In-Depth Look: Futuremark 3D Mark 06

by Rob Williams on January 18, 2006 in Software

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..

Look at the tests

You can click on any of the screen shots for a larger version, but be warned, they are large.

Return to Proxycon

This is the first test borrowed from the previous version, but as with the others, everything has been improved. The actual engine has been improved in various ways, to better allow all the new tech. While the test adds new shadow techniques and lights, it will still only utilize SM 2.0.

This test tries to recreate an FPS game, with large rooms and tight corridors. There is a lot of action going on with bullets flying and metal cargo being hit. Most of the materials in this test can have light reflected off of it, and when the camera zooms out, it can really slow down. The test makes use of directional lights as you can see in the screen shot; it’s quite impressive.

Firefly Forest

Firefly Forest was certainly the ‘prettiest’ test from 05, and it makes a return in the new version. Again, the engine has been revamped and supports new lighting techniques and shadow effects. Like the Proxycon test, this one will only utilize SM 2.0 as well. In addition to the green fairy in the first version of the test, another pink one has been added.

This test is loaded with foliage and lighting. The fairies fly all around the environment, and the respective colors reflect off the environment. The addition of light scattering and fog makes this test a treat for the eyes.

Canyon Flight

This is the third test borrowed from the 05 version, but has been immensely improved. This test takes full use of SM 3.0 and HDR, and is a huge leap from the first test. Everything looks amazing, from the ship, the pilot, the water and of course, the dragon. The comparison picture below can speak volumes.

HDR plays a huge role in this test, but the only light source is the sun. You will see light reflected off of the dragon, the airship, the water and the canyon walls. The water is pixel shaded to give an ultra-realistic look, and it in my opinion is one of the most impressive features of the test.

Deep Freeze

Deep Freeze is a new test that utilizes SM 3.0 exclusively, in addition to HDR. It takes place in an Antarctic research base, and looks very much like a movie scene. Use of Dynamic Soft Shadows and Subsurface Scattering Effect is here, and helps make the test look extremely realistic.

As with the Canyon Flight test, the only light source in this test is the sun. The sun rotates during the test, so shadows scattered all over, move realistically with it. This is an intense test and will run sluggish on some GPU’s, but it’s a gorgeous one to watch.

Red Valley

The CPU test takes place in a large canyon where a lot of action is taking place. There are 87 bots which are traversing through the canyon shooting at each other. The test is locked at 2FPS and 640*480 so that the game is CPU intensive rather than GPU intensive.

This is a hardcore test for your CPU, because it uses three types of load: game logic, physics and path finding AI. It’s obvious why a Dual Core processor will benefit here, and the program is coded to take advantage of it.

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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