Reading this post I found out that 3dsMax might not use the same tangents when rendering normal mapped objects. In my case, I was using Ogre and OgreMax to analyze results and they were very inconsistent with what Max was showing. I am able to "colour map" the tangent space in Ogre using shaders, but in Max I can't find out how it is computed wrt to the actual geometry. I also posted the question on the Ogre forums, but nobody answered. Has anyone encountered such an issue up until now? How did you go around it?
For further information, this is the Ogre post.