Key Release: Benchmarking tool 3DMark

Key Release: Benchmarking tool 3DMark
Aaron Lee

By Aaron Lee

May 23rd 2014 at 11:00AM

Develop delves into Futuremark's tech and its ambition to provide open and accountable benchmark testing

Hardware makers may claim that their latest products are on the cutting-edge, but that’s not always the case.

Benchmark testing tool 3DMark, from Finland-based Futuremark, measures the real-time graphics performance of computer hardware and mobile devices. As graphics-intensive mobile games such as Infinity Blade III and République grow in scope, it’s a tool well placed to assist developers or anyone else in games that needs to know more about what their gaming devices are capable of.

BENCH-BUSTED

Futuremark director of engineering Jani Joki tells Develop its benchmarks are the “industry standard”.

“Making great benchmarks is our singular focus, and we’ve been doing it for more than 15 years,” says Joki.

“We work closely with major technology companies such as AMD, Intel, Microsoft, Nvidia, Qualcomm and many others. You cannot make accurate, relevant benchmarks without industry input.”

Joki adds that the company’s open and accountable process has stopped developers and consumers being misled: “We were the only benchmark maker to take action against handset manufacturers who were recently caught unfairly boosting their Android benchmark scores, for example.

“Taken together, our deep expertise, wide cooperation and open processes ensure that we are best placed to create benchmarks that are accurate, relevant and impartial.”



One company that’s used the firm’s tech is graphics specialist Imagination Technologies. It recently made use of Futuremark’s 3DMark Cloud Gate benchmark to showcase its graphics capabilities for handsets at Mobile World Congress. Cloud Gate was originally designed for testing Windows notebooks and has only been made possible on mobile hardware thanks to the latest processors supporting OpenGL ES 3.0.

“3DMark shows what is possible using the latest graphics APIs with practical implementations of new effects and techniques,” Joki emphasises. “Recently, another trend has been towards chips that use less power. We will soon be adding battery life measurement to 3DMark to provide a rounded view of mobile performance.”

ON YOUR MARKS

Price-wise, 3DMark is available in three editions, including a free version (3DMark Basic Edition) for personal use. For overclockers and system builders, the Advanced Edition, priced from $24.99, offers custom settings, benchmark looping and detailed performance graphs. And for businesses, the Professional Edition includes command line automation, private offline results and additional tools. It is also the only version licensed for commercial use and costs $995.00.

As for Futuremark’s plans for the future, Joki says: “This year we’ll bring a version of 3DMark Cloud Gate to Android and iOS. On Windows, we’ll be adding a new test for portable devices that are DirectX 11 capable but which lack the power to run our test for dedicated gaming PCs.

“Microsoft announced DirectX 12 at GDC this year, and it won’t surprise anyone to hear that we are working on
a test for that too.”