Our latest news

Two new benchmarks coming to 3DMark

September 20, 2018


3DMark for Windows

Every year, we add new benchmark tests to 3DMark. Each test is designed for a specific class of hardware or a particular API.

Since 2013, we've added tests that use DirectX 12, tests that run at 4K, tests for notebooks, tablets, and smartphones, as well as new features like stress testing and an API Overhead test.

Today, we'd like to tell you about two new tests that will take 3DMark into new areas. One features real-time ray tracing. The other is for the new category of Always Connected PCs and other mobile computing platforms.

3DMark Night Raid Benchmark

3DMark Night Raid

Night Raid is a DirectX 12 benchmark for PCs with integrated graphics. It is an ideal test for laptops, notebooks, tablets, and other mobile computing devices. You will also be able to use it to benchmark the latest low-power, Always Connected PCs powered by Windows 10 on ARM.

Night Raid will come to 3DMark in early October.


3DMark ray tracing benchmark (working title)

Later this year, we will release a new 3DMark benchmark test that combines real-time ray tracing with existing techniques to enhance reflections and other effects. The benchmark will run on any system that supports the DirectX Ray Tracing API.

The new benchmark is being developed with input from our Benchmark Development Program partners including AMD, Intel, NVIDIA, and other leading technology companies. We are working especially closely with Microsoft to create a first-class implementation of the DirectX Ray Tracing API.

We expect to release this new test in Q4, 2018.

About 3DMark

3DMark is a benchmarking app for gamers, overclockers and system builders who want to get more out of their hardware. With its wide range of tests, 3DMark has everything you need to test the gaming performance of your PC. Find out more.



UL and Huawei issue joint statement about benchmark optimization

September 7, 2018


Yesterday, we delisted several Huawei smartphones from our performance rankings for breaking our rules governing benchmark detection and optimization.

UL is committed to working with industry partners, and we have had open conversations with Huawei about this issue both before and since making our announcement.

Today, we are happy to announce that we are issuing a joint statement with Huawei that adds detail to Huawei's proposed solution and outlines a commitment to working together to develop future benchmarks tests.

We strongly believe that working with a wide range of industry partners is the best way to create benchmarks that are accurate, relevant, and fair.

We would like to commend Huawei for its positive decision to address the issue, and we are looking forward to working with them to create our next generation of smartphone benchmark tests.

Joint statement from Huawei and UL

"Huawei and UL (creators of 3DMark) have held comprehensive discussions on benchmarking practices this week, and have reached a positive agreement on the next steps in working together.

"In the discussion, Huawei explained that its smartphones use an artificial intelligent resource scheduling mechanism. Because different scenarios have different resource needs, the latest Huawei handsets leverage innovative technologies such as artificial intelligence to optimize resource allocation in a way so that the hardware can demonstrate its capabilities to the fullest extent, while fulfilling user demands across all scenarios.

"UL understands the intent of Huawei’s approach but is opposed to forcing the use of a “Performance Mode” by default when a benchmarking application is detected by the device. UL rules require the device to run the benchmark as if it were any other application.

"Huawei respects consumers’ right to choose what to do with their devices. Therefore, Huawei will provide users with open access to “Performance Mode” in EMUI 9.0, so that the user can choose when to use the maximum power of their device.

"Huawei and UL have also discussed current common benchmark testing methodologies in general.  UL and Huawei would like to participate in an industry movement to develop benchmarking standards that best serve the needs of manufacturers, press, and consumers.

"To prevent confusion around current benchmarking results, after discussion, UL and Huawei have temporarily delisted the benchmark scores of a range of Huawei devices, and will reinstate them after Huawei grants all users of Huawei handsets access to the Performance Mode."


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UL delists Huawei phones with suspect benchmark scores

September 6, 2018


Over the last five years, more than a few smartphone manufacturers have been caught and shamed for trying to manipulate benchmark scores. That's why UL has clear rules for manufacturers that govern how a platform can interact with its benchmarking software. 

Earlier this week, AnandTech reported that several recent smartphone models from Huawei and its sub-brand, Honor, seem to be producing artificially high and misleading benchmark scores. Huawei is the second largest smartphone manufacturer in the world by volume according to IDC

After testing the devices in our own lab and confirming that they breach our rules, we have decided to delist the affected models and remove them from our performance rankings. 

Which models have been delisted?

Based on our own testing, we have delisted the following models:

  • Huawei P20 Pro
  • Huawei Nova 3
  • Honor Play

Based on AnandTech's testing and reporting, we have also delisted:

  • Huawei P20

Delisted devices appear unranked, and without scores, at the bottom of our popular list of the best smartphones. 3DMark scores from delisted devices should not be used to compare models. 

