Benchmarking is testing. It is simply a program to
test your computer's abilities. Many people just use games to
test thier computers. Thats fine sometimes, and there is even
a game or two out there that doubles as a benchmarking program...intentionally.
But in general, games arent the best way to test your computer's
overall ability to run 3D and graphics intensive games. They are
just a little bit too subjective. A good benchmark like 3DMark
takes many of the variables out of testing the effects of various
tweaks and comparing results to other people. It allows us to
all test exactly the same thing repeatedly, under controlled,
Benchmarking serves two distinct, but related, purposes.
One, it allows us to see if our computer is running on par with
similar systems. In order for this to be effective, the benchmark
we use must have an easily accessable database of user test results,
and it must have a large user base, the larger the better for
comparison purposes. 3DMark is very popular with gamers, very
easy to use, has a large database of users, and even access to
some of the best and brightest users through thier message boards.
This fact alone puts it far ahead of most other gaming benchmarks.
The second purpose benchmarking serves is to compare
your results before and after making changes to your computer.
For a benchmark to do this well, it must run precise, controlled
tests because some tweaks make very small improvements (or unimprovements)
to your computer that you simply wont notice if you tweak and
go play WW2OL. A good benchmark will deliver consistent, precise
scores time after time, allowing you to judge the effects of the
smallest changes accurately. This is important, because many times
improvements come in small increments. In fact, they almost always
come in small increments. Just because you gained 1000 3DMark
points with that new driver doesnt mean you are done...you have
probably just started. And the thing that is gonna gain you the
next 500 points is small tweaks done carefully and with the success
of each tweak being carefully measured by your benchmarking program.
Get 3DMark Here
If you've never used 3DMark
before, read below!
To use 3DMark: Download, install, and run the default
settings. When the program finishes, it will display your score
in a window. Underneath the score is a button that says something
like "Publish Results Online". Make sure you are connected
to the internet, then click that button. The program will send
a bit of info to Mad Onion and a browser will open at Mad Onion.
At that site, look to the right and you will see a box titled
User Info. Click the Project Manager link in that box. After the
site loads, scroll down and you will see your benchmark. To the
left of the benchmark are 3 boxes to check. CUR, PUB, DEL. Checking
the CUR box and clicking the Update button at the top of the list
sets that benchmark as the one you will use to compare to others.
Clicking the PUB button and clicking Update Publishes the
results for all to see. DEL deletes the project from the
Mad Onion site, whether published or not.