Tom's Hardware's AMA With AMD, In Its Entirety

Forward+, Mantle Vs. Glide, And Rob's Favorite Color

Q. When developing a new GPU do you cooperate with other AMD departments to ensure maximum performance when using AMD products together?

A. We design our GPUs to have the same level of compatibility with whatever CPU the user has. We do not optimize graphics hardware or drivers for any CPU architecture over another.

Q. I remember there was something on the GPU 14 event that mentioned anti-aliasing support with deferred rendering / lighting. Does this include super sampling anti-aliasing as well?

A. You're referring to Forward+. I want to give some background on Forward+ so other people know what it is:

Forward+ not only allows for the efficient utilization of thousands of light sources, but also performs an accurate simulation of their interactions with objects in the world. Forward+ also resolves the developer’s choice between a “forward” or “deferred” rendering engine for their game, which can have serious implications for the look, feel and features of a title.

For example, a “forward” rendering engine supports anti-aliasing, texture transparencies (like leaves and chainlink fences), and a wide variety of texture types (e.g. cloth and metal). Meanwhile, a “deferred” engine supports a large number of light sources, efficient rendering effects (“shaders”), and works well on game consoles. Thanks to Forward+, all of these technologies can efficiently coexist.

Forward+ further extends its leadership over forward and deferred engines by substantially increasing the diversity in the material types that a game may render. Whereas lighting on cloth and metal textures might look very similar on a game with a deferred engine (e.g. old gen consoles or console ports), Forward+ can render the distinct and realistic lighting differences between them.  Because of the way Forward+ is designed, it's suitable for use with both MSAA and SSAA.

Q. Does Mantle carry all the same graphic rendering abilities that other current APIs carry, or are capable of rendering the same effects?  Are there any graphical distinctions between Mantle and other APIs? Like for example, Tress FX in a way. Something that differentiates itself or sets it above other APIs?

A. Yes, Mantle is a complete graphics API capable of doing anything you see today. And more. The primary advantage, however, is that it can speak directly to the hardware in a unique way that other APIs cannot.

Q. What was the influence to do something like Mantle when we have seen other projects like "GLIDE" fail? What do you think will make your solution better or more enduring?

A. Game developers requested Mantle themselves. That's the key difference. The industry told us they want it.

Q. A followup: you mentioned that developers requested Mantle.  How so?  And what is your favorite color?

A. Johan from DICE sat across the table from Matt Skynner, the GM of our graphics business, and explained how he wanted a close-to-metal graphics API. Matt said "we can do that," and the rest was history.  Other devs are very excited when they learn about what Mantle is capable of, and how Mantle can help them bring their game to life on the PC.

My favorite color is eminence (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shades_of_purple#Eminence)

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  • jumpmanxt
    Does AMD have an official download link for their cleanup utility? I can't get the link in the article to work (http://www2.ati.com/drivers/amd_cleanup_util_1.2.1.0.exe).
    1
  • tomfreak
    I is sad.... I ask if Radeon 7790 support TrueAudio or not, my question got passed -.-

    Radeon 7790 is the same chip with 260x.
    -1
  • ronch79
    WHy wasn't AMD asked about the future of their CPU division? Do they plan to offer FX SKUs using the Steamroller core? What about Excavator? Any plans to continue making x86 CPUs after Excavator?
    3
  • InvalidError
    Anonymous said:
    WHy wasn't AMD asked about the future of their CPU division?

    Because the AMA panel was from the GPU division and deferred CPU-related questions to AMD's upcoming forum and interviews elsewhere. In other words, they probably were not authorized to discuss CPU-related questions.
    3
  • sarinaide
    Nice interview, its eye opening to see how little people in position to know actually knew about AMD and its projects. The automatic knee-jerk reaction is to assume a problem when there is no problem other than the assumption of problems.
    0
  • goodguy713
    well this was pretty informative actually. the temp issue with the 290 and 290x seems like it can be solved just by gaming out side in 30 degree weather.. lol
    2
  • goodguy713
    all joking aside i honestly think I will buy a 290 here soon been waiting for amazon to get more in stock
    2
  • MajinCry
    Gah. Forgot about the AMA. I'd have asked if there would be any performance benefit from wrapping, say, DirectX 9 to Mantle, due to the low-level aspect of the latter.
    2
  • InvalidError
    Anonymous said:
    Gah. Forgot about the AMA. I'd have asked if there would be any performance benefit from wrapping, say, DirectX 9 to Mantle, due to the low-level aspect of the latter.

    Sounds like a silly idea to me since the point of Mantle is to bypass DXn's complexity and overhead in the first place by giving programmers lower-level access to the hardware.

    If you make DXn libraries that translate the DXn API to Mantle, you lose pretty much all advantages Mantle is intended to provide since you have to jump through all DXn hoops on top of dealing with Mantle stuff.

    With DXn, you get: Game -> DXn APIs -> driver hardware abstraction layer -> low-level drivers -> hardware
    With Mantle, you get: Game -> Mantle -> low-level drivers -> hardware
    With "Mantlified DXn" you get: Game -> DXn API -> DXn translation layer -> Mantle -> low-level drivers -> hardware

    Converting DXn to Mantle is likely less efficient since it introduces an extra middleware layer that may not be able to execute calls as efficiently as a middleware layer that speaks native hardware language - the hardware abstraction layer has liberties in how to translate DXn calls to hardware that Mantle would not have.
    1
  • joditas
    This is the original version
    http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/id-1863987/official-amd-radeon-representatives.html

    I appreciate THG for hosting this but many questions are simply left unanswered. If AMD wants to capture more market share, not just maintain, they need to do better in areas where they are lacking.
    1
  • InvalidError
    Anonymous said:
    If AMD wants to capture more market share, not just maintain, they need to do better in areas where they are lacking.

