There seems to be two camps on this issue. One can see that cheating on benchmarks does no one any good except the IHV doing the cheating.
All the more reason to ignore benchmarks that can easily be manipulated.
implying that to care about benchmark integrity is somehow 'nerdy', or a waste of time.
It is a waste of time IMO, if its not done correctly.
A benchmark should be; "How fast does it do this task".
3dMark on the other hand is; "How fast does it do this bit of code, without the option to massage it for the hardware".
They are not the same. If the code isn't particularly suited to the hardware, its gonna look bad. But there is always more than 1 way to do a particular task. And it should be upto the driver/compiler how it implements that task, to make use of its hardware the best.
Thats my take on it, if I appear condescending sorry, but I'm all for driver massaged shaders. IHV's know the quirks and performance of the hardware better than developers, so leave it upto them to get the code running right. As long as IQ is not compromised its all good.