Mantle patch released for Battlefield 4, AMD drivers MIA

EA DICE has released a version of Battlefield 4 optimized for AMD's Mantle API. Details on the patch are available in this blog post on the BF4 site, but there's a catch. While the game has been updated for the close-to-the-metal API, the required AMD drivers are missing in action.

The press was scheduled to receive the Mantle-infused Catalyst 14.1 beta driver last night. However, AMD says it had to "kick off another build." We're supposed to get the updated driver some time this morning, at which point we'll furiously begin performance testing, so we can share some results with you soon. Our understanding is that AMD should be making a driver available to the wider public not long after that.

AMD and EA DICE have both released figures detailing Mantle's impact on BF4. Here are the performance increases quoted by AMD:

  • CPU-limited scenario: 40.9% (1080p) and 40.1% (1600p) performance improvement under Ultra settings and 4xAA on the AMD A10-7700K with an AMD Radeon™ R9 290X.
  • GPU-limited scenario: 2.7% (1080p) and 1.4% (1600p) performance improvement under Ultra settings and FXAA on the Core i7-4960X with an AMD Radeon™ R7 260X
  • Average uplift for 1080p: 13.28% (Average of 290X and 260X data on the i7-4960X, A10-7700K, FX 8350 and i5-4670K)
  • Average uplift for 1600p: 11.35% (Average of 290X and 260X data on the i7-4960X, A10-7700K, FX 8350 and i5-4670K)

And here are the performance increases detailed in EA DICE's blog post:

  • 14% in single-player campaign with AMD A10-7850K (integrated graphics) at 720p with medium details
  • 25% in multiplayer match with AMD FX-8350 and Radeon HD 7970 at 1080p with ultra details
  • 58% in single-player campaign with Intel Core i7-3970X and 2 x AMD Radeon R9 290X at 1080p with ultra details and 4X MSAA

The numbers suggest the Mantle build delivers bigger gains in CPU-limited scenarios. According to EA DICE, the 58% performance increase on the CrossFire-equipped system is due to the CPU being too slow to feed the dual 290X cards. This may be the first time I've seen a six-core Sandy Bridge-E processor referred to as too slow for anything.

The BF4 update includes a performance analysis tool that logs frame times, so we'll be able to do our own testing just as soon as AMD releases the requisite driver. Scott's already set up to gather his own performance data and subjective impressions. Stay tuned.

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