Finally, we wanted to compare the new drivers Nvidia has made available for the release of 3DMark Vantage - ForceWare 175.12 beta - to the older ones with the GeForce 8800 Ultra.
The differences are significant. While the GPU score is "only" 8% higher, New Calico, and especially Feature Tests 3 (the one that uses parallax mapping, and on which the Radeon cards literally collapse) and 6 (Perlin noise) were really off the chart, without any possibility of doubt as to the specific nature of the optimizations. We should remind you here that, according to the Futuremark charter that validates the drivers for 3DMark, a driver must not have been optimized specifically for the benchmarking application.
AMD made their drivers for Futuremark (Catalyst Hotfix 8.471.1) available too late for us to use them in the preceding tests, but we were able to compare them to the previous Catalyst 8.4 WHQL version with a Radeon HD 3870 X2:
This time, the gain was even more impressive, both with the overall score and especially with Feature Test 3, which again was off the charts, with the Radeon HD 3870 X2 reaching 15.93 fps and taking the lead over all the other cards, despite its earlier abysmal performance in this test! The gains for Feature Tests 4 and 5 are also much too great to be legitimate. And indeed the rendering looked slightly corrupted to us, especially with New Calico, with horizontal lines appearing.
I think they might have underestimated how cheap a lot of the PC community is. $20 for a utility to get some arbitrary number seems a bit high to me.
So is you want to know if you graphic card is any good in DX10 environment, this is the only test you can use. What it's good for... Well not much at this moment, because it will take years untill we will see pure DX10 game engines, because the DX9 support is too important to the game makers!
But one day those DX10 games will come out, so until then this is the one and only test that you can use to test yours gpu's DX10 power...
seriously i am happy tomshardware wont be using 3dmarks newest applet anymore =D
As far as 3DMark Vantage goes, its useless in the real world. We should have Unreal 3 powered benchmarks since so many games actually use that game engine.
Signed:PHYSICIAN THOMAS STEWART VON DRASHEK M.D.