Originally posted by Ruined
Not necessarily. Though Valve did make a mixed mode path, AFAIK there are other things Nvidia could attempt to optimize during shader compilation such as reordering instructions for their shader architecture. In the original HL2 benchmarks, the 5900 Ultra was only 20% behind the 9800PRO - based on the nature of NV3x, I see that number able to be made up with optimizations. And, as we can see from the final result of 3dmark03, Nvidia's shader replacement can look just as good as the original if they work hard enough on it, while offering very fast speeds.
I hope you're not being serious. Look again at Valve's presentation about HL2: http://www.techreport.com/etc/2003q3/valve/index.x?pg=2
Straight off the slide entitled "Special Mixed Mode for NV3X."
-Uses partial-precision registers where appropriate
-Trades off texture fetches for pixel shader instruction count
-Case-by-case shader code restructuring.
It sure sounds to me like the reordered instructions in an optimal way for NV3x.
re: 3dmark03 how do we know what is really going on? Remember that slide that talked about screen cap detection?