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UL, the company behind the ever popular 3DMark benchmark has announced a new test to be released later this year. The 3DMark Speed Way benchmark (opens in new tab) is designed to punish DirectX 12 Ultimate graphics cards. It will showcase real-time global illumination effects with ray tracing. UL says there will be support for mesh shaders and variable rate shading.
This benchmark is sponsored by Lenovo’s Legion (opens in new tab) brand which means you’ll likely see it mentioned throughout the benchmark much like we see with Galax in the Time Spy benchmark and MSI in Fire Strike.
UL says that Speed Way will launch ‘later in the year’ through Steam. We’d expect it to be released as a standalone download directly from UL at some point as overclockers in particular will not want to install Steam to run the benchmark. It’s also unclear if current owners of 3DMark will be required to buy Speed Way or whether it will be included as DLC.
3DMark remains a highly popular benchmark but it can be a bit unbalanced with regards to its CPU tests and tendency to overemphasise the effect of a powerful CPU. However, tests like the ray tracing subtest are brutal on graphics cards and we hope that this test will be the same. It's not just for current GPUs, but for those to come over the next several years.
I have a love-hate relationship with 3Dmark going back many years. As a former extreme overclocker, it was always a challenge dealing with GPU clocks and cold bugs during the subtests, as well as the gut wrenching feeling when a pass got within seconds of the end before crashing.
Though my days of ln2 overclocking have passed, I'm sure I'll end up with a couple of hundred or more hours of Speed Way use. Fun, but kind of sad too.