The gang at TG Daily has a good article that looks at a new benchmark being launched by Futuremark that is fast, and online only.  No need to download a several hundred MB installer here – just allow the plugin to load and off you go.  Obviously the detail you get from this kind of report is VERY basic and Futuremark uses the results page to litter you with advertisments and purchasing recommedations on how to “increase your score”.  Give it a shot here.
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 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.

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.