Futuremark’s 3DMark vantage benchmark

Posted by Robert Dow on May 5th 2008 | Discuss
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We’ve been testing Futuremark’s 3DMark Vantage since early March, and you may have noticed it in some of our previous reports. Well, the program is completely vetted now, and it’s gone from the early beta we first got to Gold. Along with it have been some driver tweaks by AMD and Nvidia, and no doubt Intel and S3 will follow suit.

Included in the new benchmarks are four tests (two different CPU tests and two different GPU tests) and six feature tests. In addition, Futuremark has introduced four PC presets that augment the variety of PCs that can be tested. Presets range from the Value segment through Performance to high-end cinematic Enthusiast rendering resolutions and features.

In addition the new multi-core CPU and GPU products, the Physics Processing Unit can be tested, which Futuremark hopes will prevent the benchmark from being limited for the users.

The Latest GPU Features:

  • DirectX 10 rendering engine developed by Futuremark that uses geometry shaders, vertex stream out and the new shader model 4.0.
  • Advanced post-processing effects, including lenticular halos, anamorphic and lens flares, streaking, bloom, depth-of-field, motion blur, color correction, depth fog, and volumetric fog.
  • GPU-simulated physics content including planet surface shockwaves, firestorms and atmospheric evaporation; reactive cloth, physical particle effects and a completely new interactive water simulation with large-scale waves and foam
    formation.
  • High-fidelity, physically based surface shading models, including anisotropic materials like brushed metal and plastic and concrete.

Multi-Core CPU Features:

  • Heavily multi-threaded artificial intelligence (AI) featuring cooperative 3D-pathfinding algorithms, utilizing a state-of-the art lock-free task scheduling core.
  • Next-generation physics workloads featuring fluids, rigid bodies, joints, cloth, and soft bodies.
  • Support for Physics Processing Unit hardware acceleration.

What do we think?

This has been a long time coming, and we’re glad Futuremark has committed to this development. The industry needed a comprehensive DirectX 10 test suite, and Vantage offers that and more. This will now be the new standard and only criticized by the folks who don’t do well with it—which is SOP for this business—on games. As an indication of the time it takes to develop these benchmarks, Futuremark included physics tests for Ageia’s PPU. Sadly, only a few thousand of them were sold before Nvidia acquired the company and it doesn’t look like there’s sufficient demand to maintain the product, so we expect Futuremark to come out with a patch that will apply the physics tests to the GPU, and maybe Larrabee.

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