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A New Dawn
Back in the early 2000's NVIDIA was working on an intense graphics benchmark called Dawn. While we never saw the fruits of that, NVIDIA has now released the next iteration in that line; a similar benchmark called A New Dawn. The original Dawn demo had many merits, but due to the limitations of hardware at the time, it also took many short cuts. One of the most obvious was the fact that Dawn didn't really have a home. Fairies, as we all know, live in the depth of mysterious forests, but for Dawn, her home was a giant glowing cube map-a six-sided texture that represented the environment around her. She had no trees to climb, no bees or butterflies to play with. She was a very lonely fairy.
The original Dawn demo used a very simple but effective technique to simulate one aspect of skin shading called rim lighting. It worked by isolating the silhouette of the character and letting light from behind the character bleed through, giving an illusion of translucent skin. This worked well for the silhouette when exposed to strong light, but was less convincing for other portions of the character.
A New Dawn uses a complex but efficient sub-surface scattering shader, first pioneered with the Luna demo introduced with the GeForce 7800 GTX. To smartly manage workload, the new skin shader dynamically selects the number of samples to filter, depending on how visible the surface is. Detail maps are used to capture fine hairs, bumps, and skin imperfections. Four independent textures describe the oil content of the skin. (Information from Guru3D.com)
A New Dawn is an extremely taxing benchmark with Ultra settings on. Also, as a quick note, since NVIDIA pioneered this benchmark, it is a pretty safe bet to imagine that it should run better on NVIDIA graphics cards. Because of that, a patch was released to make it a viable benchmarking tool for AMD cards as well. Using the AMD patch, we were able to test our AMD cards alongside the NVIDIA cards.
That's it for the benchmarks, move on ahead for power and temperature testing.