NVIDIA competes with Mantle with its latest drivers

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.

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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.

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From The Chatty

  • reply
    April 7, 2014 10:00 AM

    Andrew Yoon posted a new article, NVIDIA competes with Mantle with its latest drivers.

    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.

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      April 7, 2014 10:03 AM

      Soo they could program this shit from the beginning? But chose not to? Im confused

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        April 7, 2014 10:05 AM

        I always found it interesting how intel/nvidia kind of sit on products until amd/ati come out with something, then they magically already have the competition ready to go haha. Makes me glad there is competition in the market to actually push things to release.

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          April 7, 2014 10:24 AM

          This is happening everywhere. My chemist friend just quit his job because the company he worked for has a policy of only releasing the 4th best version of the drugs he creates. They might test 100 variations, and sit on the 3 best versions until the patents run out, or there is enough competition to use the better ones.

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            April 7, 2014 10:43 AM

            All hail the free market.

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              April 7, 2014 1:11 PM

              Actually patents laws are enforced government. So it's totally up to the government policy how molecular sequences are patented.

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                April 7, 2014 1:24 PM

                Actually it's profit motive. There could be no patents at all and the companies would still pull shit like this because it makes them more money.

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                  April 7, 2014 1:49 PM

                  If they did away with medicine patents, then any newly developed drug could be produced by multiple competing companies.

                  But then all the companies are making less money with which to develop new drugs.

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                    April 7, 2014 2:06 PM

                    I don't think they need to do away with them altogether, just with the way that patents are "renewed" in such a disingenuous way.

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            April 7, 2014 11:05 AM

            Holy shit, that's sad... :/

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              April 7, 2014 12:18 PM

              yeah, this runs rampant in the pharmaceutical industry. They make a drug, sell the hell out of it, and as right before the patent expires (where generics would be allowed) they RE-patent it with a "new formulation" that renews the patent for another 5 years.

              Worst part, it doesn't even have to be the active ingredient, it can be the inactive suspension that's reformulated. Total bullshit, and completely against patient care.

              /works in a hospital

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                April 7, 2014 12:27 PM

                Fuck, that's awful.

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                  April 7, 2014 3:52 PM

                  but think if the SHAREHOLDERS!
                  Never mind all those sick poors

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            April 7, 2014 3:02 PM

            I'm an unemployed chemist...then again, I don't enjoy research, so I wouldn't want his job. I'm MUCH more interested in environmental health and safety, but am having difficulty getting an interview. Hopefully one of these days... :) If an asteroid was heading towards Earth in the next year, then that would make my job of looking for a job easier since it would be pointless and I could actually begin to enjoy my life...shortly before it ends :P

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        April 7, 2014 10:08 AM

        Gotta sell those Titans.

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          April 7, 2014 11:00 AM

          Just farm more Grunts and Spectres.

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          April 7, 2014 2:57 PM

          This updated driver would make titan look *better*. On a higher end GPU, you're more likely to be CPU limited.

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        April 7, 2014 10:52 AM

        Yeah, the story doesn't add up. I'll wait for the third-party benchmarks. If we see systems getting significant increases in Metro, Crysis 3, and Fary Cry 3, then I'll believe them.

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            April 7, 2014 12:59 PM

            It's a bit strange. There seems to be improvements with all games, however a lot of them are more mild. Then every now and then there's a massive bump in performance. It's hard to tell what games or even cards will benefit the most because nVidia isn't saying what exactly they've done to increase performance.

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              April 7, 2014 12:59 PM

              Looking at just SLI.

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              April 7, 2014 1:04 PM

              Well they added a new feature to these drivers... Shader Caching. Might really help for games that are heavy on shaders??

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                April 7, 2014 2:15 PM

                I haven't been able to find anything on it, but from the name shader caching I'd think it would need a developer to program what exactly is going to be cached. It's possible that through their own algorithms a card could make some 'smart' decisions, but I don't think that's what is going on.

                If you've got some links to what shader caching is I'd love to read them.

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              April 8, 2014 3:57 AM

              The games that have massive jumps are the games that are draw call limited, the optimizations like mantle are based on reducing the overhead on drawcall. Hitman absolution which i optimized the graphics content for was incredibly draw call limited on PC, it should see nice improvements.

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        April 8, 2014 1:20 AM

        Seriously wtf

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        April 8, 2014 4:08 AM

        It wasn't until the end of the last console gen that titles we were pushing really high draw call counts on consoles, to the point where even a much stronger pc would suffer, so most ports ran ok on pc's with decent processors, or atleast good enough that no one cared.

