Everything Changes

Like PCMark Vantage, the user interface has undergone an update. The changes here tend to be a bit more far-reaching, however. Instead of the usual 3DMark where you get a standard setting that everyone should use if they want to compare scores, 3DMark Vantage now includes four benchmark scenarios that you can run. The default is "Performance", which is roughly equivalent to the default settings in 3DMark06. It runs at 1280x1024 with a reasonable selection of graphics enhancements. "High" bumps the resolution up to 1680x1050 and increases the various detail settings, while "Extreme" takes things a step further in the detail department and runs at 1920x1200. Don't have what it takes to run at any of these settings? No worries, as Futuremark now includes an "Entry" setting that runs at 1024x768 and disables much of the complexity.

The above four images show the default settings for the four benchmark modes just described. Entry frankly looks quite poor with the disabled effects, but it runs fast. Even on a relatively high-end system, Performance and High modes struggle, and the Extreme benchmark absolutely crawls. Note that we experienced quite a few graphical glitches on Extreme in the Jane Nash test; AMD is likely working to release updated drivers, as it appears to be a GPU issue rather than a CPU/system problem.

Update: We have indeed received confirmation that new drivers are available - and not just from AMD. There's a hotfix driver update from AMD to address performance and graphical corruption issues with 3DMark Vantage and a beta driver from NVIDIA to do the same for their hardware. Since this is merely a first look rather than a review, however, the performance differences aren't a huge concern. We'll save the driver updates for future hardware reviews.

Update #2: Futuremark was kind enough to provide us with a Pro version registration code, and we sort of assumed the normal functionality and limitations that are present in previous 3DMark releases would continue. Not so, good readers! It turns out that you must register in order to even run 3DMark Vantage, and even with your email address you only get to generate one result with your trial - and even that needs to be viewed online. If you want what was normally free, you now have to purchase the Basic version for $6.95, and you still don't get access to all the features (i.e. the four test settings listed above along with the feature tests) unless you upgrade to the Advanced version for $19.95. The Pro version is mostly for business use, priced at a whopping $495. (Ed: Did we mention how thankful we were to receive a Pro code from Futuremark?)

It will be interesting to see how this plays out, because Futuremark may have relegated 3DMark Vantage into irrelevance by this decision. Now, you can't test and retest your system to see how any tweaks may or may not affect your score, and if you have multiple systems you're going to need to generate multiple email addresses. (Ed: I smell a rise in Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo, etc. email account registrations.) On the other hand, users interested in competing for the top ORB spots will now have to put some money into Futuremark's pockets. But then, Futuremark already receives funding from various sources, like Sapphire obviously, and paying to see ads isn't something most people like.

Index Benchmark Descriptions


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  • Juddog - Friday, May 9, 2008 - link

    All that happened was a page came up saying page not found? WTF kind of benchmark has to connect to the web and display their page first?

    I tried to make it run about 15 different ways, none worked. First time I have uninstalled an Onion benchmark. 3dmark01, 03, 05, 06 all run flawlessly on my system (vista x64), only Vantage has this issue.

    What a waste of a download, I am highly disappointed.
  • LoneWolf15 - Tuesday, May 6, 2008 - link

    I used 3DMark mainly as a basic test of system stability (looping for several hours) and because the graphics were pretty. After 3DMark01, the newer versions have almost nothing that reflects real-world game performance; the most you can say is that you can test whether a graphics card supports certain features of DirectX properly.

    Charging for pretty much every feature is silly. I can understand charging review sites, but gamers aren't going to pay this kind of money for essentially what is an e-manhood measuremeant (Mine's better than yours! Nyah! Nyah!), and if gamers stop using FutureMark tools, then review sites will stop using them to show results. Which, IMO is probably a good thing, as the results are meaningless in terms of whether you're capable of playing Game X, Y, or Z at good frame rates with your existing graphics card.

    I think Futuremark's move has finally put a bullet through their foot, but time will tell.
  • Clauzii - Monday, May 5, 2008 - link

    Thanks to Anandtech for the review - with a LOT of pics. (Should I stitch them togeth..... nahhh ;) So also thank You for the clip :) (Doesn't matter it is a bit choppy - it would have been on my machine anyway, if run in realtime!!)


