Gamespot has an interesting little back-and-forth between Nvidia and one of the guys who worked on 3DMark 2003. Nvidia claims that the newest 3DMark is not a good benchmark for video cards because it does not do things the way current games are designed. I guess it wouldn't be so bad if Nvidia's cards weren't tanking on the new program.
Nvidia is certainly slipping lately, first the FX card and now with the sour grapes. To think they used to be the plucky under-dogs...
On a related note, Nvidia has contacted us to say that it doesn't support the use of 3DMark 2003 as a primary benchmark in the evaluation of graphics cards, as the company believes the benchmark doesn't represent how current games are being designed. Specifically, Nvidia contends that the first test is an unrealistically simple scene that's primarily single-textured, that the stencil shadows in the second and third tests are rendered using an inefficient method that's extremely bottlenecked at the vertex engine, and that many of the pixel shaders use specific elements of DX8 that are promoted by ATI but aren't common in current games.
In response to Nvidia's statements, Futuremark's Aki Jarvilehto said, "We've been working for the last 18 months to make 3DMark 2003 an accurate and objective benchmark. Nvidia was one of our beta members until December, and it's not our place to comment on why they've decided to withdraw from the program. After working on the project for almost two years with all the leading manufacturers, we do strongly believe that 3DMark 2003 is an accurate representation of game performance for modern 3D accelerators."