NVIDIAs new Crysis-optimized beta drivers 169.01 and 169.04 were picked apart over at Elite Bastards, who could reveal shocking results. Apparently these drivers force removal of certain water/shadow effects, increasing performance at the expense of visual quality.
One can easily deduct that NVIDIA has made this move in order to better benchmarking results for their 8xxx line of graphics cards, trying to make them stand out more vs their AMD/ATI opponents. Elite Bastards conclude that this is not an issue in the official 163.69 drivers, and adds that the difference in performance between the old and new drivers is 7 %.
Users of the new drivers who prefer not to rollback can easily circumvent this game-specific “optimization” by renaming the “crysis.exe” file to “nvidiacheats.exe”.