Press releases

A Closer Look at Asynchronous Compute in 3DMark Time Spy

July 19, 2016

Every Futuremark benchmark is accompanied by a detailed technical guide that explains how the test works, what it measures, and how the scores are calculated. We create these guides to provide transparency to hardware press who use our benchmarks for reviews, to our industry customers, and for technically-minded gamers and overclockers.

The aim of the technical guide is to bridge the gap between code-level implementation that requires expert knowledge and a typical enthusiast's understanding of modern APIs and real-time graphics. But, occasionally, there is enough interest and excitement around a new feature or technique that a more detailed look is called for. One such technique in DirectX 12 is asynchronous compute. 

In this post, we'll explain how command lists, command queues, and specifically, asynchronous compute are used in 3DMark Time Spy.

Before we dive into the technical details, it is worth explaining how we make benchmarks at Futuremark and the steps we take to ensure that our tests are accurate, relevant, and impartial. 

Benchmark development process

As with every 3DMark release, Time Spy was developed with input from industry leaders including AMD, Intel, Microsoft, NVIDIA, and the other members of our Benchmark Development Program (BDP). 

3DMark Time Spy has been in development for nearly two years, and BDP members have been involved from the start. BDP members receive regular builds throughout development and conduct their own review and testing at each stage. They have access to the source code and can suggest improvements and changes to ensure that the implementation is correct. All development takes place in a single source tree, which means anything suggested by a vendor can be immediately reviewed and commented on by the other vendors. Ultimately, each member approves the final benchmark for release to the press and public. 

Of all the 3DMark tests we have created over the years, Time Spy has probably seen the most scrutiny from our partners. Each vendor had staff spend weeks in our office working with our engineers. The daily source code drops we offer have been downloaded hundreds of times. We have around one thousand emails of vendor communication related to Time Spy. Every detail has been debated and discussed at length. 

When there are conflicting views we listen to all parties to hear their opinions and look at the supporting data they provide. We also talk to game developers to hear their views and experiences. When deciding on the implementation, our main guideline is to ask, "Is this the approach a game developer would take?" when considering whether the gain in performance is sufficient for the amount of developer time required.

Benchmark design and principles

In all Futuremark benchmarks we aim for neutrality by ensuring that all hardware is treated equally. Every device runs the same workload using the same code path. This is the only way to produce results that are fair and comparable.

In the past, we have discussed the option of vendor-specific code paths with our development partners, but they are invariably against it. In many cases, an aggressive optimization path would also require altering the work being done, which means the test would no longer provide a common reference point. And with separate paths for each architecture, not only would the outputs not be comparable, but the paths would be obsolete with every new architecture launch. 

3DMark benchmarks use a path that is heavily optimized for all hardware. This path is developed by working with all vendors to ensure that our engine runs as efficiently as possible on all available hardware. Without vendor support and participation this would not be possible, but we are lucky in having active and dedicated development partners. 

Ultimately, 3DMark aims to predict the performance of games in general. To accomplish this, it needs to be able to predict games that are heavily optimized for one vendor, both vendors, and games that are fairly agnostic. 3DMark is not intended to be a measure of the absolute theoretical maximum performance of hardware. 

Overview of Command List usage in DirectX 12

Quoting from MSDN:

"Most modern GPUs contain multiple independent engines that provide specialized functionality. Many have one or more dedicated copy engines, and a compute engine, usually distinct from the 3D engine. Each of these engines can execute commands in parallel with each other. Direct3D 12 provides granular access to the 3D, compute and copy engines, using queues and command lists.

"The following diagram shows a title's CPU threads, each populating one or more of the copy, compute and 3D queues. The 3D queue can drive all three GPU engines, the compute queue can drive the compute and copy engines, and the copy queue simply the copy engine.

"As the different threads populate the queues, there can be no simple guarantee of the order of execution, hence the need for synchronization mechanisms - when the title requires them."

Four threads sending commands to three queues

Command lists and execution

Unlike the Draw/Dispatch calls in DirectX 11 (with immediate context), in DirectX 12, the recording and execution of command lists are decoupled operations. This means that recording can and does happen as soon as it has all available information and there is no thread limitation on it.

