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Intel using questionable optimizations to boost its 3DMark scores

Posted on Tuesday, October 13 2009 @ 17:35:15 CEST by

The Tech Report investigated Intel's graphics drivers and found the chip giant uses unfair optimizations to boost the performance of its integrated graphics chipsets in 3DMark Vantage. The site noticed that after renaming the 3DMarkVantage.exe file the Intel G41 suddenly drops from 2931 to 2131 points in the benchmark, and further investigation revealed the performance boost results from offloading tasks to the CPU.

The reporter then compared the G41 to the AMD 785G chipset and found that while the G41 beats the 785G in 3DMark Vantage due to its questionable optimizations, the G41 only delivers half the performance of the 785G in Crysis Warhead. More details at The Tech Report.
With the Futuremark-approved Catalyst 9.9 drivers, the AMD 785G-based system scored 2161 in 3DMark Vantage—nearly the same score as the 2132 3DMarks the G41 gets when it's playing by the rules, but well below the 2931 the score the G41 posts with optimizations enabled. (Renaming the Vantage executable on the AMD system had no notable effect on benchmark scores.) The app-specific optimization gives the G41 a definitive lead in 3DMark Vantage.

Here's the tricky part: the very same 785G system managed 30 frames per second in Crysis: Warhead, which is twice the frame rate of the G41 with all its vertex offloading mojo in action. The G41's new-found dominance in 3DMark doesn't translate to superior gaming performance, even in this game targeted by the same optimization.



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