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AMD Catalyst 14.2 Beta is Thief launch driver, Mantle improved

by Mark Tyson on 25 February 2014, 15:45

Tags: AMD (NYSE:AMD), Square, PC, Eidos (TYO:9684)

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qacbcf

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AMD has emailed HEXUS announcing the impending availability of the AMD Catalyst 14.2 Beta which will be downloadable around mid-day Eastern Time (17.00 GMT). The driver is to be released to coincide with the release of Thief in the US which, as an AMD Gaming Evolved title, is optimised for AMD Radeon graphics and will be updated to support Mantle and TrueAudio in early March.

We are informed that Thief players using the AMD Catalyst 14.2 Beta will have access to "4K gaming, AMD Eyefinity technology, AMD CrossFire technology and advantageous DirectX 11 performance". Also everyone, whatever their GPU persuasion, will benefit from the following advanced graphical effects in their Thief game world:

  • Compute shader-accelerated depth of field for realistic focal lengths
  • Silhouette-enhancing tessellation to improve character geometry
  • Complex shadowing systems to support THIEF’s dependence on shadows as a core gameplay mechanic. This is a great example of rendering technology supporting an integral element of the game! A notable percentage of the game’s rendering budget has been spent on the novel shadowing algorithms.
  • SSAA for buttery smooth edges.

Mantle and TrueAudio support in Thief aren't enabled from day one but will be coming with a patch in early March, that's not a long time off.

Other improvements present in AMD Catalyst 14.2 Beta include:

  • Hangs and stuttering resolved for the Mantle codepath in Battlefield 4; users are now encouraged to try mGPU
  • Multi-GPU frame pacing in Battlefield 3 and Battlefield 4 is now enabled for non-XDMA configurations running resolutions >1600p.
  • We fixed Minecraft! Sorry about that, builders.
  • Intermittent hangs and crashes should be resolved in 3D applications

Finally AMD wanted to remind our readers of the progress it has made in the AMD Linux drivers, not related particularly to this Catalyst Beta announcement. AMD has updated the X.ORG ‘Radeon’ repository with changes including the following: Video Compression Engine (VCE) enabled for GCN base GPUs, Hardware-accelerated encode of H.264 now possible for 1080p60 content, improvements to video decode (UVD) performance, X-video hardware acceleration, "substantial" improvements to hardware-accelerated transcoding app performance, OpenGL feature upgrade to v4.3, additions to the Linux kernel to improve dynamic power management and DisplayPort robustness on GCN hardware and new programming guides and specs for modern AMD GPUs.

I've inserted some Thief screenshots showing the enhanced graphical features below. Click on any of them to bring up a Full HD image.






Thief recommended specs:

  • OS: Windows 7 or 8
  • CPU: AMD FX 8000 series or better / Intel i7 Quad Core CPU
  • RAM: 4+ GB
  • Graphics Card: AMD Radeon HD / R9 series or better / Nvidia GTX 660 series or better
  • DirectX: DirectX 11
  • HDD/SSD: 20 GB

HEXUS Forums :: 6 Comments

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AMD Slide
Thief - an exclusive AMD Gaming Evolved title
WTF AMD? Thief is available on PC (inc. nvidia and intel graphics), XBOX360, XBox1, PS3, PS4… very exclusive..

And I'm really glad it's not exclusive - propitiatory features etc. are to the detriment of games.
Which is ironic since you cannot mantle in the new Thief game.
Would Mantle even be a significant boost for me? I have one of the lower end AMD cards… (7770). I haven't noticed a huge difference is games so far.
Well I was using that “fancy” AMD Gaming Experience thing last night (to play Crysis) and it was telling me that my 13.12 driver was “current”. :(
Would Mantle even be a significant boost for me? I have one of the lower end AMD cards… (7770). I haven't noticed a huge difference is games so far.
I didn't think that Mantle support was very widespread, so doubtful that you'd see any difference, plus the game has to support Mantle and I thought that BF4 and Thief were the lead titles.

If you're on Steam you could try downloading the Star Swarm demo and give that a couple of run through's to get some figures for your system. Then again, there's some real heated debate over exactly what circumstances Mantle is worth the trouble. 7770 is a GCN card so yes, you should see some improvement, but no idea if you're talking <5% or something more significant.