New Reports Claim Microsoft's DirectX Rips Off Mantle, Won't Help Xbox One -- But Is It True? - HotHardware
New Reports Claim Microsoft's DirectX Rips Off Mantle, Won't Help Xbox One -- But Is It True?

New Reports Claim Microsoft's DirectX Rips Off Mantle, Won't Help Xbox One -- But Is It True?

Earlier this month, Microsoft acknowledged that it would debut DirectX 12 at GDC this year, with promises that it would offer many of the same features as AMD's Mantle. Fast on the heels of that announcement came news that the API would also be deployed on the Xbox One, presumably as part of a future update. Now, a report from SemiAccurate claims that "Microsoft has adopted AMD’s Mantle but are now calling it DX12. The way they did it manages to pull stupidity from the jaws of defeat by breaking compatibility in the name of lock-in."

Meanwhile, other reports across the 'Net are claiming that because the Xbox One has a real-time operating system, it won't benefit from the new API and that the entire effort is smoke and mirrors on Microsoft's part. While I haven't been at GDC this week and it's possible that Microsoft's DX12 slides are reprints of AMD decks with the word "Mantle" crossed out and "DirectX 12" written in.



Jokes aside, I can't say for certain -- but I can say that I've been digging at the question of where DirectX 12 came from and whether or not it's a straight port of Mantle -- and my information has tended to point in the opposite direction.

Two sides to every story

We can draw a few basic conclusions, I think, even with limited facts. Clearly AMD built Mantle for a reason. Building and launching a new API is an enormous amount of work. Building developer support and an entire software ecosystem has never been AMD's historical strong suit -- given the lead times intrinsic to this kind of work I think we can safely assume that AMD put a renewed focus on Mantle (and software development in general) as part of its reorganization procedures after Rory Read came onboard in August, 2011.

AMD knew that single-company APIs face long odds and low chances of success and it's always told me that the long-term goal was to see a Mantle-like API adopted by the entire industry not just to push Mantle in the short term. It's been quick to claim that Mantle will be supported even in the face of DirectX 12, and has hinted that we may see Linux and Mac OS support in the future. We also know that Microsoft is very likely to chain DirectX 12 to the next version of Windows while Mantle and GCN face no such restrictions.

Furthermore, if DirectX 12 is going to run on the Xbox One, it strongly implies that GCN graphics cards shipping today will be capable of using it as well. (This could also be true for Nvidia, though that's not clear). So is it fair to think that AMD built Mantle because it saw a need that Microsoft wasn't addressing, that it intends to support Mantle in ways that are meaningfully different from the support DirectX may offer, and that AMD gets "first mover" credit on this front? Absolutely.

But when it comes to the question of whether Microsoft is ripping off Mantle to build DirectX 12, I'm a bit more dubious.

Sources I've spoken to have categorized Microsoft as a bit annoyed with Mantle, seeing it as a distraction from the company's own efforts to build a low-level API. I've been told that DX12 has been in the works for quite some time, and that the idea that Microsoft was 'pushed' into making an announcement by Mantle's debut on the desktop simply isn't true.

AMD is plucky. AMD is clearly putting a much greater focus on software and software development. But when it comes to two critical measures of raw muscle -- market share and dollars -- AMD doesn't have the strength, in either category, to shove the entire market towards an API. That's not a criticism of AMD -- with the GPU market split between three players, neither Intel nor Nvidia has been able to shove the industry in a single preferred direction, either. Intel thought the entire GPU market should evolve towards ray tracing. Nvidia thought everyone ought to adopt PhysX as a key gaming feature. In both cases, the market largely disagreed.



I'm inclined to agree with S|A, however, when it writes that the focus here is on the Xbox, but I'm not sure how much it helps. The problem is simple: Assuming Mantle tells us anything about DX12's capabilities, it tells us that the configurations that gain the most are lopsided configurations that pair weak CPUs with powerful GPUs. If you have an A10-7850K and an R9 290X or an FX-8350 + R9 290X, you see huge gains from Mantle. If you have a high-end Intel CPU, the gains are smaller.

