4K and Mantle
The next era of gaming will come with even greater levels of realism and graphical detail that currently cannot be supported on today’s monitors. However, sales of displays that support resolutions up to 3840 x 2160 and 4096 x 2160 are on the rise. AMD is looking to push that trend even further by being the first to Support UltraHD across the entire line of R7 and R9 series of GPUs.
Both of the current types of UltraHD displays will be supported in the R7 and R9 Series using HDMI or DisplayPort technologies. Tiled displays send two signals, one to each half of the screen at a resolution of 1920 x 2160 or 2048 x 2160. Double those numbers and you get UltraHD resolutions. With the new DMA engine there will be no additional drivers or display setup to get up and running. The DMA Crossfire engine automatically detects Tiled Displays and sets them up accordingly thanks to AMD submitting and getting approval for the new VESA Display ID v1.3 standard.
Before you run out and spend your hard on money buying a 4K enabled monitor or TV, remember that this is an investment in the future, since many current games don’t support such extreme resolutions, or else don’t have enough horsepower to provide smooth (and high) framerates. So while the 4K support may make sense for a very small percentage of the gaming market right now, that may change in the future. Time will tell.
AMD has managed to win every contract involving GPUs for gaming consoles. AMD has also managed to put its CPUs in 2 out of the 3 major gaming consoles. So with that cornering of the market plus its share in the discrete GPUs for PC business, AMD saw an opportunity to streamline development of game titles, simplify console to PC ports, and increase performance by offering developers a very low level API called Mantle. Think of Mantle as a door that opens directly to the GCN cores on the 7000 series and the new R7 and R9 series GPUS. Developers won’t have travel through the house or open other doors like DirectX and OpenGL to target the GCN cores.
Mantle works on all of the R7, R9 series, 7000 series, all of the Next Generation consoles and soon the next round of AMD APUs. Programming at this level will make it extremely easy to port a game from one console to the next or to the PC. One of the most anticipated games of the year will feature the Mantle API and will no doubt perform better on GCN hardware. This makes a lot of people wonder how AMD will convince other developers to use an API that purposely hinders Nvidia. If at the end of the day Mantle provides noticeable gains in performance that gamers pay attention, then it will be an easier sell.