Espoo (Finland) – More and more software manufacturers are positioning themselves for a thin-client era, typically referred to as software-as-a-service (SAAS). Futuremark is joining the frame with the release of VirtualMark, a thin version of the company’s 3DMark application.
Futuremark considers VirtualMark a true benchmark for the time when it will be possible to stream hundreds of megabytes of textures and other content required for on-line versions of 3DMark and PCMark. But at least for now, the software is geared towards casual user who does not want to download and install the fully fledged application, but is happy with an estimate of the capability of his system.
This new application is part of a new version of ORB (Online Result Browser). To find out more about this new service, TG Daily talked briefly to Matti Kontu, vice president of the Futuremark’s SBU Group.
TG Daily: Matti, good to see MadOnion.com domain back in use, this time as the launch page for VirtualMark. When did you come up with the idea of VirtualMark?
Kontu: Early in 2008, we wanted to leverage the already existing technology from 3DMark and PCMark and be able to serve more consumers through our online services in a meaningful way and lower the barrier to entry for regular folks.
TG Daily: How does the application actually work? The website states that it is based on 3DMark technology.
Kontu: VirtualMark uses our performance estimation framework to create a model from the millions of existing results, positioned in our massive database in Finland. For the past several years, we have been collecting results from millions of machines around the world. We are now able to identify system hardware and then work out a set of curves that represent the performance. Our mathematicians have been analyzing the data and came up with a formula that covers machines submitted in ORB. When the formula analyzes your computer, VirtualMark provides a representative score from these online tools. Truth to be told, it may not go as deep as running the full benchmark suite, but it provides a good comparison. If a user wants to go further and know more they should run one of our benchmarks such as 3DMark or PCMark to really be able to know their hardware performance.
TG Daily: How would you rate the importance of this application?
Kontu: This is only the tip of the iceberg of the different online performance tools that we are working on right now. In our research laboratories in Espoo, Finland, we created tools such as the Game-o-Meter at YouGamers.com. And this is just the beginning of expansion in the online arena.
TG Daily: Thank you for your time.
There you have it. Futuremark is expanding its online presence, so casual gamers have another place to go and see some simulated results. Simulation or not, at the end of the day, all that matters is that you have a computer capable of running 3D applications.