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What is 3DMark?

Without a shadow of a doubt one of the most hotly contested markets for the PC is that of the graphics card. From its very simple fixed function beginnings graphics cards have become massively complex and extremely programmable pieces of micro engineering. In fact even experts in the field of graphics technology can get confused. It’s therefore vitally important to have the right tools to help you separate the wheat from the chaff, or to put it in context, the graphic gods from the video villains.

All computers that display an image do so by means of a graphics chip and the software we’re looking at in this article was created primarily to help judge the power and features of a variety of graphics chips and allow an accurate comparison.

The least expensive graphics solution is a motherboard with an integrated graphics chip and although this is perfectly suitable for simple day to day tasks it’s unlikely to offer enough power for even moderately demanding 3D games. . However, this is generally a false economy since a dedicated graphics card will have a far more powerful graphics chip and won’t steal some of you main system memory to function.

Microsoft Windows developed from a very basic Graphical User Interface (GUI) to a fully featured operating system complete with extensive multimedia capabilities. Microsoft knew that in order to further develop its operating system it was necessary to build in features that streamlined gaming and multimedia capabilities. This was done by allowing software and hardware to communicate more closely with the minimum of fuss and interruption, and so DirectX was born.

DirectX evolved incrementally as hardware complexity increased and is now the platform on which most games and multimedia content is based. It’s therefore not surprising that a graphics card’s DirectX performance is a key asset and potential buyers need to know how well a card performs under a DirectX environment. To fulfil this need FutureMark has produced a set of benchmarks specifically for determining the performance of graphics cards under DirectX

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