AMD launched its “close to the metal” Mantle API last year, which has allowed select game developers to dramatically increase their games performance on systems using AMD Graphics.
It has been confirmed that Intel has been asking AMD for access to Mantle code for what they call an “experiment”, likely to test for themselves what performance gains they could see from their Integrated Graphics.
Why would Intel want to utilise AMD’s Mantle API?
Well Intel isn’t exactly a slouch when it comes to GPU market share, holding a reported 66% of the market, double of AMD and Nvidia’s combined 33% of GPUs sold last quarter.
While Intel do not produce any high end Graphics solutions, the low end of the market is dominated by the brand and with the rise of AMD’s APUs Intel could potentially lose some of this market share. One of the greatest advantages Mantle provides is to lower end AMD GPU systems, which particularly helps their APUs, so if Intel wish to hold onto the budget segment they may wish to either dramatically improve their integrated GPU performance and/ or adopt a similar low level API.
Intel hasn’t publically committed to a low level API, but simply put creating their own would be an expensive and very time consuming effort, and then they will have to try to force adoption. At present Mantle exists, is proven to reduce overhead and has already been adopted by 47 game developers.
So far AMD has not given Intel any Mantle code to test with, instead asking them to wait for the Public Mantle 1.0 Release later this year, where Intel and any other interested party will have access to open, non-beta code.
The Future of Mantle
As said above Mantle will have its public towards the end of this year, where Mantle will move from the by no means small amount of Beta developers to a point where everyone will have access. At this point even Intel and Nvidia will be able to support this API with a simple driver update.
From here Mantle will get much more interesting, releasing publically with over a year head start over DX12 and with AMD’s Chief Gaming Scientist Richard Huddy stating that AMD will be bringing Mantle to Linux and by extension SteamOS Mantle, providing Mantle enabled games a whole new System to market too, whereas DX12 will likely never support Linux.
If you didn’t think Mantle was going to be big before, I assure you it will. If Intel like what Mantle can offer them and add driver support when Mantle 1.0 is released we can almost be certain the a disgruntled Nvidia will follow suit, given AMD and Intel’s combined GPU market shares.
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