3DMark06 is the latest version in the popular 3DMark series of gaming benchmarks, and like 3DMark05, also requires DirectX 9.0 compatibility. The 3DMark06 program offers a high-end selection of both gaming and CPU tests, while upping the ante in terms of jaw-dropping graphics and 3D feature support. 3DMark06 is not only a prime way of determining potential DirectX 9 game performance, but the individual CPU performance score also makes it a valuable tool in processor reviews and performance comparisons. This CPU benchmark is performed at the standard 1024x768x32 resolution and color depth, with no anti-aliasing or filtering options enabled.
The 3DMark06 Pro benchmark makes use of both dual core processor and video card enhancements, and the features support is excellent. The Athlon 64 FX-62 is the victor once again, but this time it is the Pentium Extreme Edition 955 pushing it. The AMD platform and processor comparison is again a very tricky one, as at certain core/L2 cache levels, there is little difference, while at others the performance gap is more noticeable. We also see more a standard performance hierarchy based on clock speed, with the 2.6 GHz Athlon 64 X2 5000+ more line with the Athlon 64 FX-60, rather than the Athlon 64 X2 4800+.
Halo: Combat Evolved is a hot, action adventure game that not only features luscious indoor and outdoor graphics and a killer story, but some very innovative gameplay as well. Our Halo test uses the default timedemo, while also enabling 2.0 shaders for all benchmark testing.
Halo: Combat Evolved benchmarking doesn't hold any real surprises, and shows the Athlon 64 FX-62 with the top score, and the platform comparison demonstrating a very slight edge to the DDR systems.
Painkiller is another hotrod first-person shooter that features high-end game graphics, but the difference here is the use of a non-standard, proprietary game engine. So instead of the next revision of the latest DOOM, Quake or Unreal Tournament product, we get something slightly different that helps spice our benchmarks up a bit. Due to the video card reliance of some portions of the game, we have used the in-game Docks demo, which does show a performance impact based on the processor used.
Painkiller benchmarking again has the Athlon 64 FX-62 in the top spot, while the DDR platforms take another victory from the DDR2 systems. Otherwise, it's business as usual, with the Intel processors well back from the AMD pack.