Saturday, February 1st 2014

AMD Passes On Catalyst 14.1 beta to the Press, Public Release Shortly

After last minute hiccups, AMD managed to release Catalyst 14.1 beta to the press. The driver brings along the first release of Mantle, AMD's ambitious 3D graphics API to rival Direct3D and OpenGL. Installing the driver was less than straightforward. We couldn't just install the driver over our Catalyst 13.12 WHQL installation like we normally do. A driver cleanup and reinstalling did the trick. Catalyst 14.1 beta enables the 3D renderer option in Battlefield 4, which lets you choose between DirectX 11.1 and Mantle.

Our first (subjective) impression, is that we couldn't tell the difference. Our Radeon R9 290 already offered frame-rates well above 60 FPS (1920 x 1080, Ultra, 4x MSAA), on Direct3D, and so we never really stood to gain anything that makes the game more playable than it already was. What could have been interesting, was to see how Mantle makes the lives of R9 270X owners better, who could see frame-rates drop below 60 FPS at our settings. According to a change-log of the driver posted by Guru3D, AMD hasn't optimized Mantle for any of the Graphics CoreNext (GCN) based GPUs other than Radeon R9 290 series, R9 260X, and A-Series "Kaveri" APUs.

We gave Battlefield 4 and the Catalyst 14.1 a quick spin. Our test bed included an AMD FX-8350 chip at stock frequencies, 8 GB of DCh DDR3-1333 memory, an AMD 990FX motherboard (ASUS M5A99FX-PRO R2.0, 2201 BIOS, UEFI mode); Windows 8.1 64-bit, and of course, a Radeon R9 290 (BIOS: 015.042.000.000.003747). The GPU is into high-end territory, but the rest of the bed is still what we'd like to call an "aspirational mainstream" build (one that's penny-pinching but shouldn't bottleneck high-end GPUs). Game settings included 1920 x 1080 pixels resolution, disabled V-Sync, "Ultra" preset, HBAO, and 4x MSAA. We used the "PerfOverlay.FrameFileLogEnable 1" console command to spit out CSV files with frame-times in ms, from which we drew average frame-times (time in ms taken to draw a frame), and derived frames per second. Switching between renderers requires game restarts.

The screenshots above are not from the testing session. In the first run, we chose the Direct3D renderer. Battlefield 4 takes advantage of DirectX 11.1 (feature-level 11.1) on the R9 290. We employed a 167-second play through the single-player campaign chapter "Fishing in Baku," with a constant save-point, where our heroes are fighting their way through hordes of enemies to reach their extraction point. We obtained an average frame-time of 16.26 ms, which works out to 61.5 fps. For Mantle, we overshot the 167-second mark, and played on for 184 seconds (we quit at the same point in in the game as our Direct3D run). The average frame-time was 14.45 ms, which works out to 69.2 fps. Overall, a 12.5 percent performance uplift. On a side-note, in the screenshots above, which we took merely to show you that the Mantle renderer is active, the game is doing 1280 x 720 pixels, and windowed. This is a CPU-limited scenario. The performance uplift is higher.

Overall, Mantle is far from being termed vaporware. It works like gangbusters, and we couldn't visually tell the difference in game effects between it and Direct3D. Performance gains are tangible, and if AMD gets it to work like it should on mid-thru-performance segment GPUs such as the R9 270 series and R9 280 series; not to mention HD 7800 series and HD 7900 series, AMD owners could be in for a neat free performance upgrade, heck even lower-mainstream chips like the R7 260X and HD 7790 should turn from being 1080p-capable to 1080p-worthy. Mantle works to reduce the API-level overheads imposed on the rest of the system (the CPU, main memory, etc.), in processing graphics. The more CPU-limited the scenario, the better the performance uplift. AMD tells us that public release of Catalyst 14.1 beta should be posted on the company website shortly.
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64 Comments on AMD Passes On Catalyst 14.1 beta to the Press, Public Release Shortly

