That's one definition of cheating. However, a benchmark is developed to show the performance of various different competing pieces of hardware and / or software when doing a certain specific task- ie. rendering a scene as close to a given quality level as possible (in this case, the reference rasterizer image would be really useful). If the hardware is being used in a manner that produces as close to that reference as the hardware is capable of, then I wouldn't consider it cheating. On the other hand, purposely using something less than the hardware is capable of, while knowing that it moves the final result further from the reference, with only the intent of improving the apparent performance of said hardware is cheating in my book. That's why I considered the Quack thing cheating at the time, and why I also consider what nVidia did cheating. (is doing? dunno until someone examines the latest drivers against the reference more closely and finds definite proof that it's slipping something, or else nVidia comes out and says that they are doing something to improve performance at the expense of quality, which btw, is NOT gonna happen).
It's sort of a moot point though, because the issue has been beat to death now. The reality is that nV30 isn't going to remain on the market long, has too many known shortcomings with current software titles (when compared to the competition), and will be replaced in short order. If all the rumors hold true, then nv35 should actually fulfill all the expectations that so many of us had for nv30.
Oh, and before anyone decides to include me in the ATI fanboy camp, the 9700Pro I have now is the first ATI I've had in a loooong time. Prior to this card I've had 5 generations of nVidia cards, and mostly loved every one of them. More than the hardware issues with nv30, nvidia's conduct during this period has turned me off to them. Hopefully they will improve that situation along with the hardware once nv35 finally has had the wraps taken off of it.