ATI admits to driver tweaks in 3DMark03

— 12:00 AM on May 27, 2003

On the heels of the NVIDIA 3DMark03 score inflation story, ATI has confessed to similar optimization in its CATALYST driver set. In this story at Beyond3D, ATI's PR director, Chris Evenden, has made the statement:

The 1.9% performance gain comes from optimization of the two DX9 shaders (water and sky) in Game Test 4 . We render the scene exactly as intended by Futuremark, in full-precision floating point. Our shaders are mathematically and functionally identical to Futuremark's and there are no visual artifacts; we simply shuffle instructions to take advantage of our architecture. These are exactly the sort of optimizations that work in games to improve frame rates without reducing image quality and as such, are a realistic approach to a benchmark intended to measure in-game performance. However, we recognize that these can be used by some people to call into question the legitimacy of benchmark results, and so we are removing them from our driver as soon as is physically possible. We expect them to be gone by the next release of CATALYST.
Screenshots of both Detonator and CATALYST output from 3DMark03 in the original build (320), and the new build (330) have been posted here in the B3D forums.
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