The French site Hardware.fr has tested XGI his Reactor drivers, after the recent XGI driver optimizations rumours. Their findings are very interesting, but sad.
After changing the 3DMark03 filename from 3dmark03.exe to 3dmurk03.exe, the performance in the Mother Nature test in 1024*768 drops from 20.6fps to 8.8fps. The total score follows the same downwards trend.
The Botmatch benchmark in Unreal Tournament 2003 (1600*1200) drops from 88.2fps to 18.7fps according to Hardware.fr!! The performance drop in their own UT2003 test is smaller but still signific : from 28.6fps to 14.6fps.
It seems that XGI his Reactor drivers switch from trilinear to bilinear filtering if they detect the program 3DMark03 for example. This reduces the workload by two (interpolation of 4 texels instead of 8).
On the left the XGI Reactor drivers recognize the game, and switch to bilinear filtering in order to increase performance, aka unauthorized cheating. On the right image the filename was renamed, and suprisingly it offers the correct rendering.
Hardware.fr also found serious problems with Halo, in such a point that some would believe they are running in 640*480 instead of 1024*786, the image quality is really bad they say. It seems that in Halo XGI has not only switched to bilinear filtering, but also a lot of other image quality options seem to be lowered or deactivated.
A fix for this problem is really simple, just rename halo.exe into something different. But don't expect you'll be able to play the game, you'll only see a slideshow of the action. When Halo is detected by the driver the screenshot function does not work, so hardware.fr was not able to show any screenshots to compare graphics quality.
If this info is correct, then it really shows that XGI Volari Duo cards are totally crap.