Compare DirectX 12, Mantle and DirectX 11 with 3DMark
March 26, 2015
We're excited to introduce our new 3DMark API Overhead feature test - the world's first independent test for measuring differences in DirectX 12, DirectX 11 and Mantle API performance. It's also the very first public application to use DirectX 12 full stop. This is cutting edge stuff!
Developed with input from AMD, Intel, Microsoft, NVIDIA, and the other members of our Benchmark Development Program, the 3DMark API Overhead feature test lets you compare the performance of DirectX 12, DirectX 11, and Mantle.
The purpose of the test is to compare the relative performance of different APIs on a single system, rather than the absolute performance of different systems. The API Overhead feature test is not a general-purpose GPU benchmark, and it should not be used to compare graphics cards from different vendors. (We are working on a DirectX 12 benchmark with game-like workloads, which we expect to release soon after the public launch of Windows 10.)
Why is API overhead important?
There has been much talk this year of new graphics APIs that let developers code 'close to the metal.' And though it's natural to think of the GPU, the benefits of APIs with lower overhead are actually achieved by making better use of multi-core CPUs to streamline code execution and eliminate software bottlenecks, particularly for draw calls.
A draw call happens when the CPU tells the GPU to draw an object on the screen. Games typically make thousands of draw calls per frame, but each one creates performance-limiting overhead for the CPU.
New APIs like DirectX 12 and Mantle reduce that overhead allowing more draw calls. With more draw calls, a game engine can draw more objects, textures and effects to the screen.
How does the 3DMark API Overhead feature test work?
The 3DMark API Overhead feature test measures API performance by making a steadily increasing number of draw calls. The result of the test is the maximum number of draw calls per second achieved by each API before the frame rate drops below 30 fps.
We recommend reading the 3DMark Technical Guide, which goes into more detail and explains the important differences between feature tests and benchmarks.
- The DirectX 12 test requires a PC running an up-to-date version of Windows 10 Technical Preview (build 10041 or later), 4 GB of system memory, and DirectX feature level 11_0 compatible hardware with at least at least 1 GB of graphics memory.
- The Mantle test requires 4 GB of system memory and AMD hardware that supports the Mantle API.
- The DirectX 11 test requires DirectX feature level 11_0 compatible hardware with at least 1 GB of graphics memory and 4 GB of system memory.
The API Overhead feature test is available now in the latest version of 3DMark Advanced Edition and 3DMark Professional Edition. The Steam version of 3DMark updates automatically. The standalone will prompt you to download and install an update. The test cannot be run from the free 3DMark Basic Edition or Steam demo.
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