Looking at the company's displays at the 2014 International CES is to understand that playtime is big business at Advanced Micro Devices (NASDAQ:AMD). Fool analysts Tim Beyers and Rex Moore were on hand to sample some of the chipmaker's latest wares, including a new technology known as Mantle.
Think of it as a bypass lane. Most often, video-game developers write simplified code that's meant to run on any combination of PC hardware and software. Thus, when it comes time to play, the job of executing the digital instructions falls to the CPU, or central processing unit, which then translates and shuffles code over to a discrete graphics processor.
All that translation amounts to traffic, congestion that crimps gameplay and discourages ambitious, graphics-intensive development. Mantle solves that problem by providing the means for developers to write code that executes directly to a graphics processor.
Big publishers are slowly taking to the platform. Electronic Arts optimized Battlefield 4 and Plants vs. Zombies: Garden Warfare ahead of release, and is working on a Mantle-ready version of Dragon Age: Inquisition, due in October, around the same time that Take-Two Interactive releases an optimized version of Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth. What sorts of machines will run Mantle? Click the video to watch Tim and Rex get an up-close look.