Tuesday, November 6th 2007
An interesting article over at Elite Bastards has revealed that NVIDIA’s latest 169.04 driver for its GeForce series of graphics cards may in fact be sacrificing image quality in the new Crysis game in order to gain better performance. If you look at the first two images below, you will see quite clearly that the reflections in the water have been unrealistically stretched and look quite odd. The obvious explanation for this would be that NVIDIA’s new driver is having issues rendering the shadows and you’d expect the company to fix it. However, this issue may run a little deeper than that. When the Crysis executable has its name changed from crysis.exe to driverbug.exe, these strange shadows mysteriously look normal all of a sudden, as shown in the second two images. Further tests revealed that the renamed executable was actually performing around 7% worse on a number of tests using both an 8800 GTS and an 8800 GT compared to the default name. So it seems that NVIDIA has tried to subtly increase the framerate when playing Crysis using its cards at the cost of image quality, without giving customers any choice in the matter. Some sites are claiming that NVIDIA is using driver tweaks to ‘cheat’ and gain better performance, and whilst that may be an extreme way of looking at it, this certainly seems like more than just an accidental driver issue.