Benchmark Structure. 3DMark03 is a collection of 3D tests. These include a set of four game tests; these are the only tests used to calculate the overall 3DMark03 score. The benchmark also includes a set of CPU, feature, image quality, and sound tests. Each of these tests measures specific 3D-related functionality, but their result is not included in the overall score. They do not fall into the target usage, but are included to allow the user to evaluate these features. The CPU test is a convenient way to measure the performance of the CPU for typical 3D usage. The feature tests isolate the performance of key 3D features primarily relating to shader technologies. The next set of tests is an exciting new addition to 3DMark: the 3D sound tests. These evaluate the impact of 3D sound sources on 3D graphics performance. The software also includes a set of much-improved image quality tools. These provide a powerful way to ensure integrity of the graphics hardware and drivers.
Real-Time Rendering. Each 3DMark03 game test is a real-time rendering of a 3D scenario. It is important to note that these renderings are not merely animations or a set of recorded events; they are designed to function like 3D games work. As with 3D games, all computations are performed in real time. This is a critical part of FutureMarks philosophy of 3D graphics benchmarking.
DirectX. All tests have been compiled and linked with DirectX 9.0 libraries. However, only a small part of the benchmark requires DirectX 9 hardware. As DirectX 8 hardware is now commonly available, a major portion of tests requires DirectX 8 hardware support. A small part of the benchmark can be run with only DirectX 7 compatible hardware. Note that 3DMark03 is not appropriate for solely evaluating DirectX 7. 3DMark2001 SE should be used to measure DirectX 7 and early generation DirectX 8 hardware.
Frame-based Rendering. For the first time, 3DMark provides two different real-time rendering mechanisms: time-based rendering and frame-based rendering. Each game scene has a timeline or natural pace of action. Also provided is a frame-based rendering mechanism that renders a fixed number of frames for each second of the timeline. The number of frames is user configurable.
Shader Technologies. FutureMark believes that future 3D products will move to using vertex shaders and pixel shaders.3DMark03 focuses on these.
3D Engine. Previous versions of 3DMark used the MAX-FX 3D engine. The trend in 3D engines is moving towards very lightweight DirectX wrappers as more and more work is transitioned to the API and graphics card. 3DMark03 based the benchmark directly on top of the DirectX 9.0 3D platform. This allows the benchmark to be independent of specific technologies embedded in a single 3D engine implementation.
Real-time Physics. Besides 3D rendering, typical 3D games include CPU workloads. 3DMark03, uses physics calculations to represent this workload. It is important to note that these computations are being performed in real-time to accurately represent real game usage. Natural
Minimum Graphics Card Requirement:
DirectXÂ®9.0 compatible graphics adapter that has 32MB of memory and is fully DirectXÂ®7.0 compliant.
DirectX 8.0 compliant graphics adapter to run the demo and all but 4 of the benchmarks
Minimum CPU Recommendation:
1000MHz x86 compatible processor (PCMark2002 CPU score of over 2500) movements such as falling characters and crashes in 3DMark03 use real-time physics.