Page 1 - A Massive Introduction
Download @ Guru3D: Aquamark 3 - 63 MB
We, hardware review websites, have been waiting for a long time for DirectX 9 titles we could use as benchmark. What a week this has been, not one, but two DX9 benchmarks are being released. There is a lot of controversy over the new Half-Life2 benchmark, but that's not what we need to discuss in this article for sure. Today will be all about AquaMark 3, Massive's new born child.
The latest graphics cards on the market are almost all DirectX9 compatible these days, and we also see an increasing number of games utilizing the new DX9 features. To be able to see how well a graphics card is performing in this new challenging DirectX 9 environment, AquaMark was developed.
The AquaMark3 benchmark delivers scores for specific hardware components as well as an overall score for the entire system. AquaMark3 is highly qualified to meet the needs of gamers because it's as close as possible to a typical game application. The AquaMark benchmarking series is based directly on the huge code and data base of the AquaNox games and the underlying krass game engine."
In the past we have used AquaMark 2.3 in our benchmark suite and although still a reputable application, Massive figured it was time for the next best thing. This is AquaMark 3, a benchmark that will utilize some of the finest DirectX 9 capabilities like Pixel and Vertex Shaders 2.0, and yet is by far not as Shader dependant as Half-Life is, for example. You will notice that in the overall results later in this article.
AquaMark 3, however, is not solely a DirectX9 benchmark; if you are working with a DirectX 8 or 7 compatible graphics card, you will still be able to use it just with a lot of graphical features missing. Make no mistake, AquaMark3 is a DirectX 9 benchmark. But since it's based on a real game engine it has fallbacks to DirectX 8 and even DirectX 7 making this software not a 100% DX9 benchmark.
We had very little time to do a full article on AquaMark 3 as after a long wait last Wednesday, we finally received Release Candidate 0 of the software. Today it's Saturday, as you can see that left us very little time. What we'll be doing in this article is take you through the benchmark guided with images, and then we'll launch a 'massive' series of graphics cards at the software to see how it handles them. These graphics cards will all be DirectX9 compatible products such as: Radeon 9600, 9700, 9800 and GeForce FX 5600 and 5900.
Even with the little time we had with this software, I think it's safe to say that this benchmark will be used broadly by a lot of reviewers and people like yourself, as it will set a new standard in benchmarking. The benchmark looks good and produces very steady/solid numbers. Next to that, it's affordable for almost anyone.
AquaMark3 will be available in no less than 5 different versions. The basic application will be available as a free download. This version supports a wide set of features like the basic AquaMark3 TRISCORE test and free online access to ARC, the on-line AquaMark Result Comparator.
Besides the free downloadable version which will be distributed by a lot of sites (guru3d.com also) there are four different license models:
- AquaMark3 Professional - $9.95 (9.95 for EURO countries)
- AquaMark3 Professional Plus- $19.95 (19.95 for EURO countries)
- AquaMark3 Commercial - $39.95 (39.95 for EURO countries)
- AquaMark3 Commercial Plus - $199.95 (199.95 for EURO countries)
The Professional version already enables program features such as:
- Detailed feature-settings
- Advanced Measurement for single run tests
- Special features for DX9 card-tests
- Pixelrate measurements
- Manual screenshot function
- Technical support for AquaMark3 as well as for ARC
The Plus versions contain additional functions such as:
- Multiple, automated runs
- Command Line options for the power user
The Commercial versions are solutions for commercial users and as always way more expensive. They include licenses for up to ten computers, the right to use AquaMark3 on trade shows, and for editorial purposes.
In this review we are using the Commercial plus license that unlock all options. Let's have a look, shall we?