For GPU work to happen, command lists are executed on queues, which come in variants of DIRECT (commonly known as graphics), COMPUTE and COPY. Submission of a command list to a queue can happen on any thread. The D3D runtime serializes and orders the lists within a queue.

Once initiated, multiple queues can execute in parallel. But it is entirely up to the driver and the hardware to decide how to execute the command lists - the game or application cannot affect this decision with the DirectX 12 API.

This parallelism is commonly known as ‘asynchronous compute’ when work is done on the COMPUTE queue at the same time as work is being done on the DIRECT queue. 

DIRECT command list

This command list type supports all types of commands in DirectX 12. This includes Draw calls, compute Dispatches and Copies.

COMPUTE command list

This command list type supports compute Dispatch and Copy commands.

DIRECT queue

This queue can be used for executing all types of command lists supported by DirectX 12. 


This queue accepts compute and copy command lists.

COPY command list and queues

This command list and queue type accepts only copy commands and lists respectively.

Please see MSDN for an introduction to the Design Philosophy of Command Queues and Command Lists, and for more information on Executing and Synchronizing Command Lists

Command List usage in 3DMark Time Spy

The Time Spy engine uses two command queues: a DIRECT queue for graphics and compute and a COMPUTE queue for asynchronous compute. This queue structure is used in every instance regardless of the capabilities of the hardware being tested. 

The number of command lists is large as many tasks have their own command lists, (several copies so that frames can be pre-recorded).

The COPY queue is generally used for streaming assets, which is not needed in Time Spy as we load all assets before the benchmark run begins to ensure the test does not gain a dependency on storage or main memory.

Work items in the COMPUTE queue (in order of submission)

  1. Particle simulation
  2. Light culling and tiling
  3. Environment reflections
  4. Horizon based ambient occlusion
  5. Unshadowed surface illumination

Particle simulation

This pass is recorded and executed at the beginning of a frame because it doesn’t depend on the G-buffer. Thus its recording and submission is done in parallel with recording and submission of geometry draws (G-Buffer construction).

Light culling and tiling, Environment reflections, HBAO and Unshadowed surface illumination

These passes are recorded and submitted in parallel with G-Buffer recording and submission, but executed only after the G-Buffer has finished executing and in parallel with shadow map draws execution. This is because they depend on the G-Buffer, but not on the shadow maps.

Simplified DAG of 3DMark Time Spy queue usage

Simplified DAG of 3DMark Time Spy queue usage

  • Grey tasks are CPU tasks.  
  • Green tasks are submissions to the DIRECT queue. 
  • Red tasks are submissions to the COMPUTE queue
  • Yellow tasks are submissions of synchronization points to the queue they’re pointing to. If there are no dependencies between the tasks then they are executed on the CPU in parallel.
  • Each task encapsulates a complex task substructure which is omitted in this simplified graph for clarity.
  • The async_illumination_commands tasks contain: light culling and tiling, environment reflections, HBAO and unshadowed surface illumination.

The significance of synchronization point tasks can be seen by noting that “execute_async_illumination_commands” cannot be executed on the GPU before “execute_gbuffer_commands” is completed, but the submission happens ahead of the execution unless we are CPU bound. So the GPU needs to know that it should wait for one task to complete execution before a dependent task can begin executing, when the execution is split between queues then this operation should be done by the engine otherwise, a RAW hazard occurs.

The dependency between particle simulation and completion of particle illumination in the previous frame is necessary because simulation happens on the COMPUTE queue which is not synchronized by the Present occurring on the DIRECT queue so a WAR hazard occurs.

Task summary

DIRECT queue - G-buffer draws, shadow map draws, shadowed illumination resolve, and post-processing are executed on the direct queue. G-buffer draws, shadow maps and some parts of post-processing are done with graphics shaders, while illumination resolve and the rest of the post-processing is done in compute shaders.

COMPUTE queue - Particle simulation, light culling and tiling, environment reflections, HBAO and unshadowed surface illumination resolve are executed on the compute queue. All tasks in compute queue must be done in compute shaders.

