ATI vs NVIDIA: Innovation vs Rebranding

ATI vs NVIDIA: Innovation vs Rebranding

This is the last slide about ATI’s Radeon HD 4770 presentation. You can find all other slides HERE. I like this form of aggressivity from ATI…

And from AnnandTech, we have an explanation about why NVIDIA did GeForce video cards rebranding:

To understand the motivation behind NVIDIA’s naming and renaming and renaming we have to once again look its approach to GPU design. NVIDIA continued to architect very high end GPUs and allow their technology to, over the course of 9 – 12 months, trickle down to mid range and lower end market segments. AMD stepped in and launched a very competitive performance mainstream part instead of a high end GPU, allowing it to windfall down to lower price points and market segments quicker than NVIDIA could for this generation.

Let’s attach some code names shall we?

NVIDIA’s flagship, the GT200 GPU used in the GTX 295, 285, 280 and 260, isn’t available in a cheaper version yet. AMD’s flagship, the RV770, is already more affordable and is available in cheaper versions. NVIDIA has to rely on its last generation GPU, the G92b, to compete in the rest of the market while the lower end GT200 derivatives get ready for production. Rather than continue to ship products with old names to vendors and customers, NVIDIA slaps a new name on an old GPU and hopes to at least provide the appearance of being just as agile and competitive as AMD despite being clearly caught off guard this generation.

Of course, NVIDIA has a case to make. This is their current generation of hardware, and it is practical and useful to maintain a consistent nomenclature so that the general public knows what the product positioning actually is. We agree, only our solution is top to bottom launches in line with new GPU architectures rather than simply changing the name of old parts so that they look shiny and new.

NVIDIA’s take on this is also flawed in that it treats customers like idiots and underlines the fundamental issue we have. Do I need a card with a new name on it to believe that it is worthy of my purchase, or can I go read reviews comparing the hardware and learn for myself whether or not any card (regardless of the name) fills my need? Maybe this name change is for people who don’t know anything about graphics hardware then. In that case the thing that “sells” the card is the simple fact that NVIDIA has convinced someone that this part is an affordable version of a card from their latest line of products. Saying they need a name change to maintain current naming is essentially admitting that the only reason the name needs to be changed is to mislead uninformed people.

NVIDIA would love to have 40nm GT200 derivatives out today. Until that day comes, we’ll get cards that sound like GT200 based products.


  • yeah, whatever… what AMD is failing to mention is that while ATI’s drivers suck, NVIDIA has been delivering usable drivers for their hardware for what… 8 years now?

  • Yep, on that point, you’re right. NVIDIA provides good drivers (especially in OpenGL).

  • applejack

    so ATI’s “innovation” is competing with NVIDIA’s rebrandings…
    this only shows us how much ATI is lagging behind… ironic.
    took them almost 3 years to achieve a descent competition…
    now nvidia only need a GT300 to keep ATI busy for the next 2-3 years.

  • relevant remark applejack 😉

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  • s31kronos

    ATI’s drivers have come a long way. You guys sound like a broken record. The fact is that finally both companies are putting out good hardware, and as far as performance, both are roughly equal. As to innovation vs. rebranding, who really cares? Both companies are putting out good products, and more importantly, the competition is keeping the prices down

  • As to good OpenGL drivers from nVidia… I don’t know how true this can be for some people, I’ve read tons of nightmare emails from people with nVidia and Poser.
    It is true, however, I would not have considered an ATI card before their current generation of products, I read too much horror and sub-par performance stories on forums and websites.
    Competition is good. IMHO AMD/ATI have forced nVidia into a position where it has to innovate sooner than expected. That can only be good in the long run for the consumer.

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