Since the announcement of both Mantle and TrueAudio alongside AMD’s Volcanic Islands GPUs last fall, we’ve heard a fair bit about the former, but almost nothing about the latter. That changes today, however, with AMD’s announcement that Eidos Montreal’s Thief becomes the first title to support TrueAudio, and for good measure, it becomes the second game to support Mantle.
The audio effect featured in Thief driven by TrueAudio is called “convolution reverb”, and it’s designed to make ambient noises more realistic. Standing in a hallway, you’re going to hear things differently than if you stand in a large open area, for example.
This effect is accomplished by recording an “impulse response,” which is a snapshot of the echo characteristics of a real location in the world. That impulse response is fed back into software that can recreate that behavior in a PC game.
Those equipped with an AMD Radeon R7 260X, R9 290, or R9 290X can offload these audio calculations to the GPU; for everyone else, it can be offloaded to the CPU. This is similar to NVIDIA’s PhysX, but in this particular case, an AMD GPU is required, as the feature is unlocked through the Catalyst driver.
In addition to TrueAudio’s use in Thief, AMD says that it will soon be making a demo available to Oculus Rift owners that will treat them to a realistic aural experience.
I mentioned above that AMD is also adding Mantle support to Thief, and once again, it’s provided us with the performance results it’s gained from testing:
| ||No Mantle||Mantle||Gain|
|AMD A10-7700K + R7 260X 1||28.0||34.6||+23%|
|AMD FX-8350 + R9 280X 1||45.0||53.8||+19%|
|AMD FX-8350 + R9 290X 1||46.0||69.6||+49%|
|Intel i5-4670K + R9 280X 2||52.6||55.2||+5%|
As we talked about a couple of months ago, Mantle won’t deliver major performance enhancements for everyone – the weaker the CPU, the greater the gain, effectively. Even so, with a higher-end Intel CPU and high-end R9 280X GPU, a 5% gain can still be seen – that’s not something any AMD gamer is going to be complaining about.
With DirectX 12 right around the corner bringing promises of a low-level API, Mantle’s future at this point is unknown. But what is known is that we’re long overdue for an API that can bring on these kinds of performance enhancements.
You can take advantage of both Mantle and TrueAudio in Thief today by grabbing the just-released Catalyst 14.3 beta driver.