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New 3DMark test measures pure ray-tracing performance

Compare the performance of the dedicated ray-tracing hardware in the latest graphics cards from AMD and NVIDIA.

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November 6, 2020

The launch of AMD Radeon RX 6000 Series graphics cards on November 18 will end NVIDIA’s monopoly on real-time ray tracing. For the first time, gamers will have a choice of GPU vendors when buying a ray-tracing-capable graphics card.

Today, we’re releasing a new 3DMark feature test that measures pure ray-tracing performance. You can use the 3DMark DirectX Raytracing feature test to compare the performance of the dedicated ray-tracing hardware in the latest graphics cards from AMD and NVIDIA.

3DMark DirectX Raytracing feature test

Real-time ray tracing is incredibly demanding. The latest graphics cards have dedicated hardware that’s optimized for ray-tracing operations. Despite the advances in GPU performance, the demands are still too high for a game to rely on ray tracing alone. That’s why games use ray tracing to complement traditional rendering techniques.

The 3DMark DirectX Raytracing feature test is designed to make ray tracing the limiting factor. Instead of relying on traditional rendering, the whole scene is ray-traced and drawn in one pass.

The result of the test depends entirely on ray-tracing performance, which means you can measure and compare the performance of dedicated ray-tracing hardware in the latest graphics cards.

Compared with traditional rendering, ray tracing can more accurately model how light interacts with the aperture of a camera.

In this feature test, camera rays are traced across the field of view with small random offsets to simulate a depth of field effect. The frame rate is determined by the time taken to trace and shade a set number of samples for each pixel, combine the results with previous samples and present the output on the screen. You can change the sample count to see how it affects performance and visual quality. The rendering resolution is 2560 × 1440.

The result of the test is the average frame rate in frames per second. You can read more about the test in the 3DMark technical guide.

Interactive mode

The test includes an interactive mode that lets you move freely around the scene and take screenshots. You can control the focus point and aperture of the camera to explore different depth of field effects using ray tracing.

Test your graphics card with 3DMark

3DMark includes several tests to help you measure and compare the performance of the latest graphics cards.

  • Use the 3DMark DirectX Raytracing feature test to measure the performance of dedicated ray-tracing hardware
  • Run the 3DMark Port Royal benchmark to test graphics performance with a game-like mix of traditional DirectX 12 rendering and real-time ray tracing
  • Run 3DMark Time Spy Extreme to test and compare DirectX 12 performance
  • Use 3DMark Stress Tests to check GPU stability and cooling performance over longer periods of heavy load

Available now

The DirectX Raytracing feature test is available now as a free update for 3DMark Advanced Edition from Steam and the UL Benchmarks website. 

3DMark Advanced Edition owners who purchased 3DMark before January 8, 2019, will need to upgrade to unlock the latest ray-tracing tests. The 3DMark Port Royal Upgrade DLC adds Port Royal, the DirectX Raytracing feature test, and the NVIDIA DLSS feature test. Find out more about 3DMark updates and upgrades here.

The DirectX Raytracing feature test is available as a free update for 3DMark Professional Edition customers with a valid annual license. Customers with an older, perpetual license will need to purchase an annual license to unlock the test. 

3DMark for press use

Follow the prompts in the 3DMark app to get the latest update or download the full installer here. If any of the tests are locked, you will need a new license key. Simply reply to this email, and we’ll set you up. You can learn more about 3DMark benchmarks and feature tests from our 3DMar k technical guide. We've also created a press kit for you with screenshots, logos and other useful assets.

If you have any questions about 3DMark or benchmarking in general, please feel free to get in touch anytime [email protected]

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