The Adults Start Slinging Cow Chips

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The adults are starting to sling the cow chips around, too.

Why nVidia thinks 3DMark2003 sucks here. Why ATI and Futuremark thinks it doesn’t suck there.

It’s fair to say there’s plenty of hypocrisy and intellectual dishonesty to go around in all the pieces. If you think any one of the parties is as pure as the virgin snow, you are biased.

The Futuremark comments are particularly amusing. It benchmarks this, except when it doesn’t. It benchmarks that, except when it doesn’t.

The most honest comment in the piece is at the very beginning:

“3DMark03 is a synthetic benchmark that is designed for the sole purpose of enabling objective performance measurement of DirectX ® 9 compatible hardware today. There are no other significant DirectX 9 applications published yet, and the most awaited DirectX 9 game is most likely at least six months away. 3DMark03 is a forward-looking tool that provides unique value to consumers in the form of impartial information to support their purchasing decisions today.”

So this measures a distant future environment for something you’re going to buy now.

OK, let’s take them at their word.

Nothing Is Worthy

I just reran the test. AthlonXP at 2.2GHz, 170MHz FSB, Radeon 9700 Pro at stock. That’s top of the line right now for a nonoverclocker with an Athlon system.

If you exclude the air fighter tests, and define “playable” as 30fps or more, most of the benchmark is “unplayable.” That’s at 1024X768 at default settings, with a 3DMark2003 of about 4600.

(At 1600X1200, again, excluding the fighters, maybe 15 seconds, tops, is “playable.”)

If this is what DX9 programming is going to be like, I don’t see a hardware combination that would be fairly playable in a real game until that score gets up to at least 7500, if not more, and that means 2004. (I don’t know what it would take to get the worst parts of the CPU test troll scene playable.)

Do you think any gamemaker in his right mind is going to put a game out that “performs” at that level anytime soon?

Well, Maybe Somebody . . .

The funniest comment I’ve seen so far about this benchmark came from an email I got:

Just wanted to share something with you I found while looking up Max Payne 2 on Remedy’s site Remedy’s site:

At the moment Remedy’s game technology is exclusively licensed to Futuremark, the developers of the critically acclaimed 3DMark benchmarking series, and Take Two Interactive Software. Licensing to further partners will be considered after the release of Max Payne 2.

If 3dmark03 is any indication, Max Payne 2 is gonna be a hog! 🙂


Might I suggest that you consider the framerates I’m getting and conclude, “Nothing is good enough now.”

Don’t run this benchmark, and conclude “my system sucks.” By gameplaying standards, every system out there sucks and every system built for at least the next six months, and more likely a year is going to suck, too.

So why spend a lot of good money now just to suck less? Hang on to your wallet until you can buy something that won’t suck at all.

Or until you have a real reason to upgrade.

Email Ed


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