The next test is the CPU 1 & 2 test. Take Mars, a maze of canyons and 87 fast moving game units (you know them as bots) in the form of speeder bikes and hovering tanks. They are doing three things to the processor, game logic including graphics engine, physics and path finding AI. At 2 frames per second and a fixed resolution of 640x480 the test tries to ignore the graphics card to do just one thing, stress the CPU, and that it will. You'll find it interesting to hear that this test entails AGEIA's PhysX library. There are two tests being done in this level and as you can understand from the AGEIA's PhysX library, one relies heavier on physics load on the CPU. Next to that 3DMark05 could only measure single-core CPU performance, 3DMark06 has a CPU test suite with support for single-core and dual-core processors. Acknowledging the increasing importance of AI and physics calculations in-game.
When combined, these are the most important tests in the new 3Dmark 06. Next to that you'll notice other smaller tests with a more specific test area. These are called the feature tests, but we are not going in-depth on them. Check them out for yourselves.
Fill rate test - single/multi texturing
Pixel shader test
Vertex shader test - simple and complex
Shader particle test (Shader Model 3.0)
Perlin noise (Shader Model 3.0)
Batch size test
That's it for all the tests. Of course there's more in 3DMark06. You'll have options to stress the graphics card in whatever way you want, it's possible. The default resolution is now set at 1280x1024 yet you can select any monitor supported resolution. Other options are Antialiasing samples, Anisotropic (texture) filtering methods and shader profiles, but also features like testing at full precision and en/disabling HW shadow maps. The list goes on and on.
When you buy a license for this software you can also see the fantastic demo, which is so much more broadly than the pieces of benchmarks you see. Also you will be able to play a game which is based on the CPU test (the Mars level), a fun yet difficult game to play though. Fun for sure. Very important for sites like Guru3D.com is an added image quality section in which we can check and test drivers on AA and AF optimizations for example. A quality inspection tool.
When the benchmark has finished, four graphics and one CPU test will have have finished. Two SM2.0 and two HDR/SM3.0 graphics tests with each a focus to represent a certain type of game. The application collects the data / numbers of frames rendered versus timeframe and will then compile an average FPS, the higher the better of course. Each test will have a score and after a calculation the end-score is presented towards you, the consumer. Here it is again, I started this article with it, the 3Dmark score; the score that everybody can understand.
There's a lot more stuff we can discuss and quite honestly we only tipped the iceberg here when it comes to details and information providing in what 3Dmark06 underwent in changes, technology and features. My suggestion to you is to install the software and have a look yourself. Let me now head onwards towards the benchmarks and then a verdict on Futuremark's 3DMark06.
3DMark06 review Last year when 3DMark 05 was released (February I think) it became the standard for DirectX 9 benchmarking and it was well received by the consumer and industry. In the months following I however honestly felt the benchmark was good but not yet perfect as some very important features where left out. 3DMark06 entails all the new features and we will take a brief look at this exciting new update of the software. I say update because in essence 3Dmark06 is 3Dmark05, with a complete overhaul of features and exciting end-result.