Features and a Quick Run of Performance in the new 3DMark
We'll only be running the higher-end tests of 3DMark, which are the Fire Strike and Fire Strike Extreme benchmarks. I spent a couple of hours playing around with my system and 3DMark and came to really enjoy the new test from Futuremark.
It's not as time consuming as the previous 3DMark's, which is great. Fire Strike looks incredible, and features a bunch of high-end visuals to impress, and tax your system. Fire Strike is split into four different tests, with Graphics test 1, Graphics test 2, Physics test and Combined test.
Fire Strike's engine is very capable, featuring multi-threading, tessellation, advanced lighting, surface illumination, volumetric illumination, particle illumination, particle-based distortion, depth of field, lens reflections, bloom, and smoke simulation. It truly is a next-generation benchmark.
Let's open 3DMark up and introduce you to the latest benchmark that will soon be rushing across PC's all across the world. Upon opening up 3DMark, you're greeted with a welcome screen which allows you to upgrade and enter in a product key.
Once you're past this screen, you're shown the three tests you can run - Ice Storm, Cloud Gate and Fire Strike. We'll be concentrating on Fire Strike for now, but rest assured, you're going to see Ice Storm and Cloud Gate featured in our future reviews on multiple platforms - notebooks, smartphones, and more.
You can run a custom test, too, as well as Extreme mode on Fire Strike which is for higher-resolution monitors (as it runs at 2560x1440) and multi-GPU setups.
Here are some shots of Fire Strike running, in all of its beautiful glory.
Once you've run your test, you'll get a final 'Run details' screen. This will go over your system specs, your 3DMark score (broken down into multiple parts), the FPS, GPU and CPU Temperature are shown, too.
Moving onto Custom benchmarks - these have a very handy customization section. You can change the rendering resolution, texture filtering mode, antistrophic filtering, anti-aliasing and much, much more. This will allow you to do some very custom benchmarks, and some loops if you want to really stress your hardware.
The Professional section of 3DMark allows you the feature of an Image quality tool - with this tool, you can choose a timeline, a fixed FPS, and more. You can go by single frames, or choose an entire custom frame sequence.
Now onto our benchmarks! We ran the higher-end Fire Strike test, as well as Fire Strike Extreme. Overclocks on our Radeon HD 7950's didn't really help all that much, but you can see a slight difference in stock and OC. We've tested out some two-way HD 7950 GPUs for some multi-GPU action, too.
Watch this space as we continue our multi-GPU adventures, we'll be bringing you some 3-way and 4-way GPU action in the near future on both the AMD and NVIDIA sides of things.
One last great feature is that every benchmark you run with 3DMark is auto saved, meaning you can load them back up and view your scores and data. This is an excellent feature and I found myself double checking results very easily.