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3D Winbench 98 - Only a Misleading Benchmark or the Best Target for Cheating ?

3D Winbench 98 - Only a Misleading Benchmark or the Best Target for Cheating ?
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You may have wondered why I never used 3D Winbench 98 for my 3D accelerator reviews. I found out pretty soon after 3D Winbench 98 was released, that the results scored in this benchmark did not show any conformity with frame rates scored in any real world 3D game. It also seemed pretty strange to me that some graphics card manufacturers were keen on equipping me with new drivers right after 3D Winbench 98 was available, sometimes even with the words 'these drivers will perform better in 3D Winbench 98'. Comments like that don't really enforce your believe in that benchmark, it rather sounds pretty much as if these new drivers were simply improved for this particular benchmark. Now whilst suspecting something like that I couldn't really be bothered doing any research about this unpleasant issue. Instead of this I started concentrating on finding new and good 3D games that included some decent frame counters. 'Turok' was one of the first, now the awesome game 'Incoming' and the latest playable demo version of the impressively looking 'Forsaken' as well as 'Quake II' complete my 3D benchmark suite for the time being. It was actually pretty annoying that I often had to explain to graphics card manufacturers why I wouldn't use 3D Winbench, because some were particularly keen on me using this benchmark. Others suggested Final Reality and although I really liked that benchmark when it was new, I really went off it latest since I saw the amusing posting of Mercury, where a Voodoo Rush card scored higher than a Voodoo2 card in Final Reality. I'd rather call that 'Final Irreality'.

I740 Faster Than Voodoo2 Or RIVA 128 ? Not Really !

It would have stayed like this and I wouldn't have cared about 3D Winbench 98, if there wouldn't have been all that noise about the yesterday released Intel 740 2D/3D chip, coming up with rumors that said the i740 would be a particular fast 3D chip because it would score higher than nVidia's RIVA in 3D Winbench 98. I was lucky enough that I just had received a Real3D Starfighter board, which is based on the i740 and so I could check out how well it performed straight away. Now the Starfighter isn't performing bad at all, but in the above mentioned 'games benchmark suite' it's clearly performing worse than Voodoo2 and RIVA. It puzzled me why that had to be the case, and I wondered if it was all hype that was being published all over the internet yesterday. I had to find out if I was just getting strange results, or if this was really the truth. Hence I ran 3D Winbench 98. I was shocked when I saw the result, it was higher than any result I had seen before and a quick test run of my Monster 3D II showed that Voodoo2 did only just reach that result as well. Now please understand this situation. Voodoo2 is scoring twice or even three times the frame rates of the i740 in any of the games I ran, but 3D Winbench 98 claims that their 3D performance is equal!!!

ATI Rage Pro Turbo Driver - Faster In 3D Winbench 98, Equal Or Slower In 3D Games

This was the very moment when I decided that it's about time to put an end to the spreading of hype by misleading 3D performance results achieved with 3D Winbench 98. I carried on testing other cards with 3D Winbench 98 and found out an even more ridiculous situation in case of the ATI Rage Pro Turbo drivers. Can you remember when last week ATI made a big PR effort about the so called Rage Pro Turbo, which is supposed to increase 3D performance by 40% only due to a revolutionizing new driver? Well, testing with this new drivers produced indeed a considerably higher result in 3D Winbench 98, however the frame rates of my games benchmark suite were either untouched or they even went down by 25% in the upcoming and great game 'Incoming' . What is this supposed to mean? The new driver scores better in 3D Winbench 98, but in real world applications it's either the same or even worse? Is that what YOU expect from a driver that is announced big time?

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