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Futuremark Corporation, a leading developer of benchmarking software, today clarified its position towards driver optimizations for 3DMark benchmarks. Earlier this year both NVIDIA and ATI Technologies were caught on cheating in 3DMark game benchmarks, and even though the latter removed its cheats, the former never confirmed their existence claiming that the industry benchmark had been developed in an attempt to show NVIDIA GeForce FX products in bad light.

In order to clarify its stance on driver optimizations and to help those companies who wish to have their products benchmarked with its industry standard 3DMark benchmark, Futuremark today publishes the following set of guidelines for creating drivers:

  • It is prohibited to change the rendering quality level that is requested by 3DMark;
  • It is prohibited to detect 3DMark directly or indirectly. In its sole discretion, Futuremark may approve detection in order to fix a specified hardware error;
  • Optimizations that utilize the empirical data of 3DMark are prohibited;
  • Generic optimizations that do not violate the above rules and benefit applications in general are acceptable only if the rendering is math1ematically consistent with that of Microsoft DirectX reference rasterizer.

These four points are very correct and are just what the doctor ordered for the right benchmarking. The only concern is how Futuremark plans to persuade IHVs not to “optimize” or “cheat” in order to get higher 3DMark scores? How should the press detect such kind of drivers’ incorrect behaviour? No idea…

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