Marking Time: 3DMark 11 Performance Explored

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Last week, Futuremark released the latest version of 3DMark.  We've taken the new benchmark for a spin using CPUs from Intel and AMD as well as GPUs from AMD and NVIDIA. The new version, dubbed 3DMark 11 (in reference to its level of DirectX support, not the upcoming year) includes a fresh set of tests, a game demo sequence, and measures CPU performance rather differently than its predecessor, 3DMark Vantage.


3DMark 11: Now with additional oceanic encrustations.

We've run the benchmark through multiple tests, comparing it across AMD and Intel CPUs as well as AMD vs NVIDIA GPUs. According to Futuremark, 3DMK11 was designed meet four specific goals. These are:
  • Produce consistent results that are repeatable and verifiable.
  • Represent technology and workloads fairly and accurately
  • Remain relevant over a long period of time
  • Allow for result comparisons across a wide variety of systems
These are more-or-less the same goals of every version of 3DMark, but in this case Futuremark has made a number of technical and methodological changes. 3DMK11 shares Vantage's goals, but it pursues them in a different (and in our opinion, superior) manner.

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I just wanted to make a comment about the review. I think people are assuming that everyone knows that an ATI 5970 is dual GPU, but it should never be assumed. It's very important that people know that you are comparing a dual GPU board against a single GPU board, that your results in no way really reflect a true one on one comparison. If I were new to this, I would be thinking that the ATIs are way faster than the current crop of Nvidias, when that simply is not true.

 

I have seen too many hardware sites make a comparison like this without noting that it is a crossfire vs non SLI comparison you are really doing. And before anyone calls me a fanboy, I would make the same complaint if it was a dual GPU Nvidia, vs a single GPU ATI.

 

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I think the only people that read these sites are the ones that do the research or are generally interested in such sites, articles, reviews, etc.  The people that read these sites usually know what a bus, pci-express, (computer hardware vocab), as well as the "new, hip" thing to have where new technologies come out.  It's a nerdtastic place to be and I think that new people who do venture this site and don't know what new tech is out there would be so lost that they wouldn't even know where to begin.

That being said, if people did have an interest and found such sites, then hopefully they know how to search and have started building computers or learning where to start on building a computer.

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Tbagger has a good point and I amended the article to include that information. Unfortunately the only cards on hand were 5970s and NV doesn't yet support SLI for 3DMark 11. That's why the comparison looked the way it did.

Edit:  RealNeil - I did some checking on this--the dual GPUs on the 5970 are connected on one board the same way they'd be connected via Crossfire across two physical slots. Scott over at TR refers to this as "Crossfire on a stick" and that's a pretty good explanation. Any evaluation of a 5970 *is* a tacit evaluation of Crossfire, in any context.

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well shut my mouth

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