Futuremark has written to HEXUS to inform us that it has introduced the 3DMark API Overhead feature test. Designed to measure the difference in DirectX 12, DirectX 11 and Mantle API performance, this is the first such tool available. Indeed, as Futuremark points out, the test makes 3DMark the first public application available to use DirectX 12.
The test was developed with input from AMD, Intel, Microsoft, NVIDIA, and the other members of Futuremark's Benchmark Development Program. Futuremark details the scope of the test as follows; "The purpose of the test is to compare the relative performance of different APIs on a single system, rather than the absolute performance of different systems." So it isn't supposed to be a general purpose benchmark, and Futuremark says it shouldn't be used for comparing graphics cards, for example. For benchmark comparisons of game-like applications across different hardware a new DirectX 12 benchmark is being worked on to coincide with the launch of Windows 10.
Newer 'close to the metal' APIs allow much better use of multi-core CPUs which will help graphics engines cope with many more draw calls than were previously possible. Each draw call to the GPU creates a burden on the CPU so proper multi-threaded communication is important for efficiency. Comparing the API Overhead lets interested parties see the limits of the draw calls various APIs can cope with on their hardware before performance drops below the 30fps limit. If you are interested, the test is described in more detail in the 3DMark Technical Guide (PDF).
The 3DMark API Overhead feature test, is as mentioned in the intro, available to download now as part of the 3DMark Advanced Edition ($24.95) and 3DMark Professional Edition ($995). If you bought a version of 3DMark on Steam it will automatically be updated to include this new test. It requires a system with the following specifications:
- The DirectX 12 test requires a PC running an up-to-date version of Windows 10 Technical Preview (Build 10041 or later), 4GB of system memory, and DirectX feature level 11_0 compatible hardware with at least at least 1GB of graphics memory.
- The Mantle test requires 4GB of system memory and AMD hardware that supports the Mantle API.
- The DirectX 11 test requires DirectX feature level 11_0 compatible hardware with at least 1GB of graphics memory and 4GB of system memory.