Okay, so I consider myself a enthusiast, but there is something I've never understood: what is DirectX12, OpenGL and this newfangled Mantle API? From what little I gather, it's kind of like a buffer system in between the game program and the hardware of the computer, and enables the high-level code of the game interact with the low-level language needed for the GPU and CPU for manipulating the hardware.
What I really want to know though, is what's the difference between the three I mentioned. I am also curious if AMD Mantle and DirectX12 will indeed make PC gaming more effective like consoles. Also, I always though the reason consoles were more effective (not better) was because they had simpler, lower-level APIs that got rid of a lot of clutter - but it turns out XBONE uses DIrectX too, so I am confused. What does the PS4 use then?
I get frustrated because I spent $800 on two GTX 680s that supposedly should make laps around the GPUs inside next-gen consoles but they actually barely outperform them in terms of actual
gameplay graphics(?). (Edit: I played ACIV: Black Flag on the PS4 and my computer, and I noticed that the PS4 version ran smoother on the PS4 than on my PC. When I said gameplay, I meant that the overall gaming experience, not just the graphics, was better on the console due to the game seemingly running more effectively on it. But English isn't my first language and I will concede if I was utterly wrong to use the word the way I did.) I would never trade my PC for a console (if I had to pick) but I feel there could be some improvement. I mean the entire PS4 console costs $400. Maybe this Mantle and DirectX12 can solve this problem?
Note: I don't know if this question has been already asked or discussed on a different thread, the search function is broken (thank you, GameSpot).