For many years, gamers have been using Futuremark’s gaming benchmark software, 3DMark to test their graphics cards and PCs to the limit. Some claim it is the best and most accurate 3D benchmark in the industry but others take a different view. A lot of our readers were disappointed when Futuremark unleashed 3DMark 2005 as it seemed to render most of the current day hardware useless in the performance arena.
Sudhian.com has an interesting piece in which they examine 3DMark and ask if it really is a suitable benchmark in determining which graphics cards are suitable for next-gen gaming. They also examine ATI’s upcoming dual-card technology offering, Crossfire which looks like a reply to the Nvidia question, SLI.
For years, Futuremark’s (the company formerly known as Mad Onion) 3DMark series has been considered the leading synthetic benchmark for graphic card performance. Some of the benchmark’s success is due to marketing, with a dash of ease of use, a dollop of consistency, and an ounce of entertainment value added in for spice. Discussions and arguments have swirled around the 3DMark series ever since 3DMark 2003, when ExtremeTech discovered NVIDIA had released drivers that flat-out cheated when rendering the benchmark. The resulting flurry of PR’s between FutureMark and NVIDIA fooled no one, and the ‘we are best friends again’ scenario that resulted did nothing to restore credibility to either side. To date, FutureMark only allows certain ‘approved’ optimizations in its ‘official’ driver recommendations, which raises the murky issue between drivers and cheats all over again.