Originally posted by cthellis
And each game represents its OWN ruleset... not ANY OTHER GAME'S ruleset. Their objectives are totally different.
Synthetics are useful so long as you recognize the context. Most synthetics try to concentrate on generalities, and BECAUSE they do so they will be a more useful predictor than looking at a single game--or even a small set of games. Game benches don't even necessarily match up with actual gameplay situations either, so the way you measure performance may be lying to you as well. (Not to mention IHV optimizations may affect their benches but not carry over as much or at ALL to general gameplay.)
Everything has it's place and can be used properly so long as you KNOW what its place is. Nothing is by nature "worthless"--its worth just has to be understood and put in the proper light.
But certainly no one should make an unearthly deal over ONE number--not one synthetic bench, nor one game performance number. (Nor one resolution, nor one quality setting...) That habit is stupid no matter what you're talking about.
But you get down to this: Does the Synthetic truly represent actually gameplay results. And I think in the case of 3Dmark the answer is yes. TAOD, preliminary Hl2, and others have shown that PS2.0 doesn't delivery on NV35. I am not sure if the percent difference is the same on TRAOD vs 3Dmark, but it is a sizeable difference.