The order of submission can be obtained from the dependency graph. However, it is entirely up to the driver and the hardware to decide when to actually execute the given list as long as it is executed in order in its queue.

How tasks are submitted to the hardware

Next we will use a Microsoft tool called GPUView to see how Time Spy tasks are queued and executed at the hardware level for a variety of graphics cards models. 

In the images captured from GPUView, the queues that exist on the device context side are at the bottom, while the queues in the top section are the hardware queues, which here are referred to as 3D, Compute and Copy. 

The various colors signify different types of packets and from what process they’re coming from: 

  • Cyan-tinted packets are standard work item packets (darker ones are originating on DIRECT queue, while lighter on the COMPUTE queue)
  • Pink packets are waits
  • Reddish are signals (which release the waits)
  • One type of dashed are presents the other is converted waits. 
  • The packets propagate from top to bottom on the device context queues and on the hardware queues.

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970

GPUView of NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970 running 3DMark Time Spy

This is a screenshot of a trace taken on an NVIDIA GTX 970 viewed with GPUView. It shows when various packets are entering queues and when they leave them. 

In this context, queues are used to hold all types of work items after being serialized by the D3D runtime as described here. It is possible to discern the type of the associated queue in the engine by the work items found in it. 

The DIRECT queue can be identified by the present packets which are enclosed in this screenshot by a yellow ellipse. On the other hand the COMPUTE queue doesn’t contain any present packets, and overall contains significantly less items than the DIRECT queue because it’s packed better due to lower number of required synchronizations.

GPUView of NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970 running 3DMark Time Spy

This is a zoomed-in image in which the propagation can be observed more closely. The black ellipses signify compute load originating on a dedicated compute queue and being serialized by the driver to the hardware 3D queue. The yellow ellipse is to distinguish the device context DIRECT queue by the present packets.

From this image, we can see that although work is submitted in two separate queues, the queues are merged to execute on a single hardware queue.

AMD Radeon Fury

GPUView of AMD Radeon Fury running 3DMark Time Spy

Here is a corresponding trace from an AMD Radeon Fury. Two dedicated queues can clearly be observed on both the hardware and the device context side. The black ellipses are pointing to a specific compute packet, while the yellow ellipse points to a present packet which helps to identify the DIRECT queue.

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080

GPUView of NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 running 3DMark Time Spy

Above is a corresponding trace from an NVIDIA GTX 1080. As can be seen the general structures resemble those which are found on AMD Radeon Fury, albeit with extra queues that do not originate from the engine and which contain only synchronization items. From this image we can see that the GTX 1080 has an additional compute queue which accepts packets in parallel with the 3D queue.

Running with asynchronous compute disabled in benchmark settings

You can disable the use of asynchronous compute in the Time Spy benchmark workload by using the toggle found on the Time Spy custom run settings page (in 3DMark Advanced and Professional Editions). Running with asynchronous compute disabled in the benchmark forces all work to be done in the DIRECT queue.

Running without asynchronous compute does not have any effect on image quality. When asynchronous compute is disabled in the benchmark, all work items associated with the COMPUTE queue are simply moved to the DIRECT queue. 

In the case where the driver decides to serialize dedicated compute work into the 3D queue, (the game or application cannot affect this decision), it’s up to the driver to place it in the correct order for execution so that visual quality will not be affected.

AMD Radeon Fury

GPUView of AMD Radeon Fury running 3DMark Time Spy

The image above is a trace from an AMD Radeon Fury with asynchronous compute disabled in the benchmark. All work items exist only on one queue and get submitted to one hardware queue. 

From this image we see that work submitted in a single queue will not be automatically distributed on the hardware even when it has an additional compute queue available. Work is only distributed on the hardware when the work is submitted to two separate queues.

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970

GPUView of NVIDIA GeForce GTX 970 running 3DMark Time Spy

Here is the corresponding trace taken on an NVIDIA GTX 970, with async compute disabled in Time Spy benchmark settings. Again we can see that there is only one queue. 

NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080

GPUView of NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 running 3DMark Time Spy

Finally, here is a corresponding trace taken on an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080. As you can see, the extra COMPUTE queue from the previous trace is gone. From this image we see that, as on the Radeon Fury, when we do not create a separate COMPUTE queue then no automatic separation and submission of tasks by the driver will occur.

In all these situations we can see a clear difference when the benchmark forces all work into the same DIRECT queue, or when we populate both DIRECT and COMPUTE queues.


Asynchronous compute is one of the most interesting new features in DirectX 12. The work that Time Spy places into the COMPUTE queue and the specific implementation of that work is the result of deep co-operation with all BDP members including AMD, Intel, Microsoft, and NVIDIA among others.

The implementation is the same regardless of the underlying hardware. In the benchmark at large, there are no vendor specific optimizations in order to ensure that all hardware performs the same amount of work. This makes benchmark results from all vendors comparable across multiple generations of hardware.  

Whether work placed in the COMPUTE queue is executed in parallel or in serial is ultimately the decision of the underlying driver. In DirectX 12, by placing items into a different queue the application is simply stating that it allows execution to take place in parallel - it is not a requirement, nor is there a method for making such a demand. This is similar to traditional multi-threaded programming for the CPU - by creating threads we allow and are prepared for execution to happen simultaneously. It is up to the OS to decide how it distributes the work.

For benchmarks to be relevant and useful tools, they must be fair, impartial, and unbiased. This is why 3DMark Time Spy, and all other Futuremark benchmarks, are developed with industry-leading hardware and software partners through our Benchmark Development Program using a process that's been government vetted for fairness and neutrality. This process ensures that our benchmarks are accurate, relevant, and impartial.

We take pride in creating the world’s best and most popular benchmarking software. We also hope our openness in providing this detailed description of new DirectX features, and how we utilize them, has been informative and interesting. 

If you have a question about Time Spy, please contact our Director of Engineering, Jani Joki at, We always aim to be transparent in our implementation and our process, and we're happy to explain any aspect that hasn't been covered here.

3DMark Time Spy - DirectX 12 benchmark test available now

July 14, 2016

3DMark Time Spy, a new DirectX 12 benchmark test, is now available to download and buy from the Futuremark website and from Steam

3DMark Time Spy

Developed with input from AMD, Intel, Microsoft, NVIDIA, and the other members of our Benchmark Development Program, 3DMark Time Spy is one of the first DirectX 12 apps to be built "the right way" from the ground up to fully realize the performance gains that the new API offers. 

DirectX 12, introduced with Windows 10, is a low-level graphics API that reduces processor overhead. With less overhead and better utilization of modern GPU hardware, a DirectX 12 game engine can draw more objects, textures and effects to the screen. How much more? Take a look at the table below that compares Time Spy with Fire Strike, a high-end DirectX 11 test.

Average processing performed per frame in 3DMark Time Spy and 3DMark FIre Strike

With its pure DirectX 12 engine, which supports new API features like asynchronous compute, explicit multi-adapter, and multi-threading, 3DMark Time Spy is the ideal benchmark for testing the DirectX 12 performance of the latest graphics cards.

3DMark - The Gamer's Benchmark

3DMark is a popular benchmarking application used by millions of gamers, hundreds of hardware review sites and many leading technology companies. With its wide range of benchmarks, you can benchmark everything from tablets and laptops to the latest high-end 4K gaming PCs. 

Time Spy is available as a free update for all Windows editions of 3DMark, including 3DMark Basic Edition and the Steam demo.

3DMark Basic Edition / Steam demo - FREE

Benchmark your PC with a range of tests including Time Spy and Fire Strike.

3DMark Advanced Edition - New price from July 23 - $29.99

Since its release in 2013, 3DMark Advanced Edition owners have enjoyed free updates which have added exclusive new tests and features such as Fire Strike Ultra, the API Overhead feature test, and most recently, the new Stress Tests. With the addition of Time Spy, the price of 3DMark Advanced Edition will go up from $24.99 to $29.99 on July 23. 

