Unlike the step from 3DMark 2001 to 3DMark 2003 and then to 3DMark 2005, 3DMark 2006 is an incremental upgrade over 3DMark 2005. In fact, a superficial look at the benchmark will show more similarities than differences in many of the tests. Once you look a little deeper, it becomes clear that 3DMark 06 is a substantial improvement over the previous generation test.
Test 1: Return to Proxycon
Return to Proxycon is once again a part of the 3DMark benchmark as a Shader Model 2.0 test. To maintain its effectiveness as a benchmark tool with todayís faster GPUs, FutureMark has increased the resolution, the number of objects and lights. Additionally, all of the tests in 3DMark 06 use a new type of depth shadow map called Cascaded Shadow Maps in which there is are five 2048x2048 shadows maps used. One of the lights in Return to Proxycon uses the CSM approach. Traditional point lights with 1024x1024x6 cube depth maps/shadow maps are used for everything else. There are a total of 26 light sources.