| Articles |
|Is 3DMark Really the "Gamers Benchmark" ? |
| Is 3DMark Really the "Gamers Benchmark" ?
Published on January 19th, 2006 |
3DMark is no doubt one of the most popular benchmarking programs in the
world, with everyone from newbies to power-users running and testing it
on their machines. The vast majority of hardware sites
incorporate this ubiquitous application into their video card reviews,
and no PR blurb would be complete without an anticipated 3DMark result
figuring central to the report. Many people love this small
program that tells you how powerful your graphics hardware is, or
alternatively if you need to spend hundreds of dollars upgrading your
The program's authors, Futuremark, refer to it as "The
gamers' benchmark". However, there is a dark side to this
innocuous little app. 3DMark uses various game tests which help
to decide your score, and all of these game tests are based on the
DirectX9 platform. The question remaining on the silent
majority's lips is "Where are the OpenGL game
tests?" In response Futuremark have claimed that OpenGL is
not deemed popular enough to warrant incorporation into the
program. Is that really so?
Does the name "Counter-Strike" ring a bell? Most people
have heard of this game (in fact there are pygmy tribes in Central
Africa who have never seen a PC that are familiar with it!). And
I'm not talking about Counter-Strike: Source. Even today the
original Counter-Strike remains very popular among the gamers. What
about Quake 3, Quake 4, Doom 3, Enemy Territory, The Chronicles of
Riddick and Call of Duty? All of these big titles are OpenGL based.
Are you sure that OpenGL is not popular enough Futuremark? You better check out Valve's player numbers statistics here.
I'm not the smartest guy in the world, but according to
Valve's statistics Counter-Strike 1.6 is still far and away their
most popular game. Yes Counter-Strike is based on OpenGL. So is
Condition Zero, Day of Defeat and many other mods. Only
"Source" is based on DirectX.
OpenGL is popular like DirectX9, and until Futuremark decides to add
OpenGL game tests the benchmark should never be described as "the
gamers' benchmark". The real gamers' benchmark
should have both DirectX 8/9 game tests and OpenGL tests.
Currently 3DMark shows only one side of the real picture, as you will
never know how your hardware will benchmark under the OpenGL
platform. In light of the differences between ATi and Nvidia with
respect to OpenGL, this is an especially pertinent point for such a
In theory the idea behind programs like 3DMark is really good, and with
the correct changes this program can offer a real alternative to actual
gaming benchmarks. 3DMark should stand for all graphical APIs and not
for only DirectX. Let's hope Futuremark read this and follow up