3DMark Advanced Edition unlocks all benchmarks and additional features including Time Spy Custom run settings and the Time Spy Stress Test. 

  • Unlock all benchmarks and feature tests including Time Spy.
  • Check your PC's stability with 3DMark Stress Tests.
  • Explore your PC's performance limits with custom settings.
  • Get in-depth insights with interactive performance graphs.
  • Automatically save your results offline.

3DMark Time Spy upgrade - $9.99

This is an optional upgrade for people who bought 3DMark Advanced Edition before July 14, 2016. The upgrade unlocks additional features and settings, but it is not required to run Time Spy benchmark tests.

  • Unlock custom settings for Time Spy.
  • Unlock the Time Spy Stress Test.
  • Unlock the option to skip the Time Spy demo.

3DMark Professional Edition - POA

3DMark Professional Edition is licensed for business and commercial use. It offers additional features designed for business users such as command line automation and scripting, extended Stress Test options, Image Quality Tool, private offline results by default, and result export to XML for further analysis and reporting. Contact us for a quote at

Special launch offers and promotions

Save 60% on 3DMark Advanced Edition until July 23
$9.99, usually $24.99, then $29.99 after July 23

Existing 3DMark owners, save 50% on Time Spy upgrade until July 23
$4.99, usually $9.99

Introducing 3DMark Time Spy DirectX 12 benchmark test

June 23, 2016

Since 1998 gamers have turned to 3DMark benchmarks to see the latest advances in real-time graphics made possible with each new version of DirectX. That's why today we are excited to share the first official trailer and screenshots from 3DMark Time Spy, our upcoming DirectX 12 benchmark test.

In the trailer, you'll get a glimpse of gaming's future while revisiting classic 3DMark scenes from the past. For a bit of fun, see how many can you spot.

3DMark Time Spy

Time Spy is a new DirectX 12 benchmark test, coming soon to all Windows editions of 3DMark. With its pure DirectX 12 engine, built from the ground up to support new features like asynchronous compute, explicit multi-adapter, and multi-threading, Time Spy is an ideal benchmark for testing the DirectX 12 performance of the latest graphics cards.

Developed with input from AMD, Intel, Microsoft, NVIDIA, and the other members of the Futuremark Benchmark Development Program, Time Spy shows the exciting potential of low-level, low-overhead APIs like DirectX 12. 

3DMark Time Spy screenshot 1

3DMark Time Spy screenshot 2

3DMark Time Spy screenshot 3

3DMark Time Spy screenshot 4

About 3DMark - The Gamer's Benchmark

3DMark is a popular benchmarking application used by millions of gamers, hundreds of hardware review sites and many leading technology companies. With its wide range of benchmarks, you can benchmark everything from tablets and laptops to the latest high-end 4K gaming PCs. 

Time Spy will be added to 3DMark as a new test to complement the existing benchmarks. Time Spy will be available in all Windows editions of 3DMark, including 3DMark Basic Edition and the Steam demo, both of which are free.

Save 80% on 3DMark in the Steam Summer Sale

The Steam Summer Sale has just started. Grab 3DMark for just $4.99 and you'll save $20 off the usual price. Everyone who buys 3DMark in the Steam Sale will be able to run the Basic version of Time Spy when it is released.

Check your PC's stability with new 3DMark Stress Tests

June 13, 2016

3DMark Stress Tests

Introducing 3DMark Stress Tests

Did you know that you can use 3DMark for more than just benchmarking? Over two-thirds of users turn to 3DMark to check the stability of their overclocks. And more than half use it to test system cooling performance. 

Now we've made it easier than ever to check the stability of your PC by adding a dedicated stress testing feature to 3DMark.

The aim of stress testing is to place a high load on your system for an extended period of time to expose any problems with stability and reliability. It can also help identify faulty hardware or the need for better cooling. 

The best time to run a 3DMark Stress Test is after buying or building a new PC, upgrading your graphics card, or overclocking your GPU. If your GPU crashes or produces visual artifacts during the test, it may indicate a reliability or stability problem. If it overheats and shuts down, you may need more cooling in your computer. 

