I still believe that, but upon further reflection, we decided to proceed with using the "Application" setting on GeForce FX cards in subsequent reviews. I'm compelled by the arguments for enforcing standard methods, as much as possible, for things like trilinear filteringespecially when it comes to benchmarking.
I want to emphasize, though, that absolute purity in matters like this one will be an increasingly difficult goal to achieve as graphics chips progress. Graphics has long been about "cheating" visually without getting caught, and until computing power multiplies by many, many orders of magnitude, it will continue to be so.
"Cheating," of course, could mean several things in this context. Hidden surface removal is one sort of "cheat" that everybody likes. Other "cheats" are more nefarious, like the old SiS drivers that outright shrank texture sizes in order to help benchmark scores. Many are in between these two extremes. NVIDIA's "Quality" mode simply isn't a sin on the order of ATI's Quake III driver optimizations or even of the R200/RV250 silicon's complete, utter inability to produce anisotropic filtering and trilinear filtering simultaneously. Still, NVIDIA is cutting corners in its current drivers in order to boost performance, and the visual difference, while generally slight, is real.