Each 3DMark benchmark test has a specific rendering resolution. This is the resolution that the graphics engine targets when rendering the scene. 3DMark scales each frame from the rendering resolution to your desktop display resolution. This scaling has a insignificant impact on performance in most cases, and scores are comparable regardless of the desktop resolution you use. 

Impact on CPU-limited systems

When a benchmark is limited by the CPU, or when the frame rate is very high, image scaling may have a small impact on the benchmark score. Both of scenarios can be avoided, however, by choosing the right benchmark for your system.

Impact of 4K and other ultra-high resolutions

If you have a 4K desktop resolution but your GPU is not very powerful, the image scaling may require a considerable amount of GPU resources and video memory. Running with integrated graphics or a low-end discrete GPU at 4K desktop resolution or higher is not recommended. Your score may be degraded by the performance penalty of image scaling.

As a workaround, you can override the output resolution with the SCALED RESOLUTION setting on the Options screen. For most benchmarks, choosing 1920 × 1080 (1080p) for the output resolution will be fine. 

Scaling options

The SCALING MODE setting on the OPTIONS screen lets you choose between CENTERED and STRETCHED SCALING. 

Centered scaling preserves the original aspect ratio. It adds a letterbox effect if your desktop resolution does not have a 16:9 aspect ratio.

Stretched scaling will stretch the image to fill the display without preserving the original aspect ratio. You could use stretched scaling to fill a triple-monitor setup, for example. Stretched scaling does not change the workload. The benchmark still renders to the internal rendering resolution, it is just scaled differently to your display.

How to change a benchmark's rendering resolution

In 3DMark Advanced and Professional Editions, you can use custom benchmark settings to change the internal rendering resolution. Please remember that custom runs do not produce an overall score and the sub-scores cannot be compared with scores obtained with default settings.

Optimal settings for overclockers

If you're aiming for the highest possible score in a benchmark—for an overclocking contest, for example—matching your desktop resolution to the benchmark's internal rendering resolution may provide a very slight performance gain.

3DMark benchmark rendering resolutions

Time Spy Extreme3840 × 2160 4K UHD / 2160p
Time Spy2560 × 1440 1440p
Night Raid1920 × 10801080p
Port Royal2560 × 14401440p
Fire Strike Ultra3840 × 21604K UHD / 2160p
Fire Strike Extreme2560 × 14401440p
Fire Strike1920 × 10801080p
Sky Diver1920 × 10801080p
Cloud Gate (unsupported)1280 × 720720p
Ice Storm Extreme (unsupported)1920 × 10801080p
Ice Storm (unsupported)1280 × 720720p