#1
Cheeseball
GIVE IT TO ME ARRGHHG#@!#!@^*#%*!%!*^#%!*^%#123#!@#(*&^UPTON
Posted on Reply
#3
Yellow&Nerdy?
A bit disappointed over the limited GPUs that support Mantle thus far: seems like only GCN 1.1 GPUs are supported. Hopefully support for GCN 1.0 GPUs will soon follow.
Posted on Reply
#4
btarunr
Editor & Senior Moderator
Yellow&Nerdy? said:
A bit disappointed over the limited GPUs that support Mantle thus far: seems like only GCN 1.1 GPUs are supported. Hopefully support for GCN 1.0 GPUs will soon follow.
DICE has a driver that gives them similar performance gains on an HD 7970. So a public release with optimizations for other GCN GPUs shouldn't be too far off.
Posted on Reply
#5
tokyoduong
Yellow&Nerdy? said:
A bit disappointed over the limited GPUs that support Mantle thus far: seems like only GCN 1.1 GPUs are supported. Hopefully support for GCN 1.0 GPUs will soon follow.
Oh man, free stuff, so disappointing.

Q: What hardware is supported with Mantle?
A: At this time, the following Graphics Core Next-based products are supported:
  • AMD Radeon™ R9 Series graphics
  • AMD Radeon™ R7 Series graphics
  • AMD Radeon™ HD 7000 Series graphics
  • AMD Radeon™ HD 8000 Series graphics
  • 2014 AMD A-Series APUs (“Kaveri”)
Posted on Reply
#6
Yellow&Nerdy?
btarunr said:
DICE has a driver that gives them similar performance gains on an HD 7970. So a public release with optimizations for other GCN GPUs shouldn't be too far off.
That's one of the reasons I'm a bit confused about it... But I guess the driver doesn't run stably enough on GCN 1.0 GPUs yet for AMD to give it out to the public.
tokyoduong said:
Oh man, free stuff, so disappointing.
I'm not complaining about Mantle itself; I'm excited to get it, that's why I can hardly wait to give it a go.
Posted on Reply
#7
TheGuruStud
Fluffmeister said:
Some nice tests here involving a 290X and GTX 780 Ghz using various processors:

http://pclab.pl/art55953-3.html

That 780 sure hates being CPU limited, Mantle could do it wonders. :p
Ugh, PClab is garbage. They'll show a 780 beating a 290(X) in D3D while every other reviewer shows the 780 being easily surpassed

This is the same crap that was posted in the anand thread about mantle drivers (people were arguing about multithreaded driver support from AMD and pclab benchmarks were posted for a 780 that owned everything....only for real results to be posted in response showing it to be a little faster than a 7970, which is correct).
Posted on Reply
#8
tokyoduong
Yellow&Nerdy? said:
That's one of the reasons I'm a bit confused about it... But I guess the driver doesn't run stably enough on GCN 1.0 GPUs yet for AMD to give it out to the public.

I'm not complaining about Mantle itself; I'm excited to get it, that's why I can hardly wait to give it a go.
If your system runs the game fine right now, then i wouldn't worry about it. There will be glitches you will encounter. What you should really look forward to is the future games. EA is not pushing Mantle on BF4 for BF4. They are pushing Mantle for their Frostbite engine. It sounds like most of their AAA titles in the future will utilize Frostbite 3. Mantle support for BF4 sounds more like a trial run for them.

I'm waiting to see how this will affect Tom Clancy's Division. That game already look awesome. If I can get high/ultra settings on my lowly 7850, that would be awesome. I miss the old 8800GTX days where it lasted for years instead of just 1.
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#9
Eroticus
Thanks ! waiting to files :P
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#10
VulkanBros
Hmm - I guess I´ll have to ditch my GTX 770 for a R290X.......
Oh well - lets see some reviews and tests first :ohwell:
Posted on Reply
#11
Divide Overflow
btarunr said:
Overall, Mantle is far from being termed vaporware. It works like gangbusters, and we couldn't visually tell the difference in game effects between it and Direct3D. Performance gains are tangible...
Exciting news! Thanks for the quick feedback!!
Posted on Reply
#12
m0nt3
I want to see minimum framerates. Especially some of the maps that have bad drops into the 30's fps(paracel storm at B, Hainan Resort at C are the biggest problem areas) and that is regardless of quality/resolution settings.
Posted on Reply
#13
west7
i've been waiting for TPU nembers thank you sir:clap:
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#14
progste
I wonder how mantle affects frame stability other than raw fps, can't wait to see more about this tech
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#15
bogami
Idea is not new and has long been known;) !since the beginning of the development and use dual-core processors ! we want to use their full potential .That the engines coming Finally, I will say:rockout:.
Only the rights are turning the big bucks and stick to another outdated technology they in every way they wish to sell !
Finally, I will say for a few sentences of software supportwhich is becoming virtually obligatory for emerging technologies !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!:clap:
Posted on Reply
#16
progste
bogami said:
Idea is not new and has long been known;) !since the beginning of the development and use dual-core processors ! we want to use their full potential .That the engines coming Finally, I will say:rockout:.
Only the rights are turning the big bucks and stick to another outdated technology they in every way they wish to sell !
Finally, I will say for a few sentences of software supportwhich is becoming virtually obligatory for emerging technologies !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!:clap:
google translate doesn't work that well, does it?
Posted on Reply
#17
HumanSmoke
TheGuruStud said:
Ugh, PClab is garbage. They'll show a 780 beating a 290(X) in D3D while every other reviewer shows the 780 being easily surpassed
Keep calm.....deep breaths....
PCLabs is using a GTX 780 GHz Edition - usually a stand-in for the 780 Ti where that card isn't available (performance being roughly equal). As you can see, the 1019 base/1072 boost frequencies indicate it isn't your usual run of the mill 780


