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3DMark API Overhead Test: AMD outperforms NVIDIA, DX12 on par with Mantle

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Created: by
Andreas Schilling

futuremarkFuturemark has just released another test for 3DMark. The API Overhead Test focuses especially on the graphics API and its potential bottleneck - the so-called Draw Calls. The 3DMark API Overhead Feature Test checks how many draw calls a PC can tolerate until the frames per second drop below 30 FPS. This is tested in DirectX 12, which of course requires Windows 10. As for DirectX 11, both single and multi-threaded and Mantle are tested, which can of course only run on a GPU and APU from AMD. Draw Calls are essential commands within the rendering process, yet they create a high overhead on the processor with the result that no optimal utilization of the graphics card can be guaranteed. All new graphics APIs therefore make sure the overhead is reduced. Next to Mantle, DirectX 12, and Volcano this also includes Meta froml Apple. Such optimization is also becoming common in professional applications and AMD can boast it has been a pioneer.

Futuremark 3DMark API Overhead Test
Futuremark 3DMark API Overhead Test.

Users who want to test DirectX 12 can grab hold of the current build of the Windows 10 Technical Preview, which also contain the compatible drivers for video cards from AMD and NVIDIA. The 3DMark update to version 1.5.884 is now available. We have conducted initial tests with an AMD Radeon R9 290X and an NVIDIA GeForce GTX Titan X. For our graphics card test system we used an Intel Core i7-3960X with 3,9 GHz as CPU, 16 GB RAM and an SSD from ADATA.

Futuremark 3DMark

API Overhead Test

Futuremark Points
the more the better

For the GeForce GTX Titan X, there naturally only are two tests, the DirectX11 and DirectX12 tests. The Mantle API is not addressed by NVIDIA. DirectX 12's increase in performance is clear  compared to DirectX 11. The increase is +588 percent, which is consistent with previous findings in synthetic tests.

Futuremark 3DMark

API Overhead Test

20078566 XX
17967241 XX
Futuremark Points
the more the better

The Mantle test is of course available for the Radeon R9 290X. Here, the 3DMark test sees the Mantle API outperform DirectX 12. Mantle is 11,75 percent in lead.

Overall, it can therefore be said that AMD is currently handling DirectX 12 better - as the comparison between the GeForce GTX Titan X and Radeon R9 290X shows. Also of note is that Mantle appears to be faster than DirectX 12. However, one must remember that the 3DMark API Overhead Test is a synthetic benchmark, which doesn't allow conclusions to be drawn for game performance. It only shows the potential for the draw calls. First real implementations in DirectX 12 games will surely deliver distinct and clear results.

The current version of 3DMark can be downloaded directly from Futuremark .

Futuremark 3DMark API Overhead Test
Futuremark 3DMark API overhead test of the GeForce GTX Titan X.
Futuremark 3DMark API Overhead Test
Futuremark 3DMark API overhead test of an Radeon R9 290X.