LIGHTSMARK is a new benchmark/demo with real-time global illumination and penumbra shadows created by Stepan Hrbek. Lightsmark version 1.3 was used as it contains new rendering paths for ATI Radeon HD 2xxx and 38XX series graphics cards. Before version 1.3 was released, the ATI Radeon HD 38xx series video cards were unable to render objects in the benchmark.
It should be noted that ATI questioned our use of this benchmark as the developer is a private individual that never contacted developer relations at ATI. ATI also made it clear to us that although this benchmark uses global illumination, that it is not similar to the DX10.1 demo that ATI been showing. ATI isn’t sure how the benchmark is made as they have not had time to look into it, but if its rendering to cube maps then its likely that performance could be increased if the app used DX10.1’s indexed cube maps.
To be fair to both side we contacted the creator of Lightsmark 2007 and Stepan Hrbek had this to say.
“I developed it with 3 Radeon and 3 GeForce cards, randomly switching them, there are no special optimizations, IMHO it’s fair. I bought all 6 cards, no gifts.. Small unfairness is only in quality. The same shader on Nvidia card produces smoother shadows but I don’t give Nvidia any bonus points for quality, only fps is measured. It uses completely new technique where part of calculation runs on CPU, drivers were not optimized for it for years, so it’s possible that it hits some unoptimized driver code. But both companies are in the same situation.”
Since we ran the test, we will go ahead and include it, but what the results mean is up in the air.
Benchmark Results: Lightsmark 2007 v1.3 shows that the GeForce 9800 GTX+ has some muscle, but the big shocker is the Radeon HD 4850. The Sapphire Radeon HD 4850 took a nice jump in performance over the Radeon HD 3870 X2 and rivals some of the slower NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GTX based graphics card.