If the Xbox One was being choked by low CPU performance, we'd expect to see it outperforming the PS4, which has the same number of CPU cores running at a lower clock speed. Since it isn't, this suggests that the issue is GPU performance -- and it may be extremely difficult to fix that with a Mantle-like API. This, in turn, suggests that as far as the Xbox One is concerned, DX12 will implement some additional features or capabilities that <em>can</em> address these problems.

Sometimes a good idea is a good idea

When I've talked to AMD contacts about the DX12 / Mantle dichotomy, AMD has been quick to state that it intends to continue supporting and developing Mantle, but it hasn't seemed particularly worried over the question of who copied who. Obviously looking like the front runner is a PR win for Sunnyvale, but as the company told me back in November -- the long-term goal is to see Mantle-like capabilities adopted by every API. If multi-threading is easier and games can scale to use CPU cores more effectively, in the long run, everybody wins.

I think that's the most important takeaway from DX12, regardless of its other considerations. The point of Mantle is to create better games. If Microsoft implements similar ideas that get us to the same place, that's a win-win situation for everyone involved. 
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well if this is true then microsoft is just copying what amd did..

this is no suprise cos microsoft doesnt listen to what consumer and developer needs.. they just put what they want on there software and boom the end result was windows 8.. it sucks.. very few actually use it and many people hates it.. DX is no different they did not listen and they dont intend to deliver.. Now.. AMD has MANTLE.. AMD IS CONTINUING TO INNOVATE AND DELIVER NEW TECH which microsoft lacks big time.. we have a bright future with AMD im not saying this cos im a member of the red team but because AMD continues to push new tech which innovates games and now we have TRUEAUDIO too.. the only thing missing now from AMD is very own GAMING OS..

GREAT JOB AMD.. KEEP IT UP!!!

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It's seems to me that AMD pulled the trigger on features that were obviously needed and inevitably would be in the next version of Direct-X. Mantle is great for a certain market (those who purchased crappy CPUs). Gamers who don't have that problem (Intel i5 and i7, nVidia owners) don't care for the most part. Hate all you want, it's consistently and still the highest performing combo out there!

Windows 8 is an awesome experience for those with the right hardware and little fear of Change, Bing or Google!

There was a time before the Start Menu, and the time has come for something better that works across multiple hardware vendors choices. But because of peoples general fear of change, Microsoft is stuck supporting Windows XP and having to step back innovation because some people can't live without the precious Start Menu or use search engines for anything besides social media trends and bullshit. Windows 8 on first few boots should have done a better job of explaining the new features and expectations even if it meant bringing back Clippy or MS Bob! Bing it...

Once you commit, stop bitching and actually learn to use Windows 8.1 on the proper hardware, it's AWESOME!!! No Looking Back!

Mantle will be one of those "things" we'll forget and laugh about later when Direct-X and OpenGL make it a distant memory...

@JakeMetica There's always Steam on Linux and Apple... lol

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The idea that an OS designed to run a $250+ tablets is an "awesome experience" if you have high-end PC hardware is a joke, right?

I have run Windows 8 on $5000 desktops with multiple GPUs and 32GB of RAM. Metro still sucked.

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@RJeffries

You obviously haven't played Crysis 3 and BF4 on an i5 before. I have a 3570K overclocked to 4.2 r9 290 gou and both games taps out at demanding scenes. But when using Mantle, my fps are always right up there and my gpu utilization at 100%.

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@Joel_H If you have that kind of hardware and haven't figured out how to boot to desktop and use Metro as little as possible or get Start8 and not deal with Metro at all... That says a lot about you...

@NievzThecrazyone You are correct, I saved and went straight to an I7 with SLI , never had those problems! I stand by my statement, "AMD pulled the trigger on features that were obviously needed and inevitably would be in the next version of Direct-X." BF and Crysis will gain similar, if not better benefits with Direct-X 12.

Did I say something that wasn't correct guys?

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RJeffries,

I've been reviewing computer hardware for 13 years and I'm fully fluent in OS X and Windows both. I've written two reviews of Windows 8. I'm capable enough to use them.

