DirectX 11 benchmark launched

Pit your ATI against your ATI

ENTHUSIASTS,  start your engines. The first DirectX 11 benchmark app has arrived and it’s “Heaven”. Russia’s Unigine beats the competition to the punch.

“Heaven” is the app that’ll let you measure performance on DirectX 11-specific features such as Hardware Tesselation, SM 5.0, DirectCompute and it even brings along support for ATI’s Eyefinity tech. Using Unigine’s multi-platform 3D realtime engine (one we must say has seen little action so far), you can now measure your DirectX 11 hardware performance in a quick series of tests. But Unigine’s 3D tech isn’t solely a DirectX 11 engine, either. It also supports the DirectX 9 and 10 feature sets, so you can still benchmark older games on newer hardware and vice-versa.

The engine has been licensed to some gaming studios, including SteamPunk Studios in the USA and a few Euro developers, but none of the big names. Beating Futuremark and other companies to the punch will give the company some relevance as a benchmarking reference, but it should also get the 3D engine on some studio execs’ screens.

Here are a couple of screen captures of the benchmark in action.

Unigine DX11 benchmark Dragon

Unigine DX11 benchmark Island

One could label it unnecessary, as there is only one type of hardware that will support it right now, but for posterity’s sake it should be as useful a tool as any, if and when the competition manages to muster some DirectX 11 parts. As DirectX 11 game titles come out, the spotlight will revert to timedemos rather than synthetic benchmarks, but until they do at least there’s this benchmarking tool to play with.

We also can’t help but note the following: a few weeks back, a bunch of sites ran Batman Arkham Asylum PhysX benchmarks and rated ATI graphics cards accordingly. Nvidia’s cards took the expectable 50% hit, but were still very playable on high resolutions. ATI cards – of course – slideshowed through the whole thing. Wow. How lame is that? (The fact they even bothered to publish benchmarks of ATI cards running PhysX and facing them off against Nvidia cards, that is.)

Gosh. That would be like running Unigine Heaven on Nvidia’s graphics cards to test their DirectX 11 capabilities, *nudge* *nudge* *wink* *wink*. In case you didn’t notice, DirectX 11 is an industry standard, whereas PhysX is more like your father’s brother’s nephew’s cousin’s former roommate to an industry standard.

You can download Unigine Heaven, here.

“Where is Futuremark?” you might ask. Well, while neck-deep in other projects, the company will be announcing its DirectX 11 benchmark app sooner rather than later as, according to Oliver Baltuch, “creating a professional benchmark that can be useful for many audiences and will stand up to the scrutiny of the many people who will argue about it (technology choices, hardware choices, new university papers, scoring) requires significant effort”. Fair enough…

We’ll just call it ATIMark for now. S|A

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