You just entirely dodged what I said. You said hardware updates always make the product better. I gave an example of where that is not true.
I don't understand why you are trying to bring drivers into this
As drivers have nothing
to do with the performance hits I'm talking about. The GeForce3 has lower hit AF than the GeForce4. From the first driver to the latest driver. The IQ is the same between the two cards.
NV30 has documented bugs over previous cards too. Which have been worked around via software. Sometimes software can coverup hardware flaws, and sometimes they can't. In the case of the GeForce4 and AF, software can't.
As for your gfFX5800 comment, with all the comments about shaders and they mythical DX9.1, I would think people are
still expecting speedups for that card. Considering that drivers released after the launch of the gfFX5900 continually helped the gfFX5800, and that the shader compiler of "Det50" has helped the gfFX5800, it is fair to say that future software may very well continue to help the gfFX5800.