Why have you delisted these models?

We tested each model with the public version of 3DMark, available from Google Play, and a private version of 3DMark that is not available to the public or manufacturers. 

Chart comparing 3DMark Sling Shot Extreme benchmark scores

We found that the scores from the public 3DMark app were up to 47% higher than the scores from the private app, even though the tests are identical. 

With the public 3DMark app, these devices appear to use a hidden "Performance Mode" that overrides the devices' usual power profile—see the AnandTech article for more details.

The difference in scores tells us that the devices are simply recognizing the 3DMark app by name rather than adapting to the type of work in the test. 

This kind of detection and optimization is forbidden by our rules for manufacturers. We contacted Huawei with our findings, and we are happy to say that they have pledged to implement a more transparent approach in a future update,

"Huawei is planning to provide users with access to “Performance Mode” so they can use the maximum power of their device when they need to."

Optional performance modes that can be set by the user—already available on some other manufacturers' models—are allowed under our current rules as long as they are disabled by default. A device must run the benchmark as if it were any other application.

We're committed to creating benchmarks you can trust

Test your phone with 3DMark

3DMark is a free Android benchmark app available from Google Play. Benchmark your smartphone then compare its performance with the latest models. With its unique charts, lists, and rankings, 3DMark gives you unrivaled insights into the performance of your device.

Download 3DMark Android benchmark from Google Play


 



Servermark VDI benchmark is now available

August 27, 2018


Servermark server benchmark suite

Today we are releasing Servermark VDI, a new benchmark for testing the performance of Virtual Desktop Infrastructure servers. Designed for industry, enterprise and press use, Servermark VDI brings UL’s trusted expertise to IT professionals looking for accurate and impartial server benchmarks.

Benchmarking VDI solutions for scale and performance

One of the big challenges for VDI implementation is capacity planning. Estimating is difficult because the demand for VDI resources can vary across teams, by the type of work performed, and even by the time of day. Overestimating the requirements can lead to underutilized hardware and increased costs. Underestimating the requirements, on the other hand, can result in a poor user experience and reduced productivity.

Benchmarks help IT professionals objectively measure server performance. Testing different scenarios with relevant benchmarks can produce practical data for accurately estimating VDI server requirements and end-user performance.

Introducing Servermark VDI

Servermark VDI is a benchmark for measuring the performance and capacity of Virtual Desktop Infrastructures. Servermark VDI is easy to install, run, and understand, which means you can test and compare server hardware configurations with confidence.

Servermark VDI uses workloads from PCMark 10 and PCMark 8, our industry-standard PC benchmarks, to measure virtual machine performance. You can choose from a range of workloads covering basic office work, such as web browsing, documents and spreadsheets, to more intensive tasks, such as photo and video editing, that require more processing, memory, and storage resources. This flexibility helps IT pros estimate and allocate VDI resources for different user roles, from basic office workers to power users and content creators.

With Servermark VDI, you can also establish baseline performance expectations, track performance over time, and plan for future capacity needs. With regular benchmark runs, IT professionals can identify poor performance, detect system bottlenecks, and optimize server configurations to get more value from their hardware resources.

Servermark VDI includes two benchmark tests. Both let you choose the benchmark workload and the ratio of active to idle machines to match the work roles and usage patterns of your end users.

With the Servermark Universal VDI benchmark, you can test any virtualization platform—VMware, Microsoft Hyper-V, or Citrix XenServer, for example—that meets the benchmark's system requirements. This benchmark measures the end-user performance of each virtual machine in a given VDI configuration. You can use this test to determine if your server can deliver an acceptable level of performance for a specific number of virtual machines. Make changes and repeat the test to find the configuration that offers the best balance of performance and utilization.

The Servermark VMware VDI benchmark is designed for the VMware vCenter and vSphere Hypervisor virtualization platform. This benchmark runs a series of loops and automates some of the manual work involved in running the Universal test. For a given configuration, the benchmark determines the maximum number of virtual machines that the VMware data center can support at an acceptable level of performance for the end user.

Servermark VMware VDI result screenshot

Both benchmarks produce a set of useful metrics for comparing VDI capacity and end-user performance. A helpful heat map shows the distribution of performance scores for each virtual machine while monitoring charts show how the server CPU load, RAM load, and disk usage changed during the test.

About the Servermark benchmark suite

The Servermark benchmark suite covers a range of distinct server use cases. The suite currently offers Media Transcode benchmarks and the newly added VDI benchmarks, both of which are available separately.

