Originally expected to arrive by the end of last year after being announced in November, Futuremark has finally released its latest version of 3DMark, which brings three new benchmarks including one for various mobile platforms, another for mediocre everyday computers, and a third for high-end machines.
Called "Ice Storm," the mobile test is comprised of two graphics elements as well as a physics test and allows for the comparison of iOS, Android, Windows RT and Windows devices (of note, it uses OpenGL ES 2.0 on iOS and Android, and a DirectX 11 engine limited to Direct3D feature level 9 on Windows).
Whereas Ice Storm is geared toward smartphones, tablets and ultra-portable notebooks, the second benchmark ("Cloud Gate") is designed for standard notebooks and home computers. It also features two graphics tests and a physics test using a DirectX 11 engine dialed down to Direct3D feature level 10.
Meanwhile, the new enthusiast-grade test ("Fire Strike") is currently exclusive to Windows builds of 3DMark and is said to be Futuremark's most ambitious and technical offering to date, featuring real-time graphics rendered with a higher level of detail and complexity than other games and benchmarks.
Fire Strike uses a multi-threaded DirectX 11 engine and along with the graphics and physics benches, it has a combined test that stresses the CPU and GPU at the same time. It also offers an "Extreme" preset for rigs with multiple graphics cards, though this setting is limited to the Advanced and Premium licenses.
The free 3DMark Basic Edition includes all three tests and likely has a sufficient feature set for most users, while folks willing to pay $24.99 for the Advanced Edition gain perks such as the ability to run each test individually, benchmark looping, more stats, the aforementioned Extreme preset and more.
It's worth mentioning that the Advanced Edition is currently 25% off on Steam (or through Futuremark if you have a 3DMark 11 Advanced license). For $995, businesses can get the Professional Edition with command line automation, an image quality tool, private results and the ability to export results as XML.
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