Earlier in the week we reported that NVIDIA's Nick Stam had written a damning article on his company's blog decrying AMD's use of lower image-quality settings that gave better performance in benchmarks at the expense of graphical fidelity. Of course, the claims were met with little sympathy in our forums, where members rightly pointed out that NVIDIA had pulled exactly that sort of stunt in 2003 by tuning drivers to perform better in benchmarks.
Now a representative from AMD has gotten in touch with us to try and set the record straight. Obviously the company denies any accusations of underhand tactics and reaffirmed its commitment to the PC gaming community. The rep also pointed out that the default image-quality settings in the Catalyst drivers had recently been revisited and that they were - in AMD's opinion - "on par" with NVIDIA's defaults.
The statement added that the company takes "great care in determining the default settings of Catalyst drivers" and that the current defaults "deliver a very good gaming experience".
Obviously the real test comes down to user experience, and in our thoroughly unscientific testing we couldn't see any particular degradation in image quality when using the default Catalyst settings. There will obviously be differences in the companies' hardware and drivers that will render textures in different ways, but we doubt that the majority will be able to notice any difference in real world scenarios. And for those that do notice, the settings can always be changed manually.