Futuremark first revealed in May of this year that it was working on a new DirectX 11 test for its popular 3DMark benchmarking program that would focus on gaming laptops and mid-range systems. Now just a few short weeks later, Futuremark is announcing the immediate availability of Sky Diver, which is a free update for all 3DMark users.
Sky Diver includes a Demo run, two Graphics tests, a Physics tests, and a Combined test. As you might imagine, the Graphics tests measure GPU performance, the Physics test measures CPU performance, and the Combined test evaluates both the GPU and CPU. Running the Demo (or opting not to run it) doesn't affect the score in any way.
The first Graphics test focuses on tessellation and uses a forward lighting method, while the second Graphics test looks at pixel processing and uses compute shader-based deferred tiled lighting. Futuremark said it added a new approach to the Physics test that extends the performance range for which the test is relevant -- it now runs through four levels of work starting with the lightest and continuing to the heaviest unless the frame rate drops below a minimum threshold.
Why add another test to the suite? Futuremark saw a gap that it wanted to fill, that being mainstream graphics cards, mobile GPUs, integrated graphics, and other systems that are unable to achieve double-digit frame rates in the more demanding Fire Strike test. Futuremark suggests running Sky Diver if a system scores less than 2,800 in Fire Strike. On the flip side, systems that score higher than 12,000 in Sky Diver should run Fire Strike, Futuremark says.
Sky Diver is unlocked and ready to use in all editions of 3DMark. Furthermore, Futuremark is offering 3DMark Advanced Edition on sale via Steam for $9.99, a 60 percent savings over its normal price.