Futuremark is our favorite company when it comes to making benchmarking programs for our Windows PC. 3D Mark Vantage and 3D Mark 11 have long been our go-to benchmarks for testing out new computers, to push computers to their limit and to see just how good the entire set up is – whether it be from Ultrabooks to High-end custom build desktops. As far as we are aware, these benchmarks have been restricted only to PC setups running Windows (whether XP or 8), however it seems 3DMark have decided to take a bold step in the right direction, by expanding to 3 new platforms.
3DMark ‘Ice Storm’ as it has been dubbed is their latest creation, and it will be launching soon. As opposed to just Windows, Ice Storm will be able to run on Windows RT (yes that includes the Surface RT!), Android and iOS devices as well (added to the full Windows support). This is an exciting move, and one we applaud because there is yet a benchmark tool that works on more than two platforms! Even some of our favorite Android benchmarking tools do not exist on iOS, making it hard to do a proper side by side comparison and this would give us the first opportunity to do so. Even more so, you’ll be able to compare Android tablets to Windows tablets, as well as an iPad! Definitely a first for all!
It includes two graphics tests focusing on GPU performance and a physics test designed to measure CPU performance. On Windows, Ice Storm uses a DirectX 11 engine limited to Direct3D feature level 9. On Android and iOS, Ice Storm uses OpenGL ES 2.0. The test content, settings and rendering resolution are the same on all platforms and scores can be compared across Windows, Windows RT, Android and iOS.
While the overall direction 3Dmark is taking is to be applauded, one we must fault them for is the lack of support for Windows Phones (more specifically, Windows Phone 8 devices). When I asked them to comment on the matter of lack of Windows Phone 8 support, they told me that their main priorities are Windows (inc RT), iOS, & Android devices (since this is their first cross-platform benchmark test). However, they did say that if there was enough demand for it then they would certainly be happy to look into a Windows Phone 8 version next year!
So the good news is that the door isn’t completely shut for WP8 devices to get Ice Storm, however it will require a lot of interest from Windows Phone users (and perhaps a gentle nudge from Microsoft?). Personally I would love to see how a Lumia 920 compares to a iPhone 5 in a straight shoot out, regardless of the score. However the lack of an app for WP8 shows once again that there is still a lack of support from developers to dive in the Windows Phone ecosystem, though you would think with Nokia having sold 2 million Lumia’s in 2 weeks (allegedly), that notion might be changing for the better.
Still, people, if you want to see Ice Storm on your new Windows Phone 8 devices (sorry wp7 users), then make sure to make your interests known to Futuremark! Windows, iOS and Android users can however look forward to Ice Storm soon (hopefully before 2012 ends)!