Categories: News

3DMark Adds New Tier 2 Variable Rate Shading Benchmark

3DMark is, without a doubt, one of the most popular tools to benchmark a system. Specifically in terms of an ‘overall’ sense of what level of performance your PC has. If you are an owner of the advanced edition, however, and own a Turing based graphics card (in other words a Nvidia 20XX) then you might want to a check it out.

A free update has been applied for ‘Advanced’ version owners that will allow users to access a ‘Tier 2’ benchmark. This will allow them to (with more detail than the original Tier 1) to specifically evaluate the VRS (Variable Rate Shading) performance on their PC and even adjust it while the benchmark is on the go.

You can check out the benchmark in action thanks to the YouTube video posted by user ‘DDevi14UK‘.

3DMark Tier 2 Variable Rate Shading Benchmark

Despite VRS initially being ‘released’ back with the launch of the Nvidia 20XX graphics cards, to date very few games actually support it. In fact, I am personally only aware of two and those are Wolfenstein II The New Colossus and Wolfenstein Youngblood. As such, users haven’t had the best opportunities to date to ‘stretch’ their graphics cards VRS wings.

With the update, however, all owners of the ‘advanced’ version of 3DMark should find the new ‘Tier 2’ benchmark available now as a free update. The official description of the new tool reads:

“With Variable-Rate Shading, a single pixel shader operation can be applied to a block of pixels, for example shading a 4×4 block of pixels with one operation rather than 16 separate operations.

By applying the technique carefully, VRS can deliver a big performance boost with little impact on visual quality. With VRS, games can run at higher frame rates, in a higher resolution, or with higher quality settings.

There are two tiers of VRS support. With Tier 1, developers can specify a different shading rate for each draw call. Tier 2 adds more flexibility and control by allowing different shading rates within each draw call.

In our Tier 2 test, lower shading rates are used in areas where there is low contrast between neighboring pixels, for example, areas in shadow or with fewer details.

The VRS feature test also offers an interactive mode that lets you change Variable-Rate Shading settings on the fly to see how they affect the frame rate and image quality. There’s even a handy visualizer option, shown below, that shows you where each shading rate is used.”

What Do We Think?

One of the biggest perks of the ‘Tier 2’ version is the option to change settings ‘on the fly’. In the image above you can see a visual representation of how hard VRS is working in specific areas and you can look to adjust accordingly to see where the ‘sweet spot’ of performance is for you.

As above, this benchmark still doesn’t really have any practical applications as so few games currently support VRS. Presumably, however, more are almost certainly on the way. As such, this could be a very handy tool to see how your PC (and more specifically your Nvidia 20XX graphics card) might handle it.

For more information, you can check out the official 3DMark website via the link here!

What do you think? – Let us know in the comments!

Mike Sanders

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