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

Mantle Support, CrossFire Questions, And The Miami Office

Q. My professor at the University of Central Florida said you guys had an office a little ways from campus where you make the GPUs. I've never seen the office, but is that actually what you guys do there?

A. There's an office in Miami that does hardware/software QA and some board engineering.

Q. Do you guys keep little ATI trinkets hidden in your desks or are you guys totally AMD now?

A. You still find ATI doodads floating around from time to time!

Q. Will Mantle help with CF scaling and GPU usage? In BF4 for example, my 2600k @ 4.5 GHz is near maxed out, yet my cards are at 75% usage most of the time, sometimes even dropping to 50%. This is on a 64 player server so this is clearly a CPU bottleneck. Will Mantle help with this?  On the topic of CF and mantle, is there anything else aside from scaling and GPU usage that you feel Mantle will help with?

A. We're assessing some tweaks that will bring BF4 to 90-95% scaling 1->2 GPUs. That's without Mantle.  Going forward, Mantle could help any game with CPU bottlenecking and multi-GPU scaling. It's deeply parallelized as an API.

Q. Will AMD release anything similar to Shadowplay in the next few months?

A. Our approach to providing game streaming to users is through the Raptr app:

Q. Any HPC resources you can provide?

Q.  I strongly suggest those of you interested in HPC visit our dedicated developer forum:  I'm sure you would be able to find the answers to your questions there. :)  AMD developers frequent that community and can help with ISA, APIs, SDK questions.

Q. What happens when a 280X and a 7970 are in crossfire and you start a mantle-enabled game. Do you not get mantle? Or does it only run on the 280X?

A. Both GPUs are Mantle-ready. You would have Mantle and CrossFire.

Q. Could I crossfire a r9 270x with my HD 7870? If so, would I need a crossfire bridge?

A. Yes, but we do not test or qualify such configurations so I cannot guarantee that it will work properly. You would need a CrossFire bridge.

Q. Would you recommend I go with a secondary GPU for 1440P or sell my HD 7870 and upgrade to a r9 280x?

A. I know one GPU versus two is contentious, and always will be, but I think two 7870 GPUs for 1440p will ultimately provide more performance than a single 280X.

Q. What's the minimum guaranteed base clock on the 290 and 290X?

A. There is no minimum clock, and that is the point of PowerTune. The board can dither clockspeed to any MHz value permitted by the user’s operating environment.

Q. How's Mantle going to be compatible with Fermi/Kepler/Maxwell etc. or Intel's HD graphics? Will you be forced to maintain backwards compatibility with GCN in future?

A. Mantle depends on the Graphics Core Next ISA. We hope that the design principles of Mantle will achieve broader adoption, and we intend to release an SDK in 2014. In the meantime, interest developers can contact us to begin a relationship of collaboration, working on the API together in its formative stages.  As for “backwards compatibility,” I think it’s a given that any graphics API is architected for forward-looking extensibility while being able to support devices of the past. Necessary by design?

  • 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.