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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 (

  • jumpmanxt
    Does AMD have an official download link for their cleanup utility? I can't get the link in the article to work (
  • 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.
  • 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?
  • InvalidError
    11927410 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.
  • 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.

  • 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
  • goodguy713
    all joking aside i honestly think I will buy a 290 here soon been waiting for amazon to get more in stock
  • 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.
  • InvalidError
    11928558 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.
  • joditas
    This is the original version

    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.