Frequently Asked Questions
General benchmarking questions
Can I compare the scores from different benchmarks?
No. Each Futuremark benchmark is designed to measure a specific combination of operating system, graphics API and hardware so scores cannot be compared across versions. In addition, some benchmarks also contain presets designed for different levels of hardware performance from Entry to Extreme. Scores from different presets cannot be compared directly.
Why is my framerate so low?
Benchmarks are designed to place a heavy load on your computer to identify the weak points and bottlenecks in your hardware. When using high settings, particularly in 3DMark, it is sometimes the case that only small differences in visual quality can be seen from very large increases in the amount of processing required.
Why did I get a score of 0?
Benchmark scores are only valid when using the benchmark's default settings or presets. Custom settings are available in Advanced and Professional Edition benchmarks for testing variations of the standard tests, but these custom settings do not produce an overall score. For comparing custom runs, you need to look at the Graphics and Physics/CPU scores and note that between different hardware configurations the scores are comparable only if both are obtained with the exact same custom settings.
The website says my graphics driver is not approved. What does that mean?
Approved drivers have been tested to ensure they do not unfairly influence or manipulate the benchmark scores. If you are using just released WHQL certified drivers they will likely be approved within a few working days. Your result will then automatically be approved as well. Results using beta, 'hotfix' or other non-WHQL drivers will also show this message unless such a driver is specifically approved as an exception. In these cases you will need to wait until WHQL approved drivers for your card become publicly available before you will be able to submit valid results.
The website says Processor is not recognized or Graphics card is not recognized?
This means that we could not identify your hardware. If you have the latest SystemInfo module installed then the most likely causes are that your hardware is either very new or quite rare. In this case, send us an email including a link to your result and the details of your hardware. We'll update our database and your hardware will then be shown correctly.
What is Steam?
Steam is a popular digital entertainment platform for buying games and software. Steam has 60 million users and is available in 237 countries and 21 different languages.
Which versions of 3DMark are available on Steam?
3DMark and 3DMark 11 are available to buy from Steam. These versions are the same as the Advanced Edition available from the Futuremark store. To download Basic Editions from Steam, look for the "Download Demo" button on the Steam store page. Additionally 3DMark Vantage product keys can be activated on Steam.
Which versions of PCMark are available on Steam?
PCMark 8 is available to buy from Steam. This version is the same as the Advanced Edition available from the Futuremark store. To download Basic Edition from Steam, look for the "Download Demo" button on the Steam store page.
Can I activate my existing 3DMark or PCMark 8 product key on Steam?
Yes, this is possible. Just add your Advanced Edition key to the Steam client with "+Add a Game..." then "Activate a Product on Steam". Remember that the key will then be permanently tied to the Steam account it was applied to.
Do the Steam keys differ from normal keys?
No. If you purchase 3DMark from Steam, when you install the Steam version a perfectly ordinary key is automatically added to your registry and you can view it from the user interface of the benchmark. As this is a normal key, it can also be used with stand-alone 3DMark or PCMark 8 installers - you are not required to use the Steam version even if you buy the benchmark from Steam. The key also works just like any other 3DMark or PCMark 8 key with the 3dmark.com online result service - if you submit at least one result with Advanced Edition, the key will be added to your 3dmark.com account, all online service features are unlocked and the key is stored under Settings on the account.
How does the Demo differ from paid version?
Steam Demo versions are the same as the standalone Basic Edition versions and have no usage limitations for non-commercial use. You can compare the feature differences between Basic Editions and Advanced Editions on our product pages.
What Steam features are included?
At this time 3DMark, 3DMark 11 and 3DMark Vantage include support for Steam Leaderboards. These leaderboards include all results submitted with the Steam version that pass the normal validation checks on 3dmark.com that are required for admission to Futuremark's Overclocking Hall of Fame. 3DMark also includes Steam Achievements. PCMark 8 has no Steam-specific features.
Does it matter if Steam is running in the background while benchmarking?
Based on extensive testing and validation, no. 3DMark is mainly a test for the graphics performance of the system and game tests are not influenced in any way by the Steam client running in the background. CPU and Physics tests may show a very slight effect on low-end systems with limited CPU capabilities but the difference is within the usual benchmarking error margins. Sure, hardcore overclockers who go for world records may wish to stick with the standalone versions in order to squeeze every last point out of a system but for normal benchmarking there really is no difference.
Hey, why can't I open the Steam overlay?
The Steam overlay is disabled to ensure accurate scoring as the overlay popup would negatively influence the benchmark score.
Can you explain how 3dmark.com accounts work with Steam versions?
Steam versions automatically submit to an account with your Steam user ID - same as if you would sign in to 3dmark.com using Steam. If you already have another 3dmark.com account, you can sign in and merge your Steam ID into an existing 3dmark.com account. If you end up with two separate accounts, there is an option to merge accounts under Settings.
Account created using Steam ID can optionally be converted into a fully-featured 3dmark.com accounts that can be logged in even with just an username and password - all you need is to enter an email address and choose a password. Or you can just use "Sign in through Steam" and use your Steam credentials. We even offer sign-in through Google and Facebook if you want to use those - the choice is yours.
A "full" 3dmark.com account is needed only for participating in various overclocking contests run by Futuremark (we need your email address to be able to contact you if you are a winner). Otherwise both account types work the same - you do not have to give any personally identifiable information to Futuremark beyond your Steam ID if you don't want to.
What is Futuremark SystemInfo and why was it installed with 3DMark or PCMark 8?
All Futuremark benchmarks, including Steam versions install Futuremark SystemInfo. It is a separate component that is used to identify the hardware configuration of your system so it can be included in the benchmark result file. It scans and submits information on your hardware configuration (similar to Steam Hardware Survey scan) and this information is stored with your benchmark results on 3dmark.com. No personally identifiable information is stored.
SystemInfo is installed as a service in order to be able to query all the required hardware data - the service does not start at Windows startup and is only started when a Futuremark benchmark or Game-o-Meter web service specifically requests the service to start. Once the scan started, SystemInfo spawns multiple parallel processes and these processes exit when benchmark is closed. The service will stay loaded until next restart but does nothing unless queried by Futuremark benchmark or Game-o-Meter web service.
It is possible to benchmark with SystemInfo disabled. 3DMark, 3DMark 11 and PCMark 8 include a checkbox in the Help tab that can be unselected and 3DMark Vantage can be directed not to perform the scan by adding a command line option "-nosysteminfo" to the command line options on Steam. Note that such scores cannot be validated by 3DMark.com, cannot enter any benchmarking contests, cannot enter Futuremark Hall of Fame or Steam leaderboards and won't display any hardware configuration information.
What is Lucid Virtu MVP?
LucidLogix Virtu MVP includes a number of new technologies that promise to boost your PC's responsiveness, reduce latency and eliminate visual tearing, all within a low power environment. It is designed for the Intel Sandy Bridge/Ivy Bridge Z77/Z68/H67/H61 motherboards as well as many AMD processor-based notebooks, all-in-one PCs and desktop motherboards, and ships pre-installed on a wide range of new motherboards. Find out more on the LucidLogix website.
Can I use Lucid Virtu MVP HyperFormance with 3DMark?
3DMark works by measuring the process of rendering frames of 3D graphics using defined workloads. Lucid's Virtu MVP HyperFormance is designed to improve responsiveness through the intelligent reduction of rendering tasks. 3DMark scores from systems with and without Virtu MVP are not directly comparable because of its effect on the rendering process.
When you submit a score to our online databse we check to see if Virtu MVP is present on your system. Lucid Virtu MVP HyperFormance must be disabled in order to obtain a valid score with our benchmarks.