3DMark Steel Nomad and Steel Nomad Light benchmarks are available now and free for all users

3DMark launches its brand-new major PC gaming benchmark that replaces TimeSpy called Steel Nomad, and it's available for all users.

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3DMark Steel Nomad is the latest benchmark for joining the 3DMark suite. It's free for all current users and owners, including the free 3DMark Demo version. It's a milestone release from UL Solutions, following the popular Time Spy benchmark that launched in 2016.

3DMark Steel Nomad arrives in two versions: the baseline 3DMark Steel Nomad, which runs natively in 4K and is designed for 'high-end gaming PCs', and 3DMark Steel Nomad Light, which is for lightweight gaming PCs. Steel Nomad is a non-ray-tracing benchmark that includes new technologies like volumetric skies and procedural grass. It also includes advanced ambient occlusion and depth-of-field effects. UL Solutions notes that it's "roughly three times heavier for your PC than Time Spy, and almost seven times heavier than Fire Strike."

Watch the video above, captured with a GeForce RTX 4080 SUPER graphics card, to get a sense of the demo. As you'll notice, it's a definite GPU stress test as the high-end GeForce RTX GPU only manages to deliver frame rates in the 65-70 FPS region.

Above, you can see 3DMark Steel Nomad Light hitting around 200 FPS on the same hardware. This test version removes some of the more demanding visual effects used in the 4K benchmark while lowering the resolution to 1440p. It is designed for all PC gaming rigs, including lightweight and portable hardware - including the new Windows on Arm Copilot+ PCs launching next month.

Steel Nomad also arrives with a 20-minute Stress test and an Explorer mode that lets you freely explore the benchmark scene. In Explorer mode, you can turn effects on and off and tweak settings to create screenshots or get a better understanding of the rendering process. It's also the mode to discover hidden secrets and easter eggs celebrating 3DMark's 25 years as a benchmarking tool for PC gamers.

3DMark Steel Nomad and Steel Nomad Light benchmarks are available now and free for all users 02

Steel Nomad can also be run using the DirectX 12 API or Vulkan, with the latter offering a 10% or so performance increase (from our initial experience).

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Kosta is a veteran gaming journalist that cut his teeth on well-respected Aussie publications like PC PowerPlay and HYPER back when articles were printed on paper. A lifelong gamer since the 8-bit Nintendo era, it was the CD-ROM-powered 90s that cemented his love for all things games and technology. From point-and-click adventure games to RTS games with full-motion video cut-scenes and FPS titles referred to as Doom clones. Genres he still loves to this day. Kosta is also a musician, releasing dreamy electronic jams under the name Kbit.

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