Servermark benchmarks are developed in cooperation with leading technology companies. OEMs, ODMs, component manufacturers, and their suppliers are invited to join UL's Benchmark Development Program to participate in the development of new server benchmarks.

Available now

Servermark VDI is now available for industry, enterprise and press use. Find out more at https://benchmarks.ul.com/servermark.



VRMark, the VR benchmark, now available on Android

June 14, 2018


We've released a new VRMark benchmark app for Android devices. VRMark works with or without a headset to help you test and compare the VR performance of the latest smartphones.

The VRMark Professional Edition app, designed for industry and press use, combines three new VR benchmark tests with three individual test modes to provide a comprehensive set of tools for testing the VR capabilities of the latest devices. 

For VR enthusiasts, a free version of the app offers a smaller set of tests for testing VR performance at home.


Three levels of VR performance

VRMark is designed around performance levels, which we call Rooms. A Room is a piece of VR content carefully created to require a specific level of VR performance. The Android version of VRMark comes with three Rooms. 

The Indigo Room represents the majority of mobile VR content available today. It is a lightweight test that is designed to run comfortably for long periods on first-generation Daydream devices.

The Purple Room is designed to run well for at least one loop on first-generation Daydream devices, but some phones will get hot when looping this test, and their performance may fall as the test runs.

The Amber Room is a forward-looking test that represents next-generation mobile VR content. It is very demanding making it an ideal benchmark for comparing devices that already perform well in the other Rooms.


VRMark, The Virtual Reality Benchmark

Three ways to test VR performance

VRMark provides three complementary ways to test and compare VR performance.

Peak Mode measures a device’s peak VR performance by running a single loop of the benchmark test. This mode tells you how well a device can handle VR content for a short period of time, which is the best-case scenario for any device. A VR headset is not required.

Use Sustained Mode to test VR performance over longer periods. You can run the test for ten loops, one hour, one day, or even longer. Sustained Mode helps you uncover thermal and stability issues that affect device performance. A VR headset is not required.

VR applications are demanding and can quickly drain a device’s battery. After running a sustained test, VRMark also estimates the device's battery life for VR.

Add a headset and use Experience Mode to judge the quality of the VR experience with your own eyes. See for yourself how well your device compensates for missed frames. Experience mode works with Daydream View and Google Cardboard compatible headsets.

For more details, please read our VRMark technical guide, which explains what each benchmark measures and how the scores for each test mode are calculated. 

3DMark Android new UI

More than a score

With detailed performance monitoring charts and an in-app list for ranking and comparing the latest devices, VRMark gives you deep insights into the VR performance of your device.

System requirements

VRMark is compatible with ARM-based devices running Android 7.0 or later with at least 1 GB of RAM that support OpenGL ES 3.1 or OpenGL ES 3.0 with MSAA.

VMark Professional Edition - $499

  • For industry, commercial, and press use.
  • Includes all three benchmarks: Indigo, Purple, and Amber Rooms.
  • Three ways to test: Peak, Sustained, and Experience Mode.
  • Full range of time period settings for Sustained Mode.
  • Estimate VR battery life in Sustained Mode.
  • Benchmark automation with adb.

Find out more and purchase VRMark Professional Edition here: 
https://benchmarks.ul.com/vrmark-android

VRMark app for enthusiasts at home - free

  • For personal, non-commercial use only.
  • Test peak performance with the Amber Room benchmark.
  • Test sustained performance over 10 loops with the Purple Room.
  • Use Experience Mode with the Indigo, Purple, and Amber Rooms.
  • Detailed results and hardware monitoring charts.
  • Rank and compare the latest devices in the app.

Download the free Android benchmark app from Google Play.

Download VRMark benchmark from Google Play



We're moving to a new home on April 23

April 3, 2018


UL Benchmarks banner

You may remember hearing that Futuremark became part of UL in 2014

UL is an independent, global company, with more than 10,000 professionals in 40 countries. UL offers a wide range of testing, inspection, auditing, and certification services and solutions to help customers, purchasers and policymakers manage risk and complexity in modern markets. 

On April 23, we'll take the next step in our integration by changing our company name from Futuremark to UL. 

As part of this change, we'll be moving our website to a new home at benchmarks.UL.com and rebranding our identity in social media and other channels. 

While the change comes with a new name and a new look, many things will stay the same.

We will continue our mission to make the world's best benchmarks. We will continue to support our existing benchmarks while developing new tests for emerging technologies. 

With UL investing in our people and products, we will be able to explore new opportunities for benchmarking and related services. Most important of all, as part of UL, our independence and impartiality are protected by an organization that values integrity as highly as we do. 

What is UL?

