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In-Depth Look: Futuremark 3D Mark 06
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by Rob Williams on January 18, 2006 in Windows

We take the latest version of the popular benchmark for a test-drive to see what’s new, what’s changed and what you need for a good score. To put it simply, 06 is like 05, but on steroids. Let’s take a look..

Benchmarking Setup


Now to the fun part… benchmarking! Because the older versions of 3D Mark are still commonly used, I have included benchmarks with each one of those, with the various system configurations. I did not have an ATI card on hand, so all of these results will be done on an eVGA 7800GT. The latest driver to be approved by Futuremark is the 81.98, so that’s the one that will be used throughout all tests.

We used two separate systems to benchmark with. The first is an AMD Single Core, and the other is an Intel Dual Core. As we will see in the results, Dual Core will effect your score quite a bit for the CPU tests. On each system, fresh installations of WinXP and Winx64 were used. All unnecessary services were stopped so that nothing would interfere with the final scores. Here are the systems being used for testing:

    AMD System

  • CPU: 3200+ Venice @ 2.0GHz
  • Motherboard: DFI LanParty Ultra-D w/ 704-2BTA BIOS
  • Memory: Corsair 2GB PC4000 Platinum @ 3-4-4-8/2.8v
  • Video: eVGA 7800GT 256MB PCI-E
  • Sound: Chaintech AV-710
  • Storage: WD 160GB 7200 8MB
  • Odds and Ends: Titan Robela Water Cooling the CPU, 4x 120MM fans
  • Etcetera: Windows XP Professional SP2, Windows x64 Professional SP1, NVIDIA 81.98 Drivers

    Intel System

  • CPU: Pentium D 820 @ 2.8GHz
  • Motherboard: ASUS P5WD2 Premium w/ 0606 BIOS
  • Memory: OCZ 1GB Gold PC2-5400 XTC
  • Video: eVGA 7800GT 256MB PCI-E
  • Sound: Realtek HD Audio
  • Storage: WD 200GB 7200 8MB
  • Odds and Ends: D-Link WiFi PCI Card
  • Etcetera: Windows XP Professional SP2, Windows x64 Professional SP1, NVIDIA 81.98 Drivers

    Overclocked Values

  • AMD: 270 * 10, DDR540 @ 3-4-4-8: 2.7GHz
  • Intel: FSB 260 * 14, DDR2-695 @ 4-4-4-10: 3.64GHz

As mentioned earlier, the default test uses 1280*1024 as the resolution. I did not change this, even with the prior tests using 1024*768 as the default. You will also notice that the AMD system is using 2GB while the Intel uses one 1GB. The reason behind this is that I had a 2GB DDR2 kit die on me last week, so I was forced to stick with 1GB. I got in touch with Futuremark, and they noted that going from 1GB to 2GB in these tests will make a minute differences on very few systems.

Before we get into the results, here are how the scores are calculated:

  • SM2.0 Score = 120 x 0.5 x (SM2 GT1 fps + SM2 GT2 fps)
  • HDR/SM3.0 Score = 100 x 0.5 x (SM3 GT1 fps + SM3 GT2 fps)
  • CPU Score = 2500 x Sqrt (CPU1 fps x CPU2 fps)
    We’ll define for clarity:

  • GS for SM3.0 hardware = 0.5 x (SM2S + HDRSM3S)
  • GS for SM2.0 hardware = 0.75 x SM2S
  • 3DMark Score = 2.5 x 1.0/ ((1.7/GS + 0.3/CPU Score)/2)
  • i.e. 2.5 x weighted harmonic mean of GS and CPU Score.

Now that you are confused, let’s continue to the results.


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