MadOnion's 3D Mark 2000 has long been the staple diet for benchmark junkies eager to have something to show for their elaborate PC setups. The new version, 3D Mark 2001, combines DirectX8 support with the latest in 3D graphics and through its objective measurements gives users advice on how effectively their PC runs 3D graphics applications. Furthermore, it shows users benchmark results that allow them to make informed hardware assessments and upgrades. After feedback from gamers who have used 3D Mark in the last year, the "Professional Edition", for which you must cough up either $24.95 for an upgrade or $39.95 for the full version, allows you to actually play the exquisitely detailed opening scenes of the program's testing demo. You can hand over your money at MadOnion.com. Speaking in the official release, Marketing VP Nathan Harley said that the company has been "continually striving" to improve its benchmark facilities since 1998, so that "gamers from around the world maximize their experiences and PC performance". The company, he says, has achieved this goal with 3D Mark 2001, "by supporting DirectX8 and providing detailed 3D performance measurements for existing systems and developing challenging, new tests for current, cutting-edge hardware, as well as technologies yet to be released." The important new featureset that 3D Mark 2001 ships with includes support for Microsoft's DirectX8, three new game tests, plus a fourth game test using DirectX8 hardware. Other items on the menu are support for various DX8 display modes, FSAA, texture compression, and all sorts of other technologies past and present. You can get the whole lowdown from the official press release. Although the MadOnion website is under pretty heavy load at the moment, you should be able to download the benchmark application sometime today. In the meantime, check out some of the ongoing discussions about the new release.
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