3DMark Time Spy benchmark puts DirectX 12 to the test


— 9:36 AM on July 15, 2016

3DMark Time Spy, the built-from-the-ground-up DirectX 12 graphics benchmark we talked about late last month, is now available from Futuremark. The benchmark was stealthily released via Steam late last night to owners of 3DMark on that platform. It's also been added to the stand-alone installer that you can pick up here.

Futuremark says that Time Spy is one of the first DirectX 12 apps built "the right way," by which they mean to say that it is not adapted from existing code. That's a bit ironic considering the content of the benchmark, which is primarily scenes from current and previous 3DMark releases running in small dioramas as a feminine character wanders through them. The benchmark is visually stunning, although the impossibly complex scenes—which appear to be rendered in their full original detail—are a bit small to really appreciate.

Of course, as with any 3DMark benchmark, the point of the software is to test things, and Time Spy aims to exercise all of the latest DirectX 12 features, including Explicit Multi-Adapter mode, Asynchronous Compute, and all the threads your CPU can offer up. Multithreading doesn't sound as exciting as other technologies with fancy names, but the removal of the mostly single-threaded DirectX 11 bottleneck is arguably the feature of DX12 with the most impact. The graphic below, courtesy of FutureMark, illustrates the difference in efficiency between Time Spy and the DX11 Fire Strike benchmark.

We haven't had time to do any testing of our own with these new benches, but the folks at PC Perspective did some brief benchmarking with a few recent graphics cards from both teams. As one might expect, Radeon cards get a fair boost from async compute, while a pair of GTX 1080s scales some 80% over a single card. That's impressive stuff for a brand-new benchmark using a brand-new API on a pair of brand-new cards.

Anyone who owns 3DMark can run the benchmark, but they won't be able to disable the demo mode or toggle specific features (including Asynchronous Compute) without ponying up a small fee for the test. The price of 3DMark as a whole also increased to $29.99 (from $24.99) to account for the new test. However, Futuremark is running a sale to celebrate the release of the new benchmark: until July 23rd, the complete 3DMark Advanced package is just $9.99 on Steam, and it'll only cost $4.99 to add Time Spy to an existing license.

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