3DMark now includes four levels of stress testing based on the Sky Diver, Fire Strike, Fire Strike Extreme, and Fire Strike Ultra benchmarks.

Each 3DMark Stress Test runs in a loop without pausing for loading screens or other breaks. In 3DMark Advanced Edition, the test loops 20 times and runs for around 10 minutes, which is usually enough to uncover any stability or cooling issues. With 3DMark Professional Edition, you can set any number of loops from 2 to 5,000. 

Results and reporting

After running a 3DMark Stress Test, you will see your system’s Frame Rate Stability score. A high score means your PC's performance under load is stable and consistent. To pass the test, your system must complete all loops with a Frame Rate Stability of at least 97%. For more details, please read our 3DMark Technical Guide.

In the example below, you can see that the system failed the test because its average frame rate dropped from 59 FPS to 51 FPS after the GPU reached its peak temperature. 3DMark shows that the system was not able to maintain a consistent level of performance under load. It had throttled down its performance when hot, suggesting that better cooling may be needed.

3DMark Stress Tests

Stress test your PC today 

Stress Tests are available now in 3DMark Advanced Edition and 3DMark Professional Edition

Standalone versions will prompt you to download and install the update. On Steam, 3DMark updates automatically. 

A new storage benchmark for Android smartphones and tablets

May 23, 2016

PCMark for Android benchmark for smart phones and tablets

One of the most overlooked measures of smartphone performance is the speed of the storage.

No matter how fast the processor, when the storage is too slow you get a laggy, stuttering experience. But this real-world fact is ignored by benchmarks that only measure peak CPU performance in isolation.

That's why our PCMark for Android benchmark uses everyday tasks that test the device as a whole unit, including its storage. And now we're taking it a step further by adding a new, dedicated test that provides a comprehensive view of Android storage performance.

Introducing the PCMark for Android Storage Test

PCMark for Android Storage Test for smartphones and tablets

A device's IO performance describes its ability to write data In and read data Out of the storage. Good IO performance is key to a smooth, stutter-free experience. The PCMark for Android Storage Test measures storage IO performance in three key areas.

Internal Storage is where your apps save private data such as settings and user data. The Android default cache directory is also in the internal storage. Files saved in internal storage are private to the application and cannot be accessed by the user or other applications. Internal storage performance most commonly impacts the startup time and smooth running of your apps.

External Storage is used to save public data such as documents, photos, videos, and other files, as well as non-sensitive app data such as textures and sounds. Depending on the device, external storage can be removable, (such as an SD card), or built-in. Files in external storage can be found and modified by the user. External Storage performance most commonly impacts your experience when loading and viewing media files such as photos and videos.

Both tests measure the performance of the storage for random read, sequential read, random write, and sequential write operations.

The Database test measures performance when reading, updating, inserting and deleting database records using SQLite, the default relational database management system in Android. Following default Android behavior, the test database is saved in the device's internal storage.

You get detailed scores for each part of the test as well as an overall, weighted score that you can use to compare devices easily. 

PCMark for Android Storage benchmark results

What’s new in PCMark for Android v1.4.3539

  • Benchmark the storage performance of your Android device with the new Storage test.
  • Restored the language option on the Settings screen. Choose from English, Chinese, and Russian.
  • App now requires Android 5.0 or higher.


PCMark for Android is a free benchmark app available from Google Play. 

Download PCMark for Android benchmark from Google Play

3DMark adds VRMark preview and new UI for Windows version

April 6, 2016

We're rolling out a major update for 3DMark today that adds a new user interface for all editions and a preview of VRMark for Advanced and Professional Edition users. 

3DMark for Windows

VRMark Preview

VRMark Preview screenshot

Exclusive to 3DMark Advanced and Professional Editions, this update adds an interactive preview of VRMark, our upcoming virtual reality benchmark. In this preview, you can freely explore two VRMark test scenes with Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. But don't worry if you don't have a headset. The preview works with your monitor too. 

The VRMark preview is a taste of what to expect from the full release, coming soon. Scene 1 is designed for the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive minimum spec. Scene 2 requires more powerful hardware. The preview does not produce a benchmark score. 

