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Basic data

developer Underwriters Laboratories
Current  version 2.9.6631
( June 25, 2019 )
operating system Windows Vista , Windows 7 , Windows 8 , Windows RT , Apple iOS , Android
category Benchmark software
License Freeware or chargeable depending on the version
German speaking Yes

3DMark is a benchmark program that has been published by Underwriters Laboratories since 2014 , previously by Futuremark (formerly MadOnion) from 1999 to 2014, to determine and compare the performance of current graphics cards , PC systems and mobile systems such as tablets or smartphones . The determined values ​​are converted into scores for the purpose of comparability. The scores are not comparable between the 3DMark versions because different DirectX versions are used.

Development of the 3DMark series

Until 2002 the company Futuremark was still called Mad Onion, only then was the company name changed because of the reference to the term " benchmark ".

The Final Reality Benchmark from 1997 is considered the predecessor of the 3DMark series, which, however, was developed by the Finnish studio Remedy Entertainment . At the time, 3dfx Voodoo Graphics held its own among graphics cards, especially in the benchmark.

The first official version of the 3DMark series was 3DMark 99 (release: late 1998). Technically, it was based on DirectX version 6. First comparison measurements between different systems were made possible in the program.

The successor was 3DMark 2000 , which ran under DirectX 7. The minimum system requirements at that time hardly differed from the predecessor and amounted to a Pentium 166 with 64 Mbytes of RAM . Comparative values ​​could now be uploaded online to the Madonion database and compared with one another. The first world record benchmark results began to be listed.

In 3DMark 2001 there was again a standard and an extended version ( 3D Mark 2001 SE ). The prerequisite was a DirectX 8 graphics card such as a Geforce 3 or ATI Radeon 8500 . DirectX 8.1 was used in the SE version. For the first time, individual tests in the benchmark, for example the well-known Nature test, could only be calculated using the latest graphics cards at the time.

At the beginning of 2003, 3DMark 2003 came onto the market, with which DirectX 9 capabilities could be used. All tests could only be completed with DirectX 9 graphics cards. Many graphics chip manufacturers optimized their graphics card drivers in order to do particularly well in the 3DMark and thus create sales arguments. The graphics card manufacturer Nvidia criticized Futuremark for allegedly discriminating against Nvidia graphics cards in the tests. The dispute was later settled.

The successor 3DMark 05 appeared towards the end of 2005. A special feature was the requirement of Pixel-Shader 2.0.

On January 18, 2006, 3DMark 06 was published. In addition to the still valid basic requirement of Pixel Shader 2.0 on the graphics card, exclusive tests for Pixelshader 3.0 cards have been integrated, for example high dynamic range rendering . A 2.5 GHz processor was required as the CPU .

3DMark Vantage was launched by Futuremark in April 2008 and required Windows Vista as the operating system, as well as a DirectX 10 graphics accelerator. Once again there was a free version, in which the test results can only be viewed online, and several paid versions with more extensive functions. The basic version was only made available later at no additional cost, which meant that unlimited test runs were possible in return for the trial version.

The 3DMark 11 version appeared at the end of 2010 and does not use the PhysX physics calculation via the graphics card. DirectX 11 graphics cards and a dual core processor are required and there is again the choice between a free and a paid version (Advanced Edition).

The successor to 3DMark 11 is simply called 3DMark and is the first graphics benchmark software that runs not only on computers with Windows , but also on mobile devices with Android and Apple iOS . The platforms are tested in three different procedures that are tailored to the respective operating system.


The music in the credits of 3DMark 05 is the only song with vocals in the history of 3DMark. The title interpreter is the band Poets of the Fall with the track "Lift". The track name is given in the credits as "Lift me higher", which is officially incorrect.

3DMark and the overclocking scene

3DMark is one of the most popular programs to compare results and tests when overclocking your computer. Numerous members of the "overclocking" scene use the program to compare their results and to set new records. The current, official records are (as of December 23, 2016):

Time Spy Fire Strike Ultra Fire Strike Extreme Fire Strike
Points 28,333 26,829 40,315 47,299
3DMark 11
Entry preset Performance preset Extreme preset Physics Score
Points 49,608 49,327 30,827 26,931
3DMark Vantage
Entry preset Performance preset Extreme preset
Points 127.931 116,368 96,311
3DMark06 3DMark05 * 3DMark03 * 3DMark01 *
Points 65,476 54,137 196.481 177.441

* 3DMark05 to 3DMark01 are no longer included in the official record list. Status: 2008–2010

Considerable technical effort is made to achieve such results. Processors and graphics cards, for example, are cooled with liquid nitrogen (−196  ° C ) to enable extreme overclocking.

The results can be uploaded to the internet for comparison. To do this, an account must be set up on the Futuremark website in which the result data can be saved. Once the account has been created, your own benchmark can be examined in detail and compared with any other online user.

Manipulation of test results

Since the performance of graphics cards is also tested with 3DMark, this has already led to the graphics processor manufacturer NVIDIA improving the benchmark result through driver manipulations in order to stand out against its competitor ATI . However, this was quickly recognized and prevented by a patch . The application of the patch also worsened the results of ATI a little, whereby ATI was also suspected of having carried out manipulations. However, this could not be clearly proven.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. benchmarks.ul.com .
  2. Better benchmarking with UL. Underwriters Laboratories , accessed August 20, 2018 .
  3. PCGameshardware History of the 3DMark Series.Retrieved April 12, 2011.
  4. - ( Memento of the original from December 7, 2012 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. 3DMark Fire @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.chip.de
  5. Futuremark's official record list
  6. Article PC Games Hardware
  7. Compare 3DMark benchmarks online