Don't mistake disliking something with being unable to use it. I refuse to upgrade to Windows 8.1 because buying a copy of that operating system sends the message to Microsoft that a broken product with a deeply flawed UI paradigm is worth paying for.

Also: The fact remains, Windows 8 scales down to run on $250 tablets. The idea that you need a Core i7 to run it optimally is absurd.

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I am very passionate about the game and I love what you bring, thanks

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Stop putting out false info, it runs fine for some on a Core2Duo. Microsoft nor anyone else but you would remotely suggest Windows needs an i7, the games we play and programs run better with it.

Given Microsoft's track record, do you think they would manage separate versions of Windows in a way that would be acceptable to people like you? NO You see what happened with RT.

Bottom line, don't like it, don't use it and stop bitching all the time.

Since you seem to like bitching, 8.1.1 will be here soon you can have a fresh batch of complaints.

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I'm not putting out false info. I'm quoting you.

RJeffries:

"Windows 8 is an awesome experience for those with the right hardware"

"Once you commit, stop bitching and actually learn to use Windows 8.1 on the proper hardware, it's AWESOME!!! No Looking Back!"

You're the one who consistently implies that there's a magical hardware solution that makes Windows 8 shine. Don't spew stupid, then get mad when someone calls you on it.

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No one on this site "spews stupid", we are too intelligent for that!

This is what I'm talking about...

"Windows 8 scales down to run on $250 tablets. The idea that you need a Core i7 to run it optimally is absurd." - FALSE INFO

Regardless of your closed minded opinion of it, it runs better than any previous version and the Start Menu is coming back with the next update to solve the only valid complaint. Stop bitching and being so fucking sensitive Joey, it's not that serious. 13 years of writing reviews doesn't make you the end all - be all. I've been working with Windows since 84' and it still doesn't make my opinion any better or worse than yours, just different.

I'm not entertaining this anymore, if you have anything else to say, PM me and we'll go from there.

Peace Joey,

RMD

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You referred to needing "the right hardware" to run Windows. Do you think the people who dislike Windows 8 are all using Core 2 Duos or single-core P4's? You specifically refer to your own rig as high-end, implying that people who buy high-end hardware like yourself don't "need" Mantle or have problems with Windows 8.

As for W8 scaling down to $250 devices and below, we've covered that extensively, as have other sites.

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This seems like a reach to me but it seems logical to have similarities since both PC and console platforms are now using the same GPU vendor.

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Competition is good (even if Mantle doesn't seem to have much of a chance) If it helps to make Direct X a little better then that's a win for me. I feel sorry for AMD though, they have a lot of major competition to deal with in general.

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Also seems like a reach to me. Seems a bit odd that AMD contacts were contacted to ask about what they think about what Microsoft is doing, but no Microsoft contacts were asked about this.

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I've been pretty disappointed by the Xbox One so far. But I still have to get it because of being a huge Halo fanboy.

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Microsoft has a bad case of "Not Invented Here" syndrome! If it didn't come from them, they won't support it. They will re-invent the wheel multiple times just to put their PROPRIETARY stamp on the technology. As such, it will (again) require developers to relearn how to develop for Microsoft's platforms, and increase the time and costs involved to those developers. Is it any wonder that most game developers are making the PS4 their lead console this generation? Or that the PS4 has more exclusives? It's because of crap like DX12.

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RE: "configurations that gain the most are lopsided configurations that pair weak CPUs with powerful GPUs" - paragraph 10

that is what we currently see if a Mantle Enabled Game is rendering a DX11 oriented level. but if you look at the star swarm demo (which is a Mantle Demo with DX11 support) we see huge gains in performance, over DX11, because Mantle is able to handle so much more then DX11.

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Also i would note that AMD copied DX11 also. which is why it can be added easily to a game engine that already has DX 11 support.

http://www.pcper.com/reviews/General-Tech/Core-Mantle-Questions-Interview-AMDs-Guennadi-Riguer

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interesting thing but not 4 me .

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