        In Hitman Absolution we we're doing around 4000-5000 drawcalls on consoles which was enough that even the most powerful PC's were framerate bound solely by the cpu preparing drawcalls and not at all by GPU. Which is also why Hitman is one of the titles that see a great improvement with the more cpu optimized drivers.

        With the new gen content draw calls are now extremely restrictive in terms of increasing visual fidelity on directX, to the point where the pc's would not at all be able to compete with say a PS4, so of course there's really no choice but to improve it now, hence API's like mantle and these driver updates.

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      April 7, 2014 10:48 AM

      I wonder if the large increase can only be seen in certain games or all DX11 games?

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      April 7, 2014 10:49 AM

      Oh wow. I sure hope most of this is stuff that 570/670/770 cards will 0wn with. "Up to 71%" makes me cringe because that high of a number lets me know my machine is looking at ... 3%? Around there.

      I'm going to benchmark RTW2 on some crazy battles and see how it holds up to the 26fps i've been getting at 10,000 troops.

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        April 7, 2014 10:53 AM

        "Total War: Rome 2: Performance increased by 26.8% at 1920x1080 when using max settings and Anti-Aliasing."

        I came in my pants. The CPU overhead per object in the Warscape engine is astronomical, reducing this so the primary thread can stay ahead of the curve ...

        I'm not even sure if I stopped but i'm glad I haven't changed pants yet.

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        April 7, 2014 10:55 AM

        The "up to" something might be something sneaky like, actually making SLI work correctly on some game. Normal games are probably much less unless something totally insane happened drive wise.

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          April 7, 2014 11:07 AM

          Yeah, I avoided the SLI results because there was no SLI support prior to this driver. On the page for the 700 series it claims "up to 64%" improvement on a single GPU solution for RTW2.

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        April 7, 2014 12:21 PM

        nice find.
        I'm going to give it a shot on my gtx670 and see what happens.

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        April 7, 2014 1:02 PM

        The Star Swarm improvement is certainly noteworthy. I would like to see how well these diver improvements work on mid-tier systems. For example, with Mantle, I saw a ~60% improvement on my minimum FPS in BF4 on my Core w Quad + HD 7850 system.

        That said, what's most newsworthy here is that Nvidia clearly wants nothing to do with Mantle, and they believe optimizations in OGL and DX will be just as good. So, seeing these types of gains in DX11, in addition to the fact that DX12 will be designed from the ground up with low-level programming in mind, I think we might see an early demise for Mantle. Which is kinda sad, but if DX12 can get reasonably close to the efficiency of Mantle, then Mantle will just be redundant.

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          April 7, 2014 1:10 PM

          "I think we might see an early demise for Mantle."

          lol. How is this driver release any different than usual.

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            April 7, 2014 1:17 PM

            It's clearly made some huge changes to reduce CPU overhead, in specific situations at least. And this is without the really close developer involvement we've seen so far with BF4, Theif, and Star Swarm.

            I would love for Mantle to be the new standard, but if Nvidia and Microsoft are able to bring DX12's efficiency close to Mantle's, then I just don't see it happening.

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              April 7, 2014 1:19 PM

              Mantle will be here for the next 2 years as a kind of test run. DX12 end of next year will lead after that.

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              April 7, 2014 2:07 PM

              As far as I can tell the only significant performance boost so far is in a synthetic benchmark? That leaves me unimpressed (and confused as to why we're comparing this to Mantle.)

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                April 7, 2014 2:23 PM

                Well, Star Citizen is being designed from the ground up for both Mantle and DX11 (maybe DX12 now). I think that will be when the rubber really meets the road and we can compare the two methods.

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                  April 7, 2014 3:04 PM

                  BF4 is DX11 and Mantle too, right?

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                    April 7, 2014 3:20 PM

                    Yeah, but they didn't start working on the Mantle side until later in development. And the Mantle drivers are still very much in beta.

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                      April 7, 2014 3:42 PM

                      I'm pretty sure this qualifies as beta too. I bluescreened three times in half an hour.

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                  April 7, 2014 3:35 PM

                  Per the last Wingman's Hangar (on youtube) Cloud Imperium says that they can't imagine why the WOULDN'T support Dx12

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                April 7, 2014 4:52 PM

                Agreed. This is a non-story.

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          April 7, 2014 1:57 PM

          I could see why nVidia doesn't want to be involved with Mantle. Any gains are 100 percent reliant on their competitor. While AMD has stated they plan to share the technology, it's not really the situation right now, and in the mean time nVidia needs SOMETHING to remain competitive in that space.

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      April 8, 2014 3:51 AM

      yet no word if it actually improved anything earlier than 7xx series

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        April 8, 2014 4:12 AM

        These optimizations have very little to do with the GPU they are CPU optimizations.