3DMark Time Spy

3DMark Time Spy is a DirectX 12 benchmark test for gaming PCs running Windows 10. Time Spy includes two Graphics tests and a CPU test. With its pure DirectX 12 engine, which supports features like asynchronous compute, explicit multi-adapter, and multi-threading, Time Spy is the ideal benchmark for testing the DirectX 12 performance of modern graphics cards.

Benchmark3DMark Time Spy
Target hardwareGaming PCs
WorkloadsGraphics Test 1 measures GPU performance
WorkloadsGraphics Test 2 measures GPU performance
WorkloadsCPU Test measures CPU performance
Graphics APIDirectX 12 feature level 11
Rendering resolution2560 × 1440

Introduction to DirectX 12

DirectX 12, introduced with Windows 10, is a low-level graphics API that reduces processor overhead. With less overhead and better utilization of modern GPU hardware, a DirectX 12 game engine can draw more objects, textures and effects to the screen.

With DirectX 12, developers can significantly improve the multi-thread scaling and hardware utilization of their titles. But it requires a considerable amount of graphics expertise and memory-level programming skill. The programming investment is significant and must be considered from the start of a project. 

3DMark Time Spy was developed with expert input from AMD, Intel, Microsoft, NVIDIA, and the other members of the UL Benchmark Development Program. It was one of the first DirectX 12 apps to be built from the ground up to fully realize the performance gains that DirectX 12 offers.

Direct3D feature levels

DirectX 11 introduced a paradigm called Direct3D feature levels. A feature level is a well-defined set of GPU functionality. For instance, the 9_1 feature level implements the functionality in DirectX 9.

With feature levels, 3DMark tests can use modern DirectX 12 and DirectX 11 engines and yet still target older DirectX 10 and DirectX 9 level hardware.

Time Spy uses DirectX 12 feature level 11_0. This gives Time Spy the most significant performance benefits of the DirectX 12 API while ensuring wide compatibility with DirectX 11 hardware through DirectX 12 drivers.

Game developers creating DirectX 12 titles also use this approach since it offers the best combination of performance and compatibility.