3DMark Vantage focuses on the two areas most critical to gaming performance: the CPU and the GPU. With the emergence of multi-package and multi-core configurations on both the CPU and GPU side, the performance scale of these areas has widened, and the visual and game-play effects made possible by these configurations are accordingly wide-ranging. This makes covering the entire spectrum of 3D gaming a difficult task. 3DMark Vantage solves this problem in three ways:
1. Isolate GPU and CPU performance benchmarking into separate tests, 2. Cover several visual and game-play effects and techniques in four different tests, and 3. Introduce visual quality presets to scale the graphics test load up through the highest-end hardware.
To this end, 3DMark Vantage has two GPU tests, each with a different emphasis on various visual techniques, and two CPU tests, which cover the two most common CPU-side tasks: Physics Simulation and AI. It also has four visual quality presets (Entry, Performance, High, and Extreme) available in the Advanced and Professional versions, which increase the graphics load successively for even more visual quality. Each preset will produce a separate, official 3DMark Score, tagged with the preset in question.
The graphics load increases significantly from the lowest to the highest preset. The Performance preset is targeted for mid-range hardware with 256 MB of graphics memory. The Entry preset is targeted for integrated and low-end hardware with 128 MB of graphics memory. The higher presets require 512 MB of graphics memory, and are targeted for high-end and multi-GPU systems.
With 3DMark Vantage we look at the three main results it returns in the 'P' performance test. Staggering numbers really. A lot can be said about the 3DMark series, yet the GPU test really is good and reproduces a very reliable number that scales pretty darn well and trustworthy.
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