A Look at Futuremark’s 3DMark 11

by Rob Williams on December 7, 2010 in Graphics & Displays, Software

The time has come for another one of Futuremark’s benchmarks to help us realize that our current PCs are lacking in performance. We’re taking a look at 3DMark 11, which utilizes all of DirectX 11’s goodies, and as expected, the result looks good. Read on to learn more, and also see our benchmark results from 12 current graphics cards.

Page 3 – Benchmark Results; Final Thoughts

As is common with each new 3DMark release, Futuremark has adjusted the default resolution in each profile for the sake of relevance. The “Entry” profile benchmarks at 1024×600, so it’s in all regards useless. The “Performance” profile, which utilized a resolution of 1280×1024 in Vantage, has been dropped down to 1280×720 to suit the 16:9 aspect ratio. The same drop has happened to “Extreme”, which now benchmarks at 1920×1080.

I am of the belief that testing today’s graphics cards at a resolution such as 1280×720 is pointless, as we have a hard enough time pushing a resolution like 1680×1050 sometimes even with modest offerings. Despite that, we will still be running it for our tests as it’s the only option available to users of the free version. It’d make less sense for us to limit the comparisons our readers can make.

To test the benchmark using 2560×1600, we choose the Extreme preset and then adjust the resolution to 2560×1600. It’s a simple change, but as 2560×1600 has almost 2x the number of raw pixels as 1920×1080, it will help us better set the high-end cards apart from all the rest.

For the sake of not littering up this page with our methodology and system specs, I’ll instead link to a recent GPU review where it’s all listed in detail. The testing machine hasn’t changed for this article, as we’ll be implementing the results seen here into our GPU reviews going forward.

The test PC used includes a Core i7-975 overclocked to 4.0GHz, 12GB of Corsair DDR3-1333 memory, a Seagate Barracuda 500GB 7200.11 as the OS drive and sufficient cooling all around. The OS used is Windows 7 Ultimate x64. The drivers used for all AMD Radeon cards was Catalyst 10.11, while GeForce 260.99 was used for NVIDIA’s GeForce GTS 450 ~ GTX 470 and 263.09 for the GTX 570 and 580.

Futuremark 3DMark 11 - Performance 1280x720 Results

Futuremark 3DMark 11 - Extreme 1920x1080 Results

Futuremark 3DMark 11 - Extreme 2560x1600 Results

It’s clear that 3DMark 11, with its brute-force graphics techniques and adjusted scoring algorithms, will deliver results much lower than what we’ve seen with Vantage. While AMD’s Radeon HD 5970 scored over 13,000 in the Extreme test in Vantage, is scored a measly 2294 at the similar setting here. No complaints… but it will be fun to see who can hit 10,000 first at the Extreme setting!

Overall, 3DMark 11 looks to be a great successor to Vantage, although it does seem a bit lighter in overall testing. Futuremark cut off some excess, but even so, the overall package is nice. If I did have one recommendation, it’s that I’d love to see the GPU and CPU scores right along the 3DMark score on the result page. It’d be far, far more convenient.

If you decide to give 3DMark 11 a go for yourself, why not talk about your experiences and thoughts in our related thread?

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Rob Williams

Rob founded Techgage in 2005 to be an 'Advocate of the consumer', focusing on fair reviews and keeping people apprised of news in the tech world. Catering to both enthusiasts and businesses alike; from desktop gaming to professional workstations, and all the supporting software.

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