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3DMark06: The Concept

Before talking about the core concept of the new benchmarking suite, we’d like to give you a brief account of the previous versions of 3DMark and their ideology:

  • 3DMark99 made use of software fixed-function transform & lighting as well as of multi-texturing.
  • 3DMark2000 added hardware T&L support; the overall complexity of the gaming tests was increased.
  • 3DMark2001 brought about even more complex gaming tests (with tens of thousands polygons in each frame) and support for version 1.1 shaders; the 2001SE version of the suite added support for version 1.4 pixel shaders. Pixel shaders are for the first time employed for texturing (the water surface in the fourth game test). Version 1.1 vertex shaders were used to create realistically looking vegetation.
  • 3DMark03: The gaming tests are even more complex (hundreds of thousands of polygons in each frame). Shader Model 1.x is extensively employed. Version 2.0 pixel and vertex shaders are featured in the fourth game test. One gaming test is limited to fixed T&L functions for compatibility reasons.
  • 3DMark05: Shader Model 1.x is abandoned in favor of Shader Model 2.0x/3.0. Full compatibility with Shader Model 2.0. More complex gaming tests with over a million polygons per frame. Normal maps.

As opposed to the previous versions of the suite, 3DMark06 is not full of innovations. It can rather be considered as an update to 3DMark05, especially since three out of the four graphics tests of the new suite are nothing else but improved versions of 3DMark05’s gaming tests. So, the new version differs from the previous one quantitatively rather than qualitatively.

Really new in the new version of the suite are HDR support, Uniform Shadow Maps, multi-CPU configurations support, and the general orientation towards Shader Model 3.0, although two out of the four graphics tests are limited to Shader Model 2.0.

The rest of the changes are quantitative: the level of detail is once again increased in the test scenes, there are more light sources, the shaders are more complex, the textures have a higher resolution, etc. So, the main concept of 3DMark06 is to focus on SM3.0-compatible graphics processors.

 
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