|Futuremark recently launched a brand-new version of their popular benchmark, 3DMark06. The new version of the benchmark is updated in a number of ways, and now includes not only Shader Model 2.0 tests, but Shader Model 3.0 and HDR tests as well. Some of the assets from 3DMark05 have been re-used, but the scenes are now rendered with much more geometric detail and the shader complexity is vastly increased as well. Max shader length in 3DMark05 was 96 instructions, while 3DMark06 ups the number of instructions to 512. 3DMark06 also employs much more lighting, and there is extensive use of soft shadows. With 3DMark06, Futuremark has also updated how the final score is tabulated. In this latest version of the benchmark, SM 2.0 and HDR / SM3.0 tests are weighted and the CPU score is factored into the final tally as well.|
Starting with the closest relation to 3DMark05, 3DMark06's overall score combines Shader Model 2, HDR/SM3, and CPU scores to give us a final tally. The end result still has the EN7900GT TOP giving us the best scores, both in single and dual configurations. The 7800GT has benefited some in the newer version as well, barely beating out the X1800XL that it had fallen behind steadily in the previous benchmark.
Looking at the individual score breakdowns, we see that the 7900GT is clearly the leader in the Shader Model 2.0 tests, outperforming both of the other cards by almost 33%. The 7800GT was running just a shade faster than the X1800 XL, but made up a lot of ground on the newer 7900GT when coupled with another card.
The single card scores really haven't changed much, if at all, when moving up from Shader Model 2 to 3. SLI scores, however, do show a healthy increase for the pair of 7900GTs. This duo outscored the two 7800GTs by nearly 450 points, when the difference in the SM2 tests was almost negligible.