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

3D Winbench 98 Scores And Real World Benchmark Results - Not Exactly Equivalent

All benchmarks were run under the following configuration:

  • Abit LX6 motherboard
  • 2x32 MB SDRAM DIMMs
  • Pentium 2 300 CPU
  • Quantum Fireball ST 3.2 HDD
  • Windows 95, OSR 2.1, DirectX 5, build 155
  • 3Dfx Voodoo2 driver
  • nVidia RIVA 128 driver
  • Real3D Starfighter driver
  • ATI Rage Pro driver 4.10.2278
  • ATI Rage Pro Turbo driver 4.10.2294

  • The Voodoo2 is leading over the i740 by 2 points. Does that mean that i740 is as fast as Voodoo2? Certainly not!
  • ATI Rage Pro Turbo driver is a lot faster than the previous Rage Pro driver? Only as long as you play 3D Winbench 98.
  • i740 is faster than the RIVA? The games tell a different story.

Incoming from Rage is one of the most awesome games this year and can not possibly be ignored. Here the world's in order again. The Voodoo2 shows what it means to be the technology leader and ATI's Rage Pro Turbo driver shows that ATI didn't mean 40% more performance in the press release, they wanted to say 25% less performance.

Voodoo2 takes it over the top, RIVA looks great too, Forsaken will be a game that looks great and plays well even on slower systems.

Please note that these are frame rate results of the downloadable demo version of Turok. The retail version on CD show completely different and much higher frame rates. Results scored with the retail version of Turok cannot be compared to any Turok TMARK results published on this website.

Good old Turok also agrees with Voodoo2 being the No.1 and RIVA being the No.2. Note the difference between the Rage Pro Turbo and the Rage Pro driver.

The i740 will soon come with an ICD for OpenGL which will improve the performance in Quake II considerably. The OpenGL wrapper that's used here can only offer 37% of the Voodoo2 performance. ATI's OpenGL driver is supposed to be released in the first half of March 1998.

So What Are We Going To Do Now ?

Well, let's take the advice from the industry. Do not base your buying decisions on 3D Winbench 98 . Never mind about awards given due to results of this benchmark. Intend on real world results and let nobody make you believe that an artificial benchmark is able to tell you any truth about the 3D gaming experience.

Is this the place for blaming ZDBOp? Certainly not! They had an extremely hard job in putting a benchmark together for Direct3D which is pretty comprehensible, particularly on the side of the quality checks. So what is wrong? If we want to point the finger then we could do this at editors who make their job easy by just running this one benchmark and hence by not doing the research that it takes for this job. In the first place we have to point the finger at ourselves though. Everybody is asking for an easy solution and be honest to yourself, don't you want to believe in just one benchmark telling it all? If editors are making their job easy by simply relying on 3D Winbench 98 then it's up to the readers telling these guys off. But as I said, we all want an easy solution and wouldn't it have been nice if this one benchmark would have told us all? ZDBOp had the courage of trying to live up to this wish. They didn't succeed, but when you think about it ... they couldn't, could they?

A wise man once said that the people want to be cheated at. I disagree with this in terms of computer hardware performance. We want the truth, we are sick of falsely inflated benchmark results, but we have to face the fact that this takes more work than just reading one magical number. That means that we also have to be able to ask questions, be critical, disbelieve the PR hype . And the companies who are trying to fool us ... ? Well, we'll see if these companies will be able to carry on with their way of doing business. This includes publications that don't really care about authenticy of their results. It's up to you ... take the chance, get informed, don't let them fool you!