    Doing better in areas they are lacking (per-core performance) is only one way to go about improving their market position. Reducing the industry's dependence on AMD's biggest weakness by heavily promoting HSA works too but does require more effort to drive market interest and adoption.

    As I have been saying for a while, most of the gaming and image/video processing algorithms that "require more cores" are embarrassingly parallel and would be perfect candidates for GPGPU. Once you remove that from the CPU's workload, most of what is left is heavily branch-dependent code that may be nearly impossible to break into threads in a sensible manner.
    0
  • smeezekitty
    Quote:

    WHy wasn't AMD asked about the future of their CPU division? Do they plan to offer FX SKUs using the Steamroller core? What about Excavator? Any plans to continue making x86 CPUs after Excavator?

    Because this is a GPU AMA with GPU reps. There were CPU questions but they were not answered (and realistically the GPU division probably didn't really know the answers)
    1
  • mapesdhs
    I second jumpmanxt's question, the cleanup utility link doesn't work, and
    searching AMD's site gives no results.

    Ian.
    0
  • silicondoc_85
    Anonymous said:
    Does AMD have an official download link for their cleanup utility? I can't get the link in the article to work (http://www2.ati.com/drivers/amd_cleanup_util_1.2.1.0.exe).


    Like of course ! AMD website sucks, as it always has, it's a huge pain compared to nVidia's website, which rocks and rocks and rocks.

    I just bought a brand new high end SB950 AM3+ board and guess what ?
    AMD HOSTS NO DRIVERS FOR IT - FOR THEIR OWN CHIPSET.

    You get links at the bottom of the page after the massive runaround - to manufacturers of motherboards...
    See it would cost amd money to have drivers for their products online... they prefer to laythe burden upon their "partners" or should I call them abused spouses ?

    Yeah, I thought I knew how much amd sucks which is to the far reaches of the universe, but then I saw even greater suckage from them.

    I give mantle about a 3% chance of not being a huge pain in the rear 99% of the time for dubious and very "massaged" benefit, with many unstated caveats and issues, only to be told a couple years later, in passing, while proclaiming "the new solution" and bashing the superior competition, since that's how it's been done for a decade plus now.
    -3
  • silicondoc_85
    Anonymous said:
    Gah. Forgot about the AMA. I'd have asked if there would be any performance benefit from wrapping, say, DirectX 9 to Mantle, due to the low-level aspect of the latter.


    Allow me to answer that.

    YES ! There will be huge gains ! Think of it as BF6 or BF8 !
    Think of very expensive items on your fireplace's mantle !

    Of course all that will come "in the future" with "the game dev partners" "doing all the work", and after the gigantic flops and artifacts and visual anomalies and embarrassing fragolific fallout, the amazing promises will then come "in the future", when " the great advantages can be put to use! ", so of course, BUY IT NOW !, because years down the road the benefits will "materialize" !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Wow I amd so fired up !!!!!!
    -2
  • Shankovich
    "Such a dance would take 10 conferences to complete, and may require the use of a Potara Earring." Best AMA answer ever
    0
  • ihog
    Quote:
    Using a 100% reference design at launch ensures that AMD can control every facet of the initial production. It minimizes the number of variables that can "go wrong."


    Apparently, their production design just sucks then. The reference cooler is awful. AMD did a bad job, and they should feel bad.

    Also, Tom's, these mobile ads are beyond annoying. Sure, one is fine, even though none should show up since I'm a member, but every single time I click out of one, another pops up. Mod edit for language. Keep it family friendly please!
    0
  • InvalidError
    Anonymous said:
    Apparently, their production design just sucks then. The reference cooler is awful. AMD did a bad job, and they should feel bad.

    The reference cooler should be fine for the most part but the fan design is very odd. I'm sure it could be improved substantially with very minor tweaks. For example: the fan blades are practically perpendicular to the rotation tangent. This creates high resistance in front of them and turbulence around them instead of making the blades shove the air outside the centrifugal fan. Simply rotating the blades about five degrees counter-clockwise should improve that a fair bit by making the inner edge slice into air in front of it with the blade curve guiding that outwards, assisted by centrifugal force. A very minor tweak but I bet it would significantly improve airflow and noise.
    0
  • Christopher Shaffer
    All of this was very interesting, especially the favorite color question. However, this is my favorite response:
    A. Mantle is a full graphics API. Anything indie developers are doing with other APIs today can be done on Mantle, plus you get direct hardware access. Anything with a GCN graphics core can leverage Mantle. We're open to working with any developer on Mantle! Please contact us.

    It would rock to see Indie devs able to pump out better products with AMD support. DX11 isn't exactly Indie-friendly.

    Here's to Indie games getting wide-spread attention and support due to Mantle. I'm excited (and I'm running a 770 4GB right now.... don't tell anyone!).
    0
  • siddhantJ
    I am waiting for opencl support in blender(cycles engine) :"-)
    0