Thursday, February 11th 2021

UL Benchmarks Announces DirectX 12 3DMark Mesh Shader Test

DirectX 12 Ultimate adds powerful new features and capabilities to DirectX 12 including DirectX Raytracing Tier 1.1, Mesh Shaders, Sampler Feedback, and Variable Rate Shading (VRS). After DirectX 12 Ultimate was announced, we started adding new tests to 3DMark to show how games can benefit from these new features. Our latest addition is the 3DMark Mesh Shader feature test, a new test that shows how game developers can boost frame rates by using mesh shaders in the graphics pipeline.
What is a mesh shader?

Mesh shaders introduce a new approach to geometry processing that simplifies the graphics pipeline while also giving developers more flexibility and control.

In 3D graphics, a mesh is the set of vertices, edges and faces that define the shape of an object. In current graphics pipelines, all the geometry data in a mesh must be processed sequentially before any further steps can be taken. This can be a significant performance bottleneck.

Mesh shaders replace the old approach with a new model that brings the power, flexibility and control of a compute programming model to the geometry pipeline.

Mesh shaders can process small sections of a mesh, called meshlets, in parallel with a much greater degree of flexibility and control.

Amplification shaders, another new part of the mesh shader pipeline, are especially useful for culling, as they can efficiently determine which meshlets are visible before shading. An amplification shader can cull nonvisible meshlets far more efficiently than the traditional methods.

Test mesh shader performance with 3DMark

The 3DMark Mesh Shader feature test shows how game engines can improve performance by using the mesh shader pipeline to efficiently cull geometry that is not visible to the camera.

The test scene is a hall containing many rows of highly detailed, carved pillars. As the camera moves through the scene, the pillars in the foreground block the view of those further back.

The test runs in two passes. The first pass uses a traditional approach to geometry culling to provide a performance baseline. The second pass uses mesh shaders to efficiently cull hidden meshlets.

The result of the test is the average frame rate for each pass and the difference between the two expressed as a percentage.

Interactive mode

The 3DMark Mesh Shader feature test includes an interactive mode that helps you visualize the benefits of using mesh shaders. You can pause and jump to different parts of the timeline and change settings in real-time. Use visualizer options to highlight meshlets or see the level of detail (LOD) used for each meshlet.

Experience DirectX 12 Ultimate with 3DMark

DirectX 12 Ultimate adds powerful new features and capabilities to DirectX 12. These features enable game developers to create ever more realistic graphics while also improving performance and frame rates.

3DMark has a dedicated test for each of the new features in DirectX 12 Ultimate:
  • 3DMark DirectX Raytracing feature test
  • 3DMark Mesh Shader feature test
  • 3DMark VRS feature test
  • 3DMark Sampler Feedback feature test (coming later this year)
As well as measuring performance, each of these tests also has an interactive mode that lets you experiment with different settings to see the effect on image quality and performance.

System requirements

To run the 3DMark Mesh Shader feature test, you need Windows 10 version 2004 or later and a graphics card with drivers that support Microsoft DirectX 12 Ultimate.

3DMark Advanced Edition

The Mesh Shader feature test is available now as a free update for 3DMark Advanced Edition.

3DMark Professional Edition

The Mesh Shader feature test is available as a free update for 3DMark Professional Edition customers with a valid annual license. Customers with an older, perpetual license will need to purchase an annual license to unlock the test.
Source: UL Benchmarks
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17 Comments on UL Benchmarks Announces DirectX 12 3DMark Mesh Shader Test

#2
thesmokingman
This will run at whatever resolution you're running at so comparisons will be pointless w/o some commonality.
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#3
delshay
I wish they would give us more Vulkan features so we can compare API.
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#4
Caring1
Coincidence Intel comes out with their Discrete Graphics and use this test?
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#5
InVasMani
Very cool all this GPU tech and innovation to bring about a lot of optimizations and this benchmark is going to brutalize my GPU with it and make it feel like a VGA based GPU on a Pentium 2.
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#6
Chrispy_
delshayI wish they would give us more Vulkan features so we can compare API.
I feel like Sony's Playstation is the only reason that Vulkan hasn't really died off altogether yet.
I see a few more indie games using it too, now - maybe because there's zero licensing/royalty or because they also plan to go cross-platform.

Hopefully we'll see more Vulkan titles in 2021; Competition is good, and multiple API's that require generalised hardware is one of the last things preventing monopolies that almost already exist in the GPU market - Microsoft almost have a complete monopoly on the realtime 3D API and Nvidia nearly have a complete monopoly on the compute API. Sony and Linux users make up that tiny, barely-significant sliver but as always, everyone wins (except the ultra-wealthy megacorps, Nvidia and Microsoft) if you back the underdog and get better competition in the market.
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#7
ratirt
@W1zzard is this benchmark going to be added in the test suite?
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#8
W1zzard
ratirt@W1zzard is this benchmark going to be added in the test suite?
No plans to add any synthetics to my test suite
Posted on Reply
#10
Mussels
Freshwater Moderator
This looks more exciting than DLSS

rock on the FPS boosts!

(imagine if the new game consoles use this for their performance modes, and actually run at 60/120/144Hz and FPS)
Posted on Reply
#13
watzupken
This has to be one of the ugliest benchmark I've seen so far. In any case, I think will be good to see how much image quality we are giving up to achieve the xx% of improvement in performance. I don't deny it will bring decent performance improvement, but just like the first gen of DLSS, there was a whole bunch of criticism over the poor blurry image.
Posted on Reply
#15
Mysteoa
Chrispy_I feel like Sony's Playstation is the only reason that Vulkan hasn't really died off altogether yet.
I see a few more indie games using it too, now - maybe because there's zero licensing/royalty or because they also plan to go cross-platform.

Hopefully we'll see more Vulkan titles in 2021; Competition is good, and multiple API's that require generalised hardware is one of the last things preventing monopolies that almost already exist in the GPU market - Microsoft almost have a complete monopoly on the realtime 3D API and Nvidia nearly have a complete monopoly on the compute API. Sony and Linux users make up that tiny, barely-significant sliver but as always, everyone wins (except the ultra-wealthy megacorps, Nvidia and Microsoft) if you back the underdog and get better competition in the market.
Sony or the PS4/5 doesn't use Vulkan, it uses its own proprietary API.
Posted on Reply
#16
R00kie
RTX2070 Super and 5600x

www.3dmark.com/ms/4798

Somehow my mesh shader off result seems to be higher than the ones posted above :confused:
Posted on Reply
#17
Chrispy_
MysteoaSony or the PS4/5 doesn't use Vulkan, it uses its own proprietary API.
Technically you are 100% correct, but Sony's proprietary API is a fork of OpenGL/Vulcan and offers game developers near parity to Vulkan via their compilers. PC games that add cross-platform support for PS4/PS5 often add Vulcan support at exactly the same time because it's practically the same route.

It's like saying OSX isn't technically BSD - whilst that is technically true and OSX is a proprietary OS made by Apple - it's still based on, and compatible with lots of Linux code.

Potayto, potahto....
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