Weekly Download: 3DMark
I admit I am a video game junky, and I’ve been playing them since I was a kid. I’ll never forget playing defender on my neighbor’s Atari 2600—I caught the sickness then, and I never quite got over it (how pathetic). New PC games are very high-tech and super realistic. They completely immerse you in the fantasy that the game is attempting to project. In addition, the Internet is playing a huge role in new game technology—you can race cars, have dogfights, or go on incredible quests with people all over the country and world if they have a good enough connection.
Game manufacturers are putting out games with bleeding-edge technology which creates a complicated spectrum of system requirements. If a casual user takes a look at the back of a newer PC game, take Doom3 for example, and try to decipher the system requirements you might as well ask them to explain the time-space continuum. The industry jargon isn’t very user friendly and people with newer computers especially think that their PC’s will meet all graphical requirement of new programs. Well my friends, as you will soon see, that’s not always the case. For instance, my PC here at work is a reasonably new (6months) P4 2.8Mhz CPU, 512 MB RAM which all sounds good and well. Then there’s the integrated graphics chip which is horrid, this one short-coming creates a graphical bottleneck for the whole system, making it good for little more than playing solitaire.
What I’m trying to convey is that figuring out what your graphical properties are can be tough, but I have a cool program that you all are gonna love. It’s been around for a while, and has changed names, but 3Dmark 2001 (formally Mad Onion) is one of the best video benchmarks around. 3Dmark2001 can help you understand your system and see what it can and can’t do.
Basically, 3Dmark analyzes your system with a number of tests then it presents the results to you in an easy to use interface. Frames Per Second, system hardware list complete with driver versions, and detailed results on the graphical tests. 3Dmarker also gives you a rating number that you can use to gauge yourself against others online. The “Help” link in the tool bar walks you through how to use the program and what it all means, in an hour or two (at the most) you’ll be able to shoot the breeze with any 16 year old gamer geek. You can also save the results of any of the tests for later reference to see if any changes you make have a difference on system performance.
The download isn’t that big (40MB) but it may take some time on a dial up connection. Turn off all background running programs when installing and when using the program (it will give you the best results). Once the program is installed I suggest that the first thing you do is read the Help file on getting started, this will answer all your questions and help you get the most out of the program.
We are not the developer of the above program and are not responsible for its performance. Please contact the software developer for tech support.