3DMarkxxxx - If you seriously think the tool's a waste, it might be, but only for you. I find it gives me useful information for making system tweaks, overclocking (stability testing especially
), etc. It also allows me to see the specific capabilities of my hardware (video especially - pixel shaders, vertex shaders, fill rate, etc.). I can look at these same areas when I've made changes to my drivers and see where improvements may have been made.
As far as the benchmark being a 'Gamer's Benchmark', I can agree and disagree. I agree in the aspect that gamers make up a large portion of the people using the tool, versus using some 3D cad program. I disagree because it doesn't necessarily represent a single thing about how my hardware will run game xyz, on the simple grounds that the benchmark itself ideally isn't optimized to specific hardware as much as to the API, while games on the other hand tend to be extremely optimized in order to guarantee as much of an enjoyable experience for a majority of potential buyers as possible.
As far as nVidia's current whining goes- they can suck it up. I didn't mind them advocating the tool when they were on top, and at least this meant every manufacturer was striving to compete on even ground (optimizing for the benches AND our games). Now that someone's beaten them at their own game they wanna go crying about it? They finally are willing to admit what we've all said all along, which is basically that it's all about real performance in our games at the end of the day, regardless of the score 3DMark shows.
(p.s.- speaking of the 3DMark scores- I find those a bit less useful than the detailed listing of test results. These are mainly useful for a subset of people that get their thrills from figuring out the best way to reach the highest scores so that they can hold the top spot in the online results browser
One other use of the 3Dmark software has always been to show off the sort of effects that the latest generation of hardware could
make possible in games. This doesn't mean that they will, or even that games that look like the benchmarks will run the same as the benchmarks (assuming the games aren't written by the same coders and optimized the same). I don't know about the rest of you, but I like seeing the eye-candy capability of my hardware shown off, even if I can't use it in a game right now.