Multiplatform benchmark, 3DMARK Steel Nomad, has been delayed beyond April

A “release candidate” for 3DMARK Steel nomad is ready, but the benchmark isn’t ready to launch yet

Releasing a new benchmark isn’t an easy process. This is especially true if you are making your new benchmark multi-platform. UL Benchmarks is currently finalising their 3DMARK Steel Nomad benchmark, and have confirmed that the benchmark will not be releasing this month.

Steel Nomad will be free to all owners of 3DMARK, and will be the company’s most intensive non-raytracing benchmark. The tool will support Windows, Linux, macOS, iOS, and Android. At launch, the benchmark will only support Windows and Windows-on-ARM, with support for other OS’ arriving later in 2024.

Last month, UL Benchmarks stated that their new benchmark will “probably [launch] in April“. Now we know that this won’t be the case.

In a new statement on Steam, UL Benchmarks has confirmed that they are still waiting for feedback from their industry partners. Essentially, every GPU vendor needs to agree that the tool is fit for purpose. Since Steel Nomad is multi-platform, this benchmark requires a lot more validation than normal. This includes the validation of PC GPU makers like AMD, Nvidia, and Intel, and hardware vendors for iOS (Apple) and Android (Qualcomm, Samsung, etc).

There the issue is simply getting the last issues solved to have a solid test that everyone in Benchmark Development Program (various hardware vendors, basically everyone out there that is making GPUs – dedicated or integrated) agrees to be fit for the purpose. It is bit of a long-standing issue that until a new test is nearly ready, GPU vendors are not very worried about small details because it is still under development. However, once we have builds that are hitting beta, suddenly the interest in reporting any potential issues spikes. We obviously schedule time for these, but this time around, especially since the test is multiplatform, we had more of those than anticipated. Say, if there is an issue with Android version that is specific to one Android SoC, it still needs to be sorted and investigated before releasing any other version because it may affect comparability between platforms.

Right now the test is in theory locked down (we have a “Release Candidate”) and we’re waiting for final round of feedback from our partners while Windows UI is being finalized (things like localization for new bits, for example). We won’t quite make the indicated April target, but it won’t be long now.

Thankfully, it “won’t be long now” before we see UL Benchmark’s newest addition to 3DMARK. Honestly, it is a good thing that UL Benchmarks has delayed their newest benchmark until it is ready. After all, major post-launch updates could alter scores, making all older tests using the tool worthless. UL Benchmarks wants to avoid this potential outcome, which is why they have been working closely with hardware partners.

Why does 3DMARK Steel Nomad exist?

3DMARK Steel Nomad will arrive in two forms, standard and Light. Steel Nomad is for high-end PCs and laptops using Windows, macOS, and Linux. Light is for thin and light devices using Windows-on-ARM, Apple Silicon, iOS, or Android.

While ray tracing has become increasingly common in games, Steel Nomad avoids this technology entirely. Gaming performance outside of ray tracing remains an important factor for gamers and analysts. This is why 3DMARK needs a new non-raytraced benchmark. The growing popularity of Linux gaming PCs like Valve’s Steam Deck has also created the need for a multi-platform gaming benchmark.

Steel Nomad will sit alongside Port Royal, Speed Way, and Solar Bay. This gives gamers a suite of tests to cover all modern gaming scenarios. This includes no raytracing, light raytracing, and heavy raytracing workloads. All of these new benchmarking tools have been released fairly recently, and that gives reviewers and hardware enthusiasts a suite of new tools to compare their systems with others.

You can join the discussion on 3DMARK Steel Nomad on the OC3D Forums.

Mark Campbell

Mark Campbell

A Northern Irish father, husband, and techie that works to turn tea and coffee into articles when he isn’t painting his extensive minis collection or using things to make other things.

Follow Mark Campbell on Twitter
View more about me and my articles.