The crew over at The Inquirer has received an official statement from Canadian graphics firm ATI about recent reports of optimising for its graphics cards.
There has been a lot of discussion about our trilinear filtering algorithms recently. The objective of trilinear filtering is to make transitions between mipmap levels as near to invisible as possible. As long as this is achieved, there is no "right" or "wrong" way to implement the filtering.
We have added intelligence to our filtering algorithm to increase performance without affecting image quality. As some people have discovered, it is possible to show differences between our filtering implementations for the RADEON 9800XT and RADEON X800. However, these differences can only be seen by subtracting before and after screenshots and amplifying the result. No-one has claimed that the differences make one implementation "better" than another.
Our algorithm for image analysis-based texture filtering techniques is patent-pending. It works by determining how different one mipmap level is from the next and then applying the appropriate level of filtering. It only applies this optimization to the typical case – specifically, where the mipmaps are generated using box filtering. Atypical situations, where each mipmap could differ significantly from the previous level, receive no optimizations. This includes extreme cases such as colored mipmap levels, which is why tests based on color mipmap levels show different results. Just to be explicit: there is no application detection going on; this just illustrates the sophistication of the algorithm.
News source: The Inquirer