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

3Dfx Interview

3Dfx , the technology leader in the 3D graphic chip market, did also not hesitate in filling out this little interview:

1) Everyone should know it by now, you are producing awesome 3D gaming hardware. Is there any company you would see as a dangerous competitor right now?

We don't see anyone as a dangerous competitor now. 3Dfx is uniquely focused on developing 3D technology as a 3D game platform as the new console. We also have a significant technological lead where it counts - in real game performance. We will maintain this lead.

2) Do you think that the i740 is going to be a big player in the 2D/3D card market soon?

It's hard to say at this point. Intel is moving to a place where it is unproven.

3) How much do you guys believe in benchmark results published in magazines or on the web?

It depends on the benchmark - ones that assess real game play are the ones we take most seriously. Artificial benchmarks are part of marketing hype.

5) How important is 3D Winbench for 3Dfx and how important do you think it is for the 3D card industry?

3D Winbench does not translate well into how a card will perform on real games. It's a boasting right but has very little to do with actual game play. A serious gamer would be crazy to buy a product just based on 3D Winbench figures.

6) Is it correct that drivers can be easily optimized for one application, e.g. 3D Winbench 98?

Yes. It's part of the benchmarking "game."

7) Has 3Dfx optimized the driver of the Voodoo^2 for 3D Winbench98?

No, we've optimized for the highest game performance. Some of those optimizations may help in 3D Winbench runs, but the focus is on game performance.

8) If you were a normal home or office user, would you base your buying decision on the 3D Winbench scores of a 3D accelerator?

(see above)

9) If 'no', what would you base your buying decisions on?

Game performance - how cutting edge games look and play is the real issue and should be the basis for evaluation.

10) Could you imagine that graphic card manufacturers would try and influence the buying decisions of users by optimizing their drivers particularly for 3DWinbench 98?

Yes. It turns out that there are many ways to cheat on 3D Winbench. Optimized drivers made only for running the benchmark is only one trick that gets played.

11) What are the strengths of the Voodoo^2 in your opinion?

Voodoo2 is completely software compatible with Voodoo Graphics. We preserve consumer's software investments. We build on the strengths of Voodoo Graphics. The speed and quality provided by this next-generation are unequalled. We're only just now getting a hint of want can be generated on a Voodoo2 platform.

12) What are the weaknesses of the Voodoo^2 in your opinion?

I suppose you could say lack of 2D support, but the focus of Voodoo2 is really on 3D graphics performance - period. It is meant to be the very best 3D graphics for gaming on a PC.

13) I know it's annoying, but are there any news about Banshee?

Speaking of 2D and 3D! The world will see Banshee later this year.

Steve Schick, 3Dfx