[Source]

TheGuruStud said:
This is the same crap that was posted in the anand thread about mantle drivers (people were arguing about multithreaded driver support from AMD and pclab benchmarks were posted for a 780 that owned everything....only for real results to be posted in response showing it to be a little faster than a 7970, which is correct).
Yes, it's clearly a giant conspiracy. You've done well uncovering it.
Posted on Reply
#18
Kovoet
Cannot wait to try this on my 7970's
Posted on Reply
#19
aussiebear
This linked article shows why the driver has been delayed...
=> http://www.guru3d.com/articles_pages/amd_mantle_preview,1.html
Knows issues with the current Mantle driver build:

Now I am not too interested in the issues as they will be solved and this is a Beta driver, but it does tell the current state of what current product are actually supported, have a peek.
  • Press evaluation build: Installing AMD Catalyst 14.1 Beta on top of an existing AMD Catalyst revision may cause a system hang. Ensure the provided installation instructions are utilized to avoid this issue.
  • 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.
  • Multi-GPU support under DirectX and Mantle will be added to StarSwarm in a future application patch.
  • 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.
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#20
Rottenapple
I really wish Arma 3 adopt Mantle as it is the most cpu limited game I've played.
Posted on Reply
#21
morphy
hmm this might help me since I'm still on i7-920.

Only one big problem - I'm on Nvidia card :cry::cry:
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#22
broken pixel
Driver leak please, it has been before. I want to test my 3930k with 2x 290x.
Posted on Reply
#23
kn00tcn
tokyoduong said:
I'm waiting to see how this will affect Tom Clancy's Division. That game already look awesome. If I can get high/ultra settings on my lowly 7850, that would be awesome. I miss the old 8800GTX days where it lasted for years instead of just 1.
strange choice of numbers, did you mean 8800gt? but most people with that were on lower resolutions, i cant imagine what they had to deal with at 1080p if a 4850 was faster (& i had a 4870x2 where a lot of games werent hitting 60 on a single 4870 at 1080p/1200p)

8800gtx was a $600+ high end card, a 7850 is not a $600 high end card, a 7970 would be the right comparison, but both of these 7 series are going strong for 2 years onward

everything lasts as long as you want it, it's still few games that want to cram a ton of eye candy in them, depending on the resolution you're trying to hit of course

only big paradigm shifts seem to be the brick walls, like when games started getting very shader heavy (i've seen crysis on a 7900gs, it ran 2fps compared to 20+ on an 8800gt at the same settings), or when dx9b games stopped appearing which blocked x800 & 9800 users
Posted on Reply
#24
mastrdrver
Basically, the more CPU limited the your setup is, the greater the improvement Mantle will make over DX.

I'd like to see something like an old Athlon x2 paired with a R9 xxx. Would be interesting.
Posted on Reply
#25
Thefumigator
mastrdrver said:
Basically, the more CPU limited the your setup is, the greater the improvement Mantle will make over DX.

I'd like to see something like an old Athlon x2 paired with a R9 xxx. Would be interesting.
Exactly, I would add that affordable gaming laptops with Kaveri APUs will be interesting to see too.
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