If you’ve been a PC gamer for quite some time, prepare to feel a little nostalgic. In the fall of 1998, Futuremark (earlier known as MadOnion) released its first-ever benchmark: 3DMark99. At its release, I had no idea of its existence, and instead discovered the series and company upon the release of 3DMark 2001.
Futuremark has always made sure that 3DMark doesn’t only push our PC hardware to its limits, but also that it looks good while doing so. Every single 3DMark released has been graphically impressive compared to actual released PC games at the time, and the earlier ones – at least for me – have some serious charm.
The first time I ran 3DMark 2001’s demo mode, I didn’t know what to expect. What followed was a dropped jaw… I was simply blown away. The part of the demo where the camera starts from space and zooms into a lush planet earth – it goes down as one of my biggest “wow” moments on the PC. I can honestly say I don’t immediately recall any other time when I had that sort of reaction to PC graphics.
Here’s what Futuremark itself has to say about the occasion:
Do you remember when DirectX 6 was cutting edge for PC games? With 4K gaming around the corner, and exciting innovations like Mantle, G-Sync and SteamOS on the way, it is easy to forget how far we’ve come in the last fifteen years.
In 1998, Microsoft released Windows 98, Apple sold the first iMac, and the world was introduced to a new search engine called Google. It was the year we listened to the first MP3 players and watched the world’s first digital terrestrial television service. And it was 1998 when Futuremark, itself barely a year old at the time, released a new benchmark called 3DMark99.
Since then we’ve released 11 versions of 3DMark, each one pushing hardware to the limit to demonstrate the potential of the latest graphics APIs. Today, 3DMark is the world’s most popular benchmark, used by millions of gamers around the world. It’s the industry standard by which gaming performance is measured.
Every version of 3DMark going back to 3DMark99 is available to download from our website. What’s more, to celebrate the 15th anniversary of 3DMark we’re giving away a pair of Fire Strike monster statues created by 3D printing the model used in 3DMark. See our website for details.
The last 15 years have been an incredible journey for us. Whether you’ve been using 3DMark from the start, or only more recently, thank you for supporting us.
And thank you, Futuremark, for continuing to give us some kick-ass benchmarks.
Want a chance to win a Fire Strike monster statue? Hit-up the link above!