While investigating the NVIDIA ForceWare 169.04 drivers Elite Bastards found NVIDIA is cheating in Crysis.
The site reports the ForceWare 169.04 feature slightly better performance in Crysis but upon closer investigation it appears there are some noticeable image quality problems. For instance, reflections in the water look stretched and distorted but strangely enough when you recall 'crysis.exe' to something else like 'driverbug.exe' these problems are gone:
Of course, this is probably just a simple driver bug that will be fixed in the next ForceWare release, right? Quite possibly, but this is where things get interesting. Let's rename the Crysis single-player demo executable to effectively disable any game-specific optimisations, to 'driverbug.exe' in our case, and take a look at a couple of screenshots from this same section of the game's timedemo after making this change.
Check it out over here. The performance difference is about 7 percent on average:
But, there you have it - While renaming the Crysis single-player demo executable fixes the image quality issues with all of NVIDIA's ForceWare 169.0x drivers, it also reduces performance by around 7% on average. It's worth noting that these issues are also experienced in-game, rather than simply in the game's timedemo mode, although due to the slower camera movement of the player walking around rather than the fly-by used when benchmarking, it is normally far less noticeable.
Is NVIDIA cheating on purpose or is this just a broken Crysis-specific optimization? You decide.