Someone started a thread on this forum before the ET article was published stating that they were seeing pixel smearing in 3DMark. Plain and simple, whether you want to call it a cheat or an optimization, Nvidia boards are not rendering this synthetic correctly. The human eye might have a hard time detecting this, but it's there nonetheless.
I've read several reviews on the FX 5900 Ultra, and no reviewer has mentioned any corruption of image quality with 3dmark03 using the new Detonator FX 44.03 drivers with what we can actually
see. In fact, it seems that both Image quality and performance are improved, sometimes significantly. Also, I read somewhere about how there was a pixel smear due to a video capture error, not an smearing of the image in the actual demo.