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 overall features support is excellent. The Intel Core 2 Extreme and Duo processors continue their dominance in his benchmark, and although the performance gaps are not as pronounced these still manage to take over the top three positions. Clock speed certainly figures into the equation, and the 2.93 GHz Core 2 Extreme X6800 builds up a nice lead over its 2.66 GHz Core 2 Duo E6700 counterpart.
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.
The Halo: Combat Evolved benchmarking follows right along with previous game tests, and has the entire Core 2 line in the top spots. These are also the only processors to surpass 200 fps in this particular test, and the 240 fps posted by the Core 2 Extreme X6800 is a significant performance mark.
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 gives us our only real surprise of the entire gaming benchmark suite, and although the Core 2 Extreme and Duo processors sport excellent scores, these are only on par with the Athlon 64 FX and X2, and not vastly superior. It also proves that no matter how good your processor architecture is, there are games out there that simply don't make use of the extra horsepower.