3DMark06 Standard Test
Over the next few pages, we'll focus on a few gaming specific benchmarks, starting with the rest of 3DMark06's modules. For these tests, we compared the XPS 730x H2C to a single quad-core Intel-based system with a variety of high-end graphics configurations as well as the original XPS 730 H2C and the Velocity Micro Edge Z55 Core i7 system. We used both GeForce and Radeon based graphics configurations, both single-card and multi-card. We specifically chose to use the GeForce GTX 280 and the Radeon 4870 as they are the current top-end single-GPU products from the two graphics camps and they are both available as options for the XPS 730x.
||3DMark06 is the most recent addition to the 3DMark franchise. This version differs from 3Dmark05 in a number of ways, and 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 that number 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.|
3DMark is one of the few benchmarks where both SLI and Crossfire produce a consistantly significant performance advantage. This is well illistrated in our test as the top spot is claimed by the original XPS 730 configuration we reviewed back in May, thanks to its quad-Crossfire setup. It is worth noting that all of our reference systems used in the gaming tests are equipped with Core 2 processors and the only Core i7 system used as reference is the Velocity Micro Edge Z55. We can see that the Core i7 commands a hefty performance advantage in 3DMark since the XPS 730x and the Velocity Micro Z55 were able to claim significantly higher scores than their video card configuration would suggest.
It is obvious that multi-GPU setups rule the day when it comes to 3DMark. This is especially evident in the Shader Model 3.0/HDR test where all of the systems with multi-GPU setups all scored better than the single-GPU systems. However the advantage of the Core i7 architecture over the older Core 2 tech is still evident as we see both the XPS 730x and the Velocity Micro Z55 scored better than the Core 2 reference systems equipped with similar graphics setups.