UL is an independent, global company that offers testing, inspection, auditing, and certification services and solutions. Around the globe, UL works to help customers, purchasers, and policymakers navigate market risk and complexity. UL builds trust in the safety, security, and sustainability of products, organizations and supply chains – enabling smarter choices and better lives. To find out more, please visit UL.com

What does this mean for 3DMark and your other benchmarks?

We are changing our company name from Futuremark to UL. Our benchmark brands, such as 3DMark, PCMark, VRMark, and others, are not affected. 

We will continue to develop new benchmark tests while supporting our existing products. We will also continue to offer our benchmarks in a range of versions from the Professional Edition for businesses and commercial users, to the Advanced Edition and free Basic Edition for home users.

Will this change affect the benchmarks I've purchased?

No. You can continue to use your benchmarks as before. Links inside the software will be redirected to the equivalent pages on our new website.

Will this change affect the benchmark scores I've saved on 3dmark.com?

No. You can continue to view and manage your saved benchmark scores on 3dmark.com as before.

What will happen to futuremark.com? 

On April 23, we will close futuremark.com. All future visits will be redirected to the equivalent page on benchmarks.UL.com

I follow your news on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. What will happen with that?

You will not need to take any action to continue following our news. On April 23, we will rebrand our social media accounts. From that point on, our posts will come from "UL Benchmarks" rather than "Futuremark."

How can I contact you after April 23?

You can find our UL contact details here. Our office phone numbers and addresses will not change. To send an email to an individual member of our team, use the format firstname.lastname@ul.com.



Watch our new DirectX Raytracing tech demo

March 21, 2018


We're at the Game Developers Conference this week. It's one of the biggest industry events of the year and a great place to learn about the latest developments in game design and technology.

Microsoft started the show this year by announcing DirectX Raytracing, a new feature in DirectX 12 that opens the door to a new class of real-time graphics techniques for games.

We were thrilled to join Microsoft onstage for the announcement, which we then followed with a presentation of our own work in developing practical real-time applications for this exciting new tech.

Accurate real-time reflections with DirectX Raytracing

Rendering accurate reflections in real-time is difficult. There are many challenges and limitations when using the existing methods.

For the past few months, we've been exploring ways of combining DirectX Raytracing with existing methods to solve some of these challenges. 

While much of our presentation went deep into the math for our solution, we'd like to show you some examples of our new technique in action.

DirectX Raytracing example 1

With DirectX Raytracing we can render accurate real-time reflections of dynamic objects.

DirectX Raytracing example 1

With DirectX Raytracing we can produce reflections of objects that exist outside of the main camera view.

DirectX Raytracing example 1

Using DXR we can produce accurate, perspective-correct reflections on all surfaces in real-time.

DirectX Raytracing example 1

Reflections are not just for mirrors. They make other surfaces look more realistic too.

Practical real-time raytracing for games 

Raytracing is not a new technique, but until recently it has been too computationally demanding to use in real-time games.

With modern GPUs, it's now possible to use rasterization for most of the rendering and a smaller amount of raytracing to enhance shadows, reflections, and other effects that are difficult to achieve with traditional techniques.

Our DXR tech demo runs in real-time on a single current-generation GPU. As it builds on existing methods, it was relatively easy to implement into our DirectX 12 game engine.

We are proud to be one of the first developers chosen to work with DirectX Raytracing and excited about the opportunities for this new API. 

We are happy to announce that we will be using DirectX Raytracing in a new 3DMark benchmark test that we hope to release towards the end of the year. 

Find out more  

You can find more information on DirectX Raytracing on Microsoft's DirectX Developer Blog.



New languages for 3DMark

December 20, 2017


3DMark - The Gamer's Benchmark

Now available in Japanese, Korean, and Spanish

We've just released an update for 3DMark that adds new language options for Japanese, Korean, and Spanish. This brings the total number of supported languages to seven:

  • English
  • German
  • Japanese
  • Korean
  • Russian
  • Simplified Chinese
  • Spanish

To use one of these languages, update to the latest version of 3DMark following the prompts in the app, then choose your preferred language on the Options screen.



New 3DMark Android app gives you more than a score

December 18, 2017


3DMark Android benchmark for smartphones and tablets

We've redesigned our 3DMark Android benchmarking app with the goal of giving you much more than a score. 

The new 3DMark app is built around data-driven stories that help you learn more about your smartphone or tablet. With its unique charts, lists, and rankings, the new app gives you unprecedented insight into the performance of your device.

3DMark Android new UI

The new app helps you answer questions like,

  • Is my score a good score for this device?
  • What do other people with the same model score?
  • How has my device's performance changed with OS updates?
  • How does my device compare with other popular models?
  • Which devices can perform consistently without slowing down?

