 AM - Posted by Ryan Shrout

Thanks for the feedback.  Do you know at what section/map you were testing to see that performance gain?

February 3, 2014 | 11:27 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I played for a few hours over this past weekend on pretty much all maps and I still got the same results, but bf4 would crash at random times. I might go a whole hour before it crashed and other times the game would start to load and it would crash then, almost as if by using mantle I'm going back in time to when bf4 first released, lol.
In all honesty, perfoverlay.drawfps was consistently showing me numbers around 65 - 72 almost all the times(with vsync off of course).
When I switched back to dx11 and play for about an hour, I noticed that the fps would be about 55 - 60(again, with vsync off).
If I had never switched drawfps on, I would have never noticed any difference in performance, but it is nice to know that it is there.

February 2, 2014 | 11:58 AM - Posted by tbone (not verified)

in your conclusion...

damned if you do, damned if you don't.

I'm glad Amd released this even if it wasn't ready.

they just got you and everybody else to test it for them ;)

February 2, 2014 | 12:28 PM - Posted by snook

DX vs. Mantle, my prediction: M$ will release an update to DX that will integrate Mantle, win for the developers. thus ending the debate, a win for the internetz. mark it.

February 2, 2014 | 04:08 PM - Posted by asdf (not verified)

This site's been in the same basked as pclab.pl for quite a while. Anyone mentioning them is laugh at in a pretty hardcore way.

February 2, 2014 | 07:21 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

those laughing are mostly fanboys blinded by numbers anyway.
If it wasn't for Ryan they'd still be driving their useless crossfire junk spamming meaningless numbers/reviews all over the place.

PCPer calls it as it is.
keep up the good work guys!

February 2, 2014 | 09:50 PM - Posted by snook

without PCper, i would not have found the other sites I frequent for testing/reviews.

at no point have they pulled anything close to a PClab like, liefest.

he's a trolling.

February 2, 2014 | 09:46 PM - Posted by snook

the untruth is strong with asdf.

February 2, 2014 | 04:44 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I want mobility support for Mantle...

February 2, 2014 | 04:46 PM - Posted by K3mical (not verified)

Ryan could it also be that mantle in not yet optimized for resolutions higher than 1080p yet?

February 3, 2014 | 05:04 AM - Posted by icebug

One thing that I don't like about this update on BF4 is that I have to turn off my integrated GPU in order to get everything to run correctly. Kind of a bummer since I have OBS working with the iGPU to do twitch streaming. Guess I'll just have to turn it off when it's BF4 time and turn it back on afterwards.

February 3, 2014 | 05:04 AM - Posted by icebug

One thing that I don't like about this update on BF4 is that I have to turn off my integrated GPU in order to get everything to run correctly. Kind of a bummer since I have OBS working with the iGPU to do twitch streaming. Guess I'll just have to turn it off when it's BF4 time and turn it back on afterwards.

February 3, 2014 | 08:56 AM - Posted by Searching4Sasquatch (not verified)

I can understand these major issues with other titles...but to have this many major issues in the single poster-child for mantle???

They've had MONTHS to get it working well and have Johan there to custom tailor the game around it...yet they can only have ops for 4 GPUs, no XFIRE, they break frame-pacing, etc...

What is a developer (who didn't get that fat check from AMD like Dice did) supposed to do? Seems like a ton of risky code to implement with significant potential issues in trade for questionable gains.

Great job on the article Ryan. Crappy way to spend a weekend though!

February 4, 2014 | 04:42 AM - Posted by snook

I agree that with mantle CF is unplayable. what im getting feels like being hit by a bullet in-game...it knocks the screen image around kinda.

the update from DICE and the 14.1 driver using DX11 are sweet and frame pacing works well, smoother than I've ever gotten.

been waiting a long time for this and I have time to spend waiting some more. AMD is a huge ship that was headed south, turning it around to a north heading is going to be slow and painful. my two favorite things.

February 3, 2014 | 11:51 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

With all due respect, Ryan. I like the reviews but please just put a little more time in your plots. They have always been very fuzzy and faded.

And when you make a typo (like 1920x1080) couldn't you go back to Excel and change the title?

I am not trying to tell you how to run your site. But, I can't help but wonder, don't you have a little "perfectionist" in you? Don't you take pride in presenting your work?

February 3, 2014 | 02:39 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Glad I read this...DX 11 is a standard way of doing things , and this Mantle sounds very limited.
It`s not going to change the world.

Engadget said...AnandTech and HotHardware have used almost-final Mantle drivers to achieve frame-rate gains of at least 7-10 percent in BF4, rising to 30 percent with some configurations, by doing away with the need for Microsoft's relatively inefficient DirectX drivers.

Ryan tells us what it really does.

February 4, 2014 | 02:13 AM - Posted by Buyers

My experience so far (i5-2500K @ 4.3GHz, MSI HD7950, 8G DDR3-1866,1080P, mostly Ultra settings, Win7pro x64): I ran a 10 minute run on Siege of Shanghai under both Mantle and DX11, logging the runs with the built in performance monitor. DX11 was ~66fps and Mantle gave me ~73fps. An increase of ~10.6%. HOWEVER, in the latter few minutes of the run, Mantle starts to hiccup and stutter annoyingly bad.

Checking the log file shows that the Max CPU Time keeps spiking, as high as 776ms (~1.3fps minimum), frequently (40+ instances over 10min) saw spikes above 100ms (10fps) whereas the Max GPU Time only got as high as 47ms (~21fps minimum). At first i thought it may be another background program using the cpu to do misc work, so i closed programs and minimized the number of necessary startup programs and retried. Still get the awful stutter. I set BF4 to High Priority in the task manager to prioritize it over other cpu usage and still get the stutter. The Render.DrawScreenInfo option shows 3 job threads on my 4core processor. Not sure what the issue is.

My DX11 runs, while having a lower average fps, gave me much more consistent frame rates. Max CPU Time only spiked up to 54ms (18.5fps min), Max Frame Time up to 44ms (22.7fps min), and Max GPU Time up to 27.9ms(35.8fps min)
Perhaps this is part of the 7000 series optimizations they mention, but it seems like it isn't the GPU that is having issues because GPU Time under each API is low without spiking. I think if i can fix the CPU Time spikes, i'll see a bigger performance increase under Mantle. I'll see if i can force it to use a 4th cpu thread and retry also. As it stands, i think i'm going to wait for another patch or two before i really switch over to Mantle.

Ryan, if you read this, can you run your tests out further than a minute on future testing? My first major spike doesnt come until about 4min in. Maybe its an issue that manifests itself over time? Others are speculating that its a PunkBuster issue, where its trying to take a system screenshot. Some also suspecting GPU clocks changing due to power requirements or heat.

February 4, 2014 | 03:09 AM - Posted by Alex fps (not verified)

Can you guys do 64 player server comparison between DX 11 and Mantle.
In 64 players in DX 11 there are major dips in frames under heavy action.
Am curious to see how Mantle min fps in high load scenarios does.

February 4, 2014 | 02:41 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2CQ2aq8yaN8

Watch that video ^

#fuckamd #amdisfornoobs

February 4, 2014 | 06:01 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Someone should have told that guy 290(X)s scale 20% better then 780s in BF4. Then you add mantle boost. Even if he plugs that 4th card in he is going to be slower then a 290(X) tri-fire setup.

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