New 3DMark interface for 2016

3DMark for Windows benchmark UI Home page

3DMark grows bigger every year with new tests. Since launch, we've added Fire Strike Ultra, Sky Diver, and the API Overhead feature test. With more tests coming soon, we've created a new user interface that's faster, more flexible and easier to use. 

The new Home screen shows the recommended benchmark for your system. No more guessing which benchmark is right for your PC. You can run other tests from the Benchmarks screen.

More flexibility, faster downloads, smaller updates

3DMark for Windows UI benchmarks

We've also rebuilt the internal framework of the 3DMark app. On Steam, you can now install and update individual benchmark tests independently. This makes the initial download much smaller. And it means you can choose to install only the tests you need. 

We've also enabled the ability to update tests individually in the standalone 3DMark Advanced Edition. Say goodbye to massive downloads with every update. 

And that's not all

This update also adds Russian localization, unlocks Ice Storm Unlimited and Ice Storm Extreme in the Basic Edition, updates SystemInfo for improved hardware detection, and adds a workaround for an issue that resulted in some AMD graphics cards running at lower than expected clock speeds. You can read the complete release notes for this update here. 

Get 3DMark

You can download or buy 3DMark from our website and from Steam

A new cross-platform benchmark for Apple and Android devices

March 29, 2016

3DMark Sling Shot Apple benchmark for iPhones and iPads

Apple's new iPhone SE and 9.7-inch iPad Pro arrive in stores this week. So today we're releasing a new a cross-platform 3DMark benchmark test to help you compare them with the latest Android devices.

Introducing Sling Shot Extreme

Released today on the Apple App Store, and already available for Android devices from Google Play, 3DMark Sling Shot Extreme is a cross-platform benchmark test for the latest high-end smartphones and tablets. It uses Apple's low overhead Metal API on iPhones and iPads, OpenGL ES 3.1 on Android devices, and has a 2560 × 1440 rendering resolution on both platforms. 

Sling Shot Extreme is a more demanding version of Sling Shot, a test we introduced last year. Sling Shot is a cross-platform OpenGL ES 3.0 benchmark with a 1920 × 1080 rendering resolution. Use Sling Shot to compare mainstream Android and Apple smartphones and tablets.

We recommend using Sling Shot and Sling Shot Extreme to benchmark the majority of modern devices. Our Ice Storm tests should now only be used to compare older iPhone and iPad models with low-cost Android smartphones and tablets. 

On iOS, Sling Shot and Sling Shot Extreme compatibility starts with iPhone 5s, iPad Air, and iPad mini 2, and runs to the latest devices. Sling Shot Extreme is available from the Apple App Store in our free 3DMark Sling Shot App.

On Android, your device must have Android 5.0 or later and support OpenGL ES 3.0 for Sling Shot and OpenGL ES 3.1 for Sling Shot Extreme. Sling Shot Extreme is included in the 3DMark app, available for free from Google Play.

Download 3DMark Sling Shot Apple benchmark from the App Store  Download 3DMark Android benchmark from Google Play

PCMark 8 v2.6.512 update released

January 19, 2016

This major update accommodates a change in the latest version of Adobe After Effects and provides better support for NVMe SSDs. These changes affect the workloads in the Adobe Applications benchmark and the Storage benchmark. Scores from the new versions of these tests should not be compared with older versions. Home, Creative, and Work benchmark scores are not affected.

Adobe Applications benchmark

  • Adobe Applications benchmark has been updated to version 2.0. Scores should not be compared with earlier versions.
  • The After Effects test output has been changed to uncompressed AVI format as the latest version of Adobe After Effects CC no longer supports output to compressed Windows Media Video format.
  • Use Compatibility mode to compare scores with historical result data, also requires an older version of After Effects that supports Windows Media Video.

Storage benchmark

  • The Storage and Expanded Storage benchmarks have been updated to version 2.0. Scores should not be compared with earlier versions.
  • The tests now provide better support for NVMe drives. Scores from NVMe drives will improve in some cases. The faster the drive, the bigger the difference. Other types of drive are unaffected. 


