You know it's been a long time since we have seen a major screw up by a graphics company when it comes to driver optimization. The last big one that I remember was ATi and Quake.exe.
This time it seems it is Intel that is running afoul of the community. They have introduced application specific optimizations in their latest graphics driver. Now optimization for games and applications are nothing really new, they are often built into to allow for better or more stable performance. However, this is not the case here. You see with Quake on ATi and Futuremark Vantage on the Intel GMA. The optimizations actually reduce graphical quality to gain the extra performance edge.
They do this by detecting the application that is running by name. Back when ATi did this the game was up when someone renamed Quake.exe to Quak.exe and noticed that the performance fell dramatically.
The same thing is being seen here, if you rename 3DMarkVantage.exe to 3DMarkVintage.exe or anything else you see the performance fall.
Interestingly enough AMD are the ones that brought this to light. It seems that they have been working overtime to get information out about all of their competitors. They are also behind the recent NVIDIA "Fake Card" leak. Now do not get me wrong, tinkering with drivers like this is bad and it deserves to be uncovered and something should be done about it. I just think it is interesting that AMD seems to be behind much of the whispering going on this month.
So I know you are wondering what Intel did to increase performance. Well if the Information that The TechReport has is accurate Intel is offloading much of the work onto the CPU. This is evidenced by a reduction in CPU usage when using a renamed exe.
This does not bode well for Intel at a time when they are getting ready to push Pine Trail and others out the door using a similar GPU. But then again what is bad for Intel is good for AMD.