3DMark Android new UI results

Real-world performance revealed

Average benchmark scores are good for comparing devices, but 3DMark now goes further by showing you the full range of scores for each device in a unique new chart.

These charts, showing the range of results submitted by 3DMark users around the world, give you the complete picture of a device's performance outside of the test lab.

Looking at the chart below, for example, the peak shows the most common scores for the device. The higher the peak, the more results there are around that score value. In this case, you can see that all the results tend to fall in the same narrow range. This means the device performs consistently even when the benchmark is running under less than ideal conditions.

3DMark Android narrow score range

3DMark score range for a device with consistent performance.

In the next chart, however, we see a different performance profile. There are four distinct peaks spread over a wide range of scores. A chart with this shape tells you that, even though the device can score nearly as well as the first device, it cannot perform to that level consistently in real-world use.

3DMark Android wide score range

Score range showing levels in performance due to thermal issues.

The rightmost peak (1) shows the score the device can achieve under ideal conditions. Peaks (2) and (3) tell you that this device slows down when hot or when multitasking. Many devices tend to reduce performance in steps, and those steps are visible in the chart. Lower scores may also come from devices running an older version of Android. The leftmost peak (4) shows you that the device's real-world performance can sometimes be far below the optimum.

These charts are available in the app for every one of the almost 5,000 smartphones and tablets in our database. For each device, there is a separate chart for each 3DMark benchmark test.

There are sure to be some fascinating insights waiting to be discovered by comparing the charts for popular models. You can also use these charts to see if thermal issues are unique to a device or common to all models that share the same chipset.

Fast, responsive, and easy to use

With smooth animations and consistent interactions in an interface built on Material Design principles, the new 3DMark app is a breeze to use. The app is also faster and more responsive than ever. On older phones, for example, 3DMark now starts up to 85% faster than the previous version.

We've made it easy to save and share your results, comparisons, charts, and many of the other screens in the app. Whenever you see the share icon, tap it to save and share an image of the current screen.

Download

3DMark is a free Android benchmark app available from Google Play.

Download 3DMark Android benchmark from Google Play

Check out our new technical guide for the Android version. It includes a guide to all the new features in the app as well as explaining what each test measures and how the scores are calculated.



New Vulkan benchmark test for Android

December 18, 2017


3DMark Android benchmark for smartphones and tablets

Our 3DMark benchmark app for Android smartphones and tablets now includes a Vulkan benchmark test.

Vulkan is a new graphics API that provides high-efficiency, low-level access to modern GPUs in a wide variety of devices from PCs to smartphones. APIs like Vulkan make better use of multi-core CPUs to streamline code execution and eliminate software bottlenecks, particularly for draw calls.

Games typically make thousands of draw calls per frame, but each one creates performance-limiting overhead for the CPU. Vulkan reduces that overhead, which means games and apps can draw more objects, textures, and effects to the screen to create richer, more immersive experiences.

3DMark Sling Shot Extreme Vulkan benchmark screenshot

3DMark Sling Shot Extreme benchmark test 

3DMark Sling Shot Extreme is a cross-platform benchmark with results that are comparable across APIs. Use 3DMark Sling Shot Extreme to compare flagship Android smartphones and tablets with the latest iPhone and iPad models. You can compare scores from Android devices using OpenGL ES 3.1 and Vulkan with scores from Apple iOS devices using Metal.

In the Android app, you can choose to run Sling Shot Extreme using Vulkan or OpenGL ES 3.1 or both back-to-back.

Sling Shot Extreme tests the full range of API features including multiple render targets, instanced rendering, uniform buffers and transform feedback. The test includes volumetric lighting, depth of field and uses Compute Shaders for post-processing effects. For more details, we recommend reading our 3DMark Technical Guide, which explains exactly what's being measured and how the scores are calculated. 

3DMark Sling Shot Extreme Vulkan benchmark screenshot

Compatibility 

The Vulkan part of Sling Shot Extreme requires Android 7.0 or later and a device that supports Vulkan. The OpenGL ES 3.1 part requires Android 5.0 or later and a device that supports OpenGL ES 3.1.

Please note that Vulkan drivers are still maturing. Devices that shipped with early Vulkan drivers may have stability issues in this new test. Vulkan performance on other devices may be lower than expected. Performance may improve with future Android OS updates.

When comparing scores across platforms, note that the test results reflect both hardware and software. APIs with low overhead, such as Vulkan and Metal, can deliver more performance than OpenGL ES even on devices with similar hardware.

Download

3DMark is a free Android benchmark app available from Google Play.

Download 3DMark Android benchmark from Google Play



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