  • General stability and error handling have been improved.
  • SystemInfo module updated to 4.41 for improved hardware compatibility.


  • Video Chat test now works even when there is no audio device in the system.
  • Fixed a bug that could cause PCMark 8 to crash when the SystemInfo module failed.
  • Fixed several issues found on non-English language Windows installations.

Professional Edition only

  • Command line now offers temp path selection.
  • XML output now shows battery life in minutes not seconds for more intuitive results.

3DMark Holiday Beta adds VRMark Preview and new UI

December 21, 2015

3DMark Holiday Beta

We have a special update for you to end the year. Available now, the 3DMark Holiday Beta is your chance to try some of the new features coming to 3DMark in 2016.

Explore classic 3DMark scenes in VR

VRMark Preview screenshot

Join the Holiday Beta and experience an interactive preview of VRMark, our upcoming virtual reality benchmark. In this exclusive preview, you can move freely within one of VRMark's test environments. Get up close to four classic 3DMark scenes in VR with Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. But don't worry if you don't have a headset. The VRMark Preview works with your monitor too. The VRMark preview is for entertainment only. It does not produce a score.

Try 3DMark's new interface for 2016

3DMark Home screen interface for 2016

3DMark grows bigger every year with new tests. Since launch, we've added Fire Strike Ultra, Sky Diver, and the API Overhead feature test. With more tests coming soon, we've created a new UI for 2016 that's faster, more flexible and more intuitive. The new Home screen shows the recommended benchmark for your system. No more guessing which benchmark is right for your PC. You can install and run other tests from the Benchmarks screen.

More flexibility, faster downloads, smaller updates

3DMark Benchmarks screen interface for 2016

We've also rebuilt the internals of the 3DMark app. You can now download, install and update benchmarks independently. This makes the initial download much smaller. And it means you can choose to install only the tests you need. Say goodbye to massive downloads with every update.

How to join the 3DMark Holiday Beta

The beta is open to everyone who owns the Steam version of 3DMark. If you have the standalone version, and you don't want to wait for the update in 2016, our Steam FAQ explains how to add your 3DMark key to Steam

To join the beta, follow the steps in our community post on Steam.

The benchmarks have not changed. You can use the Holiday Beta to test your PC and compare scores as usual. You can leave the beta and revert to the public version of 3DMark at any time. 

How to give feedback and report problems

For any issues with the new interface, or with the VRMark Preview, please add a reply to this post in the 3DMark Steam Community. For a list of known issues, click here.

For any other problems with 3DMark, you can get help through our support page and the 3DMark Steam community.

Happy holiday

From all of us at Futuremark, thank you for a great year. See you in 2016!

Futuremark Joins Virtual Reality Finland

December 2, 2015

We're excited to announce that Futuremark has joined Virtual Reality Finland, an association whose members work together to support and promote VR and AR technology development and deployment in Finland. 

Virtual Reality Finland connects companies and individuals in Finland's fast growing VR ecosystem. We will share our expertise in understanding how the performance capabilities of VR systems affect content creation.

Finland has a unique innovation culture that encourages sharing and community. New methods, solutions and lessons learned are shared openly and freely through the country's many active communities, networks and associations. 

This collaborative culture has made our small country a world leader in the development of mobile apps and games. And it puts Finnish companies in an ideal position to drive the revolution in how we interact with the world and each other through VR. 

Kari Peltola, Chairman of Virtual Reality Finland, says,

"Virtual Reality Finland connects people who are passionate about VR. That's why I am thrilled to welcome Futuremark as our first corporate member. Futuremark's pioneering work into benchmarking the performance and capabilities of VR systems will help all our members address the technical challenges of creating compelling VR experiences."

We're excited to join Virtual Reality Finland, and we support its goal of sharing and promoting amazing VR experiences and technology created in Finland. VRMark, our VR benchmark for measuring the performance, latency, and accuracy of VR systems, is in development. Check back soon for more VR announcements.

Find out more about Virtual Reality Finland at

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