3DMark06 includes an array of 3D graphics, CPU and 3D feature tests for overall performance measurement of current and future PC gaming systems. With this broader design approach, 3DMark06 has become the benchmark of choice for all PCs with top-of-the-line graphics hardware and CPUs. 3DMark06 is the first product from Futuremark using the AGEIA PhysX software physics library in two very complex, game-like threaded CPU tests conceived to measure properly performances of single processor, multi-core and multiple processor systems in next generation of games. In addition to using real-time physics, both CPU tests also employ multi-threaded artificial intelligence algorithms. By combining the results of the two CPU tests and four graphics tests, 3DMark06 enables users to get a 3DMark score which reflects the overall gaming performance of their PC.
The CPU test showed that the dual-core X2 processors get a big performance boost on this multi-threaded benchmarking utility. The 3.2GHz AMD Athlon 64 X2 6400+ pulled well ahead of the 2.2GHz AMD Athlon 62 X2 4200+. There was a 359% performance increase on the latest and greatest AMD processor compared to the Athlon XP 1800+ that brought up the rear of the group. Not bad considering the Athlon XP 1800+ came out in 2002 and the Athlon 64 X2 came out in 2007!