    Goodbye 3DMark. Thank You for the nice Years (since 1999 on the RivaTNT). Even though You got nice colors and epic landscapes; so does nature. But now You want money from me to look at You? Even more, if You shall be usefull to me? And a LOT more if I'd wanted all of You? No thanks.
  • brian_riendeau - Wednesday, April 30, 2008 - link

    [quote]It will be interesting to see how this plays out, because Futuremark may have relegated 3DMark Vantage into irrelevance by this decision. Now, you can't test and retest your system to see how any tweaks may or may not affect your score[/quote]

    This sums up all of my thoughts on this. I have always had Futuremark software on my PC, and it gets run at various times to check new drivers, see if tweaks affected the system, and sometimes just out of boredom. At some point in time, I paid $20 for 3DMark05 as well since it was "only $20" and I was using it all the time. Now Futuremark puts out a new benchmark which is basically "pay to benchmark". Well why the heck am I going to pay for it, when most people won't? I can't just compare scores with anyone now, so I will keep my money, less people will buy it, and in a few months time, 3DMark might be just a memory.

    Also it certainly does not help that the first GPU benchmark looks like total crap, and the whole scene for the CPU benchmark looks like crap as well. Is this 2001 and we are supposed to be dazzled by water effest from in GPU #1 test? Does anyone realize that, umm, hardly any games take place on the surface of the water?!?! Why does almost all of GPU #1 test look worse than Half Life 2?

    I gotta say I was a Mad Onion/Futuremark fanboy right up until today. It was not perfect, but it was readily available and a pretty decent tool for comparing that I have defended on various forums. Anytime I buily a system for someone, I would install 3DMark and leave the icon right on their desktop and show them how to run it for the eye candy. This whole thing just leaves a bad taste in my mouth.
  • Locutus465 - Tuesday, April 29, 2008 - link

    For $20 I figure what the hell, honestly I really enjoy looking at the pretty pictures in 3DMark's benchmarks. I'm also really curios to see how my new system stacks up compared to the others I'm sure are out there already. Reply
  • Locutus465 - Tuesday, April 29, 2008 - link

    So I installed this and ran it durring lunch today.... First of all, holy system killer, this really brought my system to it's keens which was interesting to see.

    As far as the app it's self, first and formost it's fairly buggy still. I like the web integration idea they have going on but it breaks all over the place. The benchmarks them selves are fairly interesting to watch, what I really found interesting is they managed to murder your GPU and CPU resources very effectivly all the while not generating all that compelling of graphics. Doom3 / quake 4 look better than the first benchmark, and they run faster too. The second benchmark, the space one which actually ran faster than the first did manage to look fairly nice.

    And, all in all... My current all AMD system is dwarfed by their fastest system lol. I'm not sure what all hardware they had in that system but wow... Still, not very dissapointed with my results. I'm running 100% stock speeds (thought just last night I finally installed a better cpu hsf) and I still lack any sort of cross fire.
  • ViRGE - Tuesday, April 29, 2008 - link

    I know I'm not the only one here who has never given a damn about 3DMark for benchmarking purposes, I've always used it for the graphics. The previous versions have been a couple years ahead of mainstream games and had offered a good look in to where games were going. In other words, it was really damn pretty.

    Vantage has largely missed the boat on that. GPU test 1 is really unimpressive, it seems to spend too much resources on overexaggerated water and cloth simulations, and not much on anything else. GPU test 2 is better with a whole test devoted to a space scene, but then again nothing interesting happens, it's mostly camera panning and a bunch of damn asteroids.

    Worst of all, Demo mode is gone, which is a real disappointment. Futuremark hails from the greatest demoscene group of all time, The Future Crew; past benchmarks (3dMark '05 in particular) included some rather impressive demo modes. The lack of a demo mode just highlights the fact that they missed a chance to do something jawdropping, GPU Test 2 in particular is just begging for a real space battle (boy do I miss space sims).*

    While I realize it's a benchmarking product and sold as such, I really do think the greater utility of the product was offering a good look at what modern hardware could do and what future games would look like. Futuremark shot themselves in the foot here making something so visually unimpressive and artistically uninspired.

    * Please may the Futuremark game be this
  • acejj26 - Tuesday, April 29, 2008 - link

    why does the first thumbnail of Jane Nash look like someone is peeing? am i the only one who sees that? Reply
  • Matt Campbell - Tuesday, April 29, 2008 - link

    Plus her jetski looks like the model from 1977 in The Spy Who Loved Me.


  • piroroadkill - Tuesday, April 29, 2008 - link

    Ugh, multiple benchmark types? Surely the attraction of 3DMark is there was one, single comparable score, run at defaults that everyone could run.. Vista only requirement? I'm still running XP so I won't be touching this. Reply

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