Gamers Deserve A New Benchmark


Benchmarking has been around for a long time. It has grown from its origins as a way to compare tech for reviewers and system diagnostics to almost its own genre of gaming. PC Gamers love benchmarks. They love comparing them to each other or just to push the tweaks on their system then compare the scores to see the results of the efforts.  Reviewers use them to tell us which parts are better than others, but people complain about them because their scores do not match what they are told they should.

Benchmarking software and sites range from giving useful data to being outright marketing arms for various hardware companies. There are two trusted benchmarks that have been around for a while.

3Dmark is a great benchmark to compare your GPU scores and see how your system is performing.  It is updated regularly adding new features and does a great job of isolating the GPU for performance. Cinebench is the work horse for CPU performance numbers. It pushes a CPU hard and gives you an idea of the raw lifting power that a CPU can offer. Check any major review site and you will see these both used somewhere in the review.

However, both of these benchmarks only target one element of a gaming PC. 3Dmark does have some testing for other elements but the truth is the results from those tests feel like after thoughts compared to GPU testing.

In the world outside of gaming we have some comprehensive system testing options. PCMark 10 is a total system benchmark that has been around for over 5 years. The goal is to give a total system view by taking a number of different tasks and seeing how the system in its totality performs. While it does an okay job at this, it really could use a full update. Game testing offered is in the suite, but it is just a quick add on and not very comprehensive or well done.

Even more venerable is Passmark, another software suite that also tries to look at the entire system by exploring how all the components perform together. It has also been updated over the years, but the benchmark is long overdue a full overhaul and the gaming section is anemic at best.

What gamers need is a full, comprehensive benchmark suite to help us see how our system performs in totality. Not testing for one component, but how a computer works. This is even more important because in the last few years the buzz word has become bottlenecks. People are asking in Reddit and Discords all the time about whether component A will be bottlenecked with component B.

The question is, why do we not have a comprehensive gaming benchmark? We know for example some games focus more on the GPU, some lean more heavily on the CPU. How does our storage solution affect the gaming experience due to loading times, does our memory give optimal performance to our system? These are questions we as gamers all want to know but cannot easily find answers for.

Sure, you can find a review site that looks at each of these areas, but they seldom bring them together.

The idea “sounds” simple. A benchmark that explores all aspects of your PC’s performance in its entirety as it relates to gaming. The benchmark would use advanced graphics techniques to push the GPU and CPU with heavy work elements from various games such as advanced strategy and RPGs.  Larger load zones to measure worst case scenarios for storage usage during gaming and of course some memory intensive activities to ensure our memory is performing as it should.

Combine all these elements into a comprehensive scoring system That will not just give a way to evaluate the totality of our gaming build but would also help us easily identify if the builds balance in terms of components used is off and where the weak links or over blown component choices were.

A great gaming rig is one where the components are balanced to give a gaming experience created from the sum of its parts. A balanced rig also means not just a great gaming experience, but often a better “buying” experience.

Right now, the solution seems to be throw money at the build. Buy the most expensive you can get and build it. However, most of us have families, mortgages, car payments and just life always getting in the way. We want to maximize our value so we can enjoy our hobby without needing a second mortgage to afford it. A real comprehensive, total system scoring suite would go a long way to helping us with that.

Let me be clear, I understand it is easy for me to sit here on the sidelines and talk about this. I understand how complex this would be to create. However there are companies that make testing software for PCs, even to the consumer level. Maybe it is time we demand they produce something that would actually give real help to the gaming consumer.

The articles content, opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed in SAPPHIRE NATION are the authors’ own and do not necessarily represent official policy or position of SAPPHIRE Technology.

Edward Crisler
Edward is the definition of an “old school” gamer, playing computer games as far back at 1977. He hosted a tech talk show for 20 years and is now the North America PR Representative for SAPPHIRE as well as SAPPHIRE’s unofficial gaming evangelist. You can follow him on Twitter @EdCrisler.