Futuremark, the purveyor of graphics-card-crippling benchmark software, has added another tool to its arsenal. The next edition of VRMark will include the Cyan Room benchmark, a gauntlet run aimed at testing a system's VR performance with the low-overhead DirectX 12 API.
According to Futuremark, the new benchmark test "shows how using an API with less overhead can help developers deliver impressive VR experiences even on modest PC systems"—a worthy cause if there ever was one. The test uses Futuremark's own DirectX 12 VR engine. The company points out that you don't need a VR headset to exercise and measure your graphics card's shaders, as VRMark will happily run with a regular monitor attached.
The Cyan Room joins the existing Orange and Blue tests. The Orange Room will show you if your system is up to the task of powering an HTC Vive or an Oculus Rift headset, while the Blue Room aims for a higher performance level and tries to simulate the computational load that future graphically-intensive VR titles may present.
DirectX 12 and Vulkan can offer much lower overhead than previous APIs, and they're particularly poised to impact the performance and quality of a VR experience. VR headset makers have come up with multiple tricks to try and work around the fact that sometimes frames aren't delivered by games on time, but it's far effective to simply make games run faster to begin with. Demonstrating the potential performance gains with a benchmark could convince developers to move their engines to the newer APIs.
Existing VRMark Advanced and Professional customers will get access to the Cyan Room for free come November 22.