NVIDIA competes with Mantle with its latest drivers

AMD has found significant performance increases through its Mantle tech, which gives games more-direct access to the GPU, rather than going through APIs like OpenGL and DirectX, which can be bottlenecked by CPUs. The approach is being adapted for DirectX 12, which promises to be a low-level "console-like" API that also enables devs to "fully exploit the GPU."

Of course, DX12 won't be fully deployed until next year. That isn't stopping NVIDIA from trying to offer its own solution to compete with Mantle.

The new GeForce 337.50 Beta Performance Drivers promise optimizations of up to 71%, according to NVIDIA's own benchmarks. The performance gains come from being "laser-focused" on DirectX efficiency. Specifically, the new driver aims at reducing CPU overhead and increasing GPU utilization--much like Mantle.

Perhaps the most significant difference between NVIDIA and AMD's approach is that developers won't need to use a different API and all games that support DX11 will benefit on all DX11-capable cards from NVIDIA. "Unlike our competitor's API solution, the DirectX 11 enhancements in 337.50 Beta benefit all GeForce GTX DirectX 11 GPUs, not just the latest and greatest graphics cards," the company says, taking an obvious jab at AMD.

Gains will vary depending on your CPU, GPU, OS, and system configuration, but everyone should experience "some degree of enhancement." For NVIDIA card owners, perhaps now is a good time to do some benchmarking of your own.