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NVIDIA's FP16 Demotion cheating accusation investigated

Posted on Thursday, September 16 2010 @ 00:05:02 CEST by

Atomic MPC investigates NVIDIA's accusation that ATI is using FP16 demotion to boost graphics performance at the cost of image quality:
It's all part and parcel of competition. However, when Atomic received the recent NVIDIA GTS450 card, press release and included reviewer's guide, we noticed that it came with a page that implied certain unfavourable things about their competition, ATI.

We discovered that this page had been included in every reviewer's guide sent to hardware reviewers since the launch of the GF100 'Fermi' family: the GTX480, GTX470, GTX465, and both GTX460 cards. It had been included with the GTS450 and five other cards, but it seems no-one has paid it much attention, dismissing it offhandedly - as we admittedly dismiss most guides that attempt to dictate our testing methodology.

This page, as it appears below, claims many things. Prime among these is an assertion that ATI were utilising a technique in their drivers called 'FP16 Demotion' to boost their graphical performance at the cost of image quality. It names a number of older gaming titles as the only ones affected by this so-called hack, and welcomes reviewers to work it out for themselves. So, that's what we did.
You can check out the investigation over here, the site concludes it's a big fuss about nothing because it's an optional feature in the Catalyst A.I. software. In two out of the four tested games FP16 Demotion delivered a nice performance boost, and only one game showed any real visible influence.



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