Futuremark Adds Vulkan Support To Its API Overhead Feature Test
Posted on March 23, 2017 10:00 AM by Rob Williams
Almost exactly two years ago, Futuremark introduced an “API Overhead” feature test as part of its 3DMark suite, and now, it gets a major update. In March 2015, the industry was still scrambling to figure out just how important these low-level APIs were, with DirectX 12 being at the top of most consideration lists. AMD’s Mantle was phased out at some point after the API Overhead test launched as DirectX 12 and Vulkan became the focus – and speaking of Vulkan, it’s what makes this particular update so major.
When the first API Overhead test released, it officially supported Mantle, completing a trio involving DirectX 11 and DirectX 12. Now, that trio swaps Mantle with Vulkan, allowing customers and enthusiasts alike to see just how it is Vulkan holds up against Microsoft’s mighty giant.
The video below explains the test in the simplest terms: it stresses the APIs to see which can generate the most draw calls. If the CPU is bottlenecked due to inefficient APIs, far fewer calls can be made, but when the tension is eased up via DX12 or Vulkan, more draw calls can be made.
The test works by locking itself to 30 FPS. The ultimate goal with the API Overhead test isn’t to gauge the highest FPS, but instead to push the highest number of draw calls. In DirectX 11 mode, this can be done as single- or multi-thread, while DX12 and Vulkan are multi-threaded by default.
In a quick test using an Intel Core i7-6700K (quad-core, 4.0GHz) and GeForce GTX 1080 with 16GB of G.SKILL TridentZ DDR4-2800 memory, I saw these results:
DirectX 11 Single-thread: 2.78 million/s
DirectX 11 Multi-thread: 2.68 million/s
DirectX 12: 27.9 million/s
Vulkan: 28.1 million/s
Just a pinch of improvement, aye? We’re currently in the middle of rebenchmarking many CPUs since we decided to start fresh following the Ryzen launch, but once that’s done, we’ll be likewise overhauling our GPU test suite. This test is sure to be introduced into our testing as it gives us a simple-to-understand overview of what to expect from DX12 and Vulkan.
If you own at least the Advanced edition of 3DMark, you can grab the latest version and get to testing.