3D Graphics Tests
We're always on the lookout for new ways to measure graphics in particular. And this time, again, we did look at some of the results of other benchmark suites, and found that their assessment of graphics was so clearly wrong. For example, Performance Test 7.0 gave results showing 3D graphics at double the speed, when we could clearly see visually that 3D was closer to half the speed.
As a result, we again used 3DMark06 (version 1.2) by FutureMark. 3DMark06 is a globally recognized and comparable measurement of the 3D performance. Gamers use 3DMark as way to test their machines and tweak them for performance. See http://www.futuremark.com/ for more information about 3DMark06.
This time, we also experimented with FRAPS to see how it would rate the frames per second rates for 3DMark06 tests (which 3DMark06 also reports). FRAPS reporting, and 3DMark06 reporting, were nearly identical, giving us additional confirmation of this being the right tool for the job of assessing 3D Graphics performance.
3DMark06 has three main aggregate scores. The most important of which is the "3DMark Score." In addition, SM2.0 Score measures 3D Shader Model 2.0 performance, and the HDR/SM3.0 Score measures the 3D Shader Model 3.0 & HDR performance.
Clearly, if you are going to play games and be serious about it, then running in Boot Camp is your best choice running Windows natively. However, Parallels Desktop is fairly close and of course, you don't have to reboot with a virtualization solution, deal with driver issues, and more. VMware Fusion 3.1 continues to have problems rendering 3DMark06 tests, and in the case of the MacBook Pro simply wouldn't work (in fact, it often corrupted the virtual machine).
Overall Graphics Performance
Without a doubt, Parallels Desktop greatest advantage over VMware Fusion is in 3D graphics. Not only is the speed difference huge (Parallels Desktop is often double or more the speed of VMware Fusion), but the quality of graphics we saw in the 3DMark06 tests as well as actual game play is far, far better.
Virtualization is one of the topics at the next MacTech Boot Camp
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