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Big AMD wins: Capcom embraces Mantle, Samsung plans 4K FreeSync monitor line

Brad Chacos | Nov. 21, 2014
Graphics technology has been stuck on the 28nm manufacturing process for a full three years now, but that doesn't mean AMD and Nvidia have been sitting on their proverbial thumbs.

Graphics technology has been stuck on the 28nm manufacturing process for a full three years now, but that doesn't mean AMD and Nvidia have been sitting on their proverbial thumbs.

The hardware giants have each been feverishly releasing game-enhancing software over the past couple of years, and at its "Future of Compute" event in Singapore this morning, AMD announced that two major partners are embracing a pair of the company's technologies: Capcom is on board with Mantle, AMD's performance-enhancing API technology, while Samsung announced the first 4K monitors with AMD FreeSync support.

The story behind the story: Both Mantle and FreeSync promise to provide a superior gaming experience — at least on AMD hardware — but neither technology is going unchallenged. Microsoft announced the awfully similar DirectX 12 API shortly after Mantle rolled out, while Nvidia offers a competing G-Sync technology of its own for use with GeForce cards. Wooing Capcom and Samsung to Team Red is a big win for AMD.

Oh, and both Mantle and FreeSync require recent AMD Radeon graphics cards to work — of course. 

More Mantle

Capcom is working the Mantle API into Panta-Rhei, the gaming engine it originally created for use with next-gen gaming consoles. The only "details" come courtesy of this canned statement by Masaru Ijuin, technical director at Capcom:

"Capcom is evaluating AMD's Mantle technology to help improve the graphics pipeline, and integrate it into 'Panta-Rhei' to provide outstanding benefits and impressive performance for gamers as well as the gaming developers."

Yawn.

But corporate speak aside, Capcom is the latest in a string of big-name publishers to fiddle with Mantle. Two PC gaming stalwart studios, DICE (maker of Battlefield) and Crytek (Crysis and Far Cry), have pledged support for Mantle in their respective Frostbite 3 and Crytek engines. You can already find Mantle support in Battlefield 4, Thief, Sniper Elite 3, Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare, and the recently released gems Civilization: Beyond Earth and Dragon Age: Inquisition. Future games with Mantle support scheduled include Star Citizen, Star Wars: Battlefront, Mirror's Edge 2, and Battlefield: Hardline, along with whatever Capcom's brewing up.

Mantle gives developers 'closer to the metal' access to hardware, allowing them to increase performance using Mantle versus DirectX 11. That's done mostly by reducing CPU bottlenecks, though Mantle offers a few other nifty tricks, such as allowing graphics cards in multi-GPU setups to each render a portion of each frame, rather than rendering alternate frames in full, creating a smoother feel with fewer jitters. Firaxis opted to use this "split frame rendering" technique in Civilization: Beyond Earth.

My god, it's full of pixels

FreeSync, on the other hand, is AMD's solution for the pesky issue of screen tearing and stuttering.

 

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