3DMark vs Doom3
Now that 3DMark2003 is old and the new 3dMark2005 just around the corner, we can look back and decide if 3DMark correctly informed, or misled consumers.
This will naturally be a contentious topic. In my mind, 'new/current generation' games are those with per pixel lighting and shadows, no matter what the method is used, such as bump mapping for lighting and stencil or texture shadows. I'm sure others will argue that new games would have to use floating point color/texture formats, or other features, perhaps not available in older video cards.
We could compare a few games like FarCry, Doom3, DeusEx, Theif 3, Battlefield Vietnam with the results from 3DMark game tests.
This test is 3DMark Battle of Proxycon vs Doom3:
GeforceFX 5800 (@485/970)
3DMark2003 GT2 800x600: 48.7 fps
3DMark2003 GT2 640x480: 58.9 fps
3DMark2003 Default score: 5641
Doom3 800x600xMed: 68.2 fps
Doom3 640x480xMed: 81.2 fps
Geforce3 ti200 (@220/480)
3DMark2003 GT2 800x600: 11.9 fps (Expect ~17.3fps)
3DMark2003 GT2 640x480: 14.0 fps (Expect ~22.8fps)
3DMark2003 Default score: 1297 (Expect ~1975)
Doom3 800x600xMed: 24.3 fps
Doom3 640x480xMed: 31.0 fps
I would say the 3DMark frame rate score and the overall score which is all most people would see is a little misleading but not that bad. Unfortunately I don't have the Duron machine up to compare video and cpu mixes. What is interesting is that a fast CPU combined with a old video card allows current games be be played quite well, though at reduced resolution. Since the rendering cost has increased per pixel, this makes sense. This is not obvious from the 3DMark scores.
The method I used to compare scores was to compare the performance difference between the real game scores on each machine and compare then to the expected difference between 3DMark scores. The expected 3DMark overall score is based on the default setting of 3DMark which anyone can download, and the settings Doom3 was designed to run at. Of course that logic is purely my perception and not as accurate as the FPS scores.