|ASUS EN9400GT GeForce 9400GT HDMI Video Card|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Video Cards|
|Written by Alex Hanson - Edited by Olin Coles|
|Friday, 12 June 2009|
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3DMark06 Benchmark Results
3DMark is a computer benchmark by Futuremark (formerly named Mad Onion) to determine the DirectX9 performance of 3D game performance with graphics cards. 3DMark06 uses advanced real-time 3D game workloads to measure PC performance using a suite of DirectX 9 3D graphics tests, CPU tests, and 3D feature tests.
3DMark06 tests include all new HDR/SM3.0 graphics tests, SM2.0 graphics tests, AI and physics driven single and multiple cores or processor CPU tests and a collection of comprehensive feature tests to reliably measure next generation gaming performance today. Some enthusiasts may note that Benchmark Reviews does not include CPU-bound tests in our benchmark battery, and that only graphic-bound tests are included.
Here at Benchmark Reviews, we believe that synthetic benchmark tools are just as valuable as video games, but only so long as you're comparing apples to apples. Since the same test is applied in the same controlled method with each test run, I believe 3DMark is a very reliable tool for comparing graphic cards against one-another.
Shader Model 2.0
Our first series of synthetic tests are performed at 1920x1080, and demands 2.073 megapixelsfrom the graphics card. Beginning with Shader Model 2.0 tests, Return to Proxycon and Firefly Forestare two fast-paced fast-moving scenes that put strain on the GPU's efficiency by calling for large amounts of low-demand graphics in need of high-speed output. Shader Model 2.0 tests have historically performed at slower frame rates when compared to ShaderModel 3.0; at least this is the case on newer, more complex, video cards with larger overhead.
At first I didn't understand why the 8600 GT outperformed the 9400 GT but a quick look back at the GPU-Z screenshot on the Video Card Testing Methodology reveals why. The 9400 GT has only 16 shaders whereas the 8600 GT has 32. So far that means having 1GB of memory is pointless in this test because the 8600 GT has only 256 and it is of the DDR3 variety vs DDR2 for the 9400 GT.
Shader Model 3.0 / HDR
The Shader Model 3.0 and HDR (High Dynamic Range) test series in 3dMark06 includes the Canyon Flight and Deep Freeze. Both of these test scenes demand intense graphical computations from the GPU, and when paired with newer (AMD Phenom or Intel Nehalem) processors can actually produce better frame rates than ShaderModel 2.0 scenes with the same hardware (and overhead). This test is also done at 1920x1080.
Obviously the GTX 260 is going to significantly outperform the 8600 GT and 9400 GT but these tests were done to illustrate the cards capabilities and not to show how one is better than the other.
Take the 3DMark06 tests at face value (as you should any synthetic benchmark), because in later sections of this article we begin real-world testing on a cadre of popular video games known for taxing the graphics processor.