NVidia & ATI vs Futuremark

By Steve Gibson, May 23, 2003 3:42pm PDT A while back many of you may recall ATI getting caught red-handed having their drivers detect Quake3 firing up and they would drop the image quality slightly to improve benchmark scores. That was just a tiny bit of a scandal. Well now Futuremark is accusing NVidia of playing naughty when it comes to their benchmark suite:

"Recently, there have been questions and some confusion regarding 3DMark 03 results obtained with certain Nvidia" products, Futuremark said in the statement. "We have now established that Nvidia's Detonator FX drivers contain certain detection mechanisms that cause an artificially high score when using 3DMark 03."

The real question being, is NVidia dropping image quality to inflate those scores? If NVidia is simply adjusting how their driver reacts to the application to improve performance without hindering the quality, then I dont see the problem. Just about all hardware vendors do this to make sure their stuff works with the most popular game engines. Also keep in mind that NVidia (among others) has been vocal in the past about the latest 3DMark not being a very good benchmark, that could play a part in Futuremark not exactly being thrilled with NVidia and perhaps trying throw some bad mojo their way. update: It seems that ATI is also being looked at and I'm just blind (Thanks Rick):

Our investigations reveal that some drivers from ATI also produce a slightly lower total score on this new build of 3DMark03. The drop in performance on the same test system with a Radeon 9800 Pro using the Catalyst 3.4 drivers is 1.9%. This performance drop is almost entirely due to 8.2% difference in the game test 4 result, which means that the test was also detected and somehow altered by the ATI drivers. We are currently investigating this further.

update: Here is some stuff NVidia is accused of doing.

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