Everything Changes


Like PCMark Vantage, the user interface has undergone an update. The changes here tend to be a bit more far-reaching, however. Instead of the usual 3DMark where you get a standard setting that everyone should use if they want to compare scores, 3DMark Vantage now includes four benchmark scenarios that you can run. The default is "Performance", which is roughly equivalent to the default settings in 3DMark06. It runs at 1280x1024 with a reasonable selection of graphics enhancements. "High" bumps the resolution up to 1680x1050 and increases the various detail settings, while "Extreme" takes things a step further in the detail department and runs at 1920x1200. Don't have what it takes to run at any of these settings? No worries, as Futuremark now includes an "Entry" setting that runs at 1024x768 and disables much of the complexity.





The above four images show the default settings for the four benchmark modes just described. Entry frankly looks quite poor with the disabled effects, but it runs fast. Even on a relatively high-end system, Performance and High modes struggle, and the Extreme benchmark absolutely crawls. Note that we experienced quite a few graphical glitches on Extreme in the Jane Nash test; AMD is likely working to release updated drivers, as it appears to be a GPU issue rather than a CPU/system problem.

Update: We have indeed received confirmation that new drivers are available - and not just from AMD. There's a hotfix driver update from AMD to address performance and graphical corruption issues with 3DMark Vantage and a beta driver from NVIDIA to do the same for their hardware. Since this is merely a first look rather than a review, however, the performance differences aren't a huge concern. We'll save the driver updates for future hardware reviews.

Update #2: Futuremark was kind enough to provide us with a Pro version registration code, and we sort of assumed the normal functionality and limitations that are present in previous 3DMark releases would continue. Not so, good readers! It turns out that you must register in order to even run 3DMark Vantage, and even with your email address you only get to generate one result with your trial - and even that needs to be viewed online. If you want what was normally free, you now have to purchase the Basic version for $6.95, and you still don't get access to all the features (i.e. the four test settings listed above along with the feature tests) unless you upgrade to the Advanced version for $19.95. The Pro version is mostly for business use, priced at a whopping $495. (Ed: Did we mention how thankful we were to receive a Pro code from Futuremark?)

It will be interesting to see how this plays out, because Futuremark may have relegated 3DMark Vantage into irrelevance by this decision. Now, you can't test and retest your system to see how any tweaks may or may not affect your score, and if you have multiple systems you're going to need to generate multiple email addresses. (Ed: I smell a rise in Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo, etc. email account registrations.) On the other hand, users interested in competing for the top ORB spots will now have to put some money into Futuremark's pockets. But then, Futuremark already receives funding from various sources, like Sapphire obviously, and paying to see ads isn't something most people like.

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  • piroroadkill - Tuesday, April 29, 2008 - link

    oh and 3DMark2001 is still my favourite of the lot Reply
  • Griswold - Wednesday, April 30, 2008 - link

    I bet, it blends perfectly into the picture of "yesterdays world". Reply
  • KHysiek - Tuesday, April 29, 2008 - link

    that comes with Vantage. Now yout get hardly anything above nothing for free. Reply
  • skinflickBOB - Tuesday, April 29, 2008 - link

    I happen to run a business too. When I started out 11 years ago, I made one vow - to make profit - sl long as my means remained honest.

    Yeah, who'd want to earn money for a living eh?

    I suppose you go out and work for free too do you?

    Or lets all open up a business and not concentrate on charging for our services...

    It's a simple concept really - we don't have to buy it do we?

    Bob
    Reply
  • michal1980 - Tuesday, April 29, 2008 - link

    yes business provides a service. However 3dmark provides nearly nothing to an end user. It was only remotly popular for stability testing, and o.c. fanbois.

    You dont play 3dmark, no games are based off of it. And the only reason it was popular at all, is because its free. Now the limited version costs 7 bucks. For a bench mark progarm. phhff sorry, vantage is an epic fail.
    Reply
  • BigLan - Tuesday, April 29, 2008 - link

    Yeah, I saw it was released yesterday and was interested, but wanting $7 just to upload to the ORB? Reply
  • Kyanzes - Friday, May 02, 2008 - link

    It's a major suckage that you have to pay for providing statistical data. I certainly won't pay for this "service", lol. 450MB download for a run-once benchmark? Stick it up to where it belongs. Reply
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, April 29, 2008 - link

    Article updated (page 2). Honestly, I never even realized the new registration system until I saw this comment. Ouch. Okay, so $20 is not that big of an expense - especially if you're already spending thousands of dollars to try and top the ORB charts - but with the included advertising it seems the Basic mode at least should have remained free. Reply
  • AssBall - Tuesday, April 29, 2008 - link

    You missed the point totally while you were preaching your personal business ideals. He said they changed it so you get nothing with the free version anymore. Reply

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