Last Updated on September 17, 1999
3DMark 99 Review
By: Mike Chambers - December 18, 1998
3DMarkô 99, developed by Futuremark Corporation, allows you to test your systems performance using a simulated 3D game application. 3DMarkô 99 uses Remedy Entertainment's proprietary 3D graphics engine, MAX-FXô Technology, when running the suite of benchmarks. This benchmarking software is made possible through the use of Microsoft's DirectX Application Programming Interface (API).
I installed the Lite, or shareware, version of 3DMarkô 99. The first order of business is to view the HTML based help that comes with 3DMarkô 99. It contains usefull information on what 3DMarkô 99 is about and is organized very well.  Before you start running benchmarks, be sure to read this information! You might even end up learning a thing or two.
The first thing I noticed after starting 3DMarkô 99 was the command button labeled Demo. Click the command button, answer yes to run in the default 640x480 resolution, then be prepared to watch a state of the art graphics engine do its thing.  The demo is impressive and the accompanying soundtrack adds a nice touch. I have provided a few screenshots that I took while running the demo which appear towards the end of this article.
What about managing all the data generated by your benchmarks? Well, 3DMarkô 99 maintains an internal database that's used as a repository for storing benchmark results. Combined with a really slick user interface called the Results Browser, everything needed for analysis and reporting is wrapped up in one neat package.
For example, the benchmarks included in this review are based on Diamonds Viper V550 drivers.  One set of benchmarks was run at the V550's default clock speed and another at an overclocked speed.  I grouped the results of both benchmarks which allowed me to generate a consolidated report to use for comparisons. Spreadsheet like results are also available, along with bar charts, that provide access to specific details via drill down capabilities.
Another feature of 3DMarkô 99 is the image quality test, which is the last part of a benchmark run. After installing 3DMarkô 99, a directory is created that consists of a reference set of images in bitmap format. As the image quality tests are run, a second set of images are generated based on the 3D rendering capabilities of the graphics card.
When reporting on the benchmark results in the spreadsheet view, thumbnails of the images appear in the spreadsheet. Double-clicking on either image brings up both images in separate windows using 3DMarkô 99's built-in image viewer. This allows a comparison of the reference and benchmark images to be made.
The following is the system configuration used when running benchmarks:
- Motherboard: Abit BH6 440BX
- Processor: Intel Pentium II-450 MHz
- Memory: 128 MB Hitachi PC100 SDRAM
- Graphics Card: Diamond Viper V550 AGP 2X
- Default V550 Speeds: 90 MHz Core and 110 Mhz Memory
- Overclocked V550 Speeds: 109 MHz Core and 123 Mhz Memory
- Drivers - 1: Diamond Viper V550 version 4.10.01.0239
- Drivers - 2: Diamond Viper V550 version 4.10.01.0252
- Overclocking Software: Powerstrip - Version 2.29.2
- Operating System: Windows 98
- DirectX: Version 6.0
- 3DMark 99 Lite: Build 100
- Resolution: 800x600
- Color Depth: 16-Bit
The project description is where a project name and comments can be assigned to a set of benchmarks.
Benchmark Summary Bar Chart
The Results Browser generates bar charts of benchmark results.
Default Clock Speed
Benchmark Result Details
The Results Browser also displays detailed benchmark results.
Default Clock Speed
These screenshots, which were taken at 800x600 in 16-bit color, give you an idea of what to expect from the demo. Click on an image to get the full 800x600 size. They make for some nice Windows backgrounds!
Full size is 75K
Full size is 75K
Full size is 47K
Full size is 34K
Full size is 100K
Full size is 79K
Full size is 67K
Full size is 83K
3DMarkô 99 is an excellent and easy to use benchmarking program.  The demo is a great way to impress your friends with some very nifty technology.  If you haven't installed 3DMarkô 99 on your system yet, what are you waiting for?  Just watching the benchmark demo alone is worth it.  You can check out benchmark results from other system at 3D Marks' results pages.
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