Actually, I've got more confidence in 3dmark03 after all of this. They actually investigate and find optimizations video card companies are using. They disable the optimizations. What game developer is going to look into their time demos and make sure nobody is optimizing them? I'm not talking about games in general, optimizing them is great if you keep the same image quality. I'm talking about optimizations that only benefit the time demos.
Sure it's sad to see the lenghts that the vid card companies will go to in order to inflate benchmark scores, but at least with 3dmark they are on the look out for these types of things. How do we know the video card companies aren't doing the same kind of optimizations on game benchmarks? We don't. What makes you think they won't do the same thing with aquamark? Do you think aquamark would bother taking the time to investigate and make sure they're not? I highly doubt it. Same for any other game engine based benchmark. They can all be cheated on just as easily.