Despite of performance advantages over competing solutions on the high-end market of graphics cards, Nvidia Corp. fails to maintain exclusive relationships with quite a number of its partners. Recently two well-known Nvidia-loyal brands decided to introduce ATI Radeon-based graphics products.
Gainward, which used to be independent supplier of premium-class Nvidia GeForce-based graphics cards and now is a part of Palit Microsystems, is about to introduce a lineup of ATI Radeon HD 4800-series graphics cards. The new boards will be made under supervision of ATI, graphics product group of Advanced Micro Devices, thus, will not have increased clock-speeds and tweaks that Gainward-branded products are known for. Nevertheless, it is possible that in future the graphics cards supplier decides to develop its own designs for its ATI Radeon-powered products and manufacture them at Palit manufacturing facility in Hong Kong.
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Another rather famous maker of multimedia components, InnoVision Multimedia, which is primarily known for Inno3D trademark, recently unveiled another brand: Force3D. The newly formed graphics cards supplier has a range of ATI Radeon graphics cards and can satisfy almost any customer. It is unknown whether Inno3D/Force3D plans to offer factory overclocked ATI Radeon graphics cards in order to attract gamers and enthusiasts.
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Even though Palit has never been exclusive partner of Nvidia, it is believed that it is actually one of the largest partners of the company, who decided to drop exclusivity for one of its top business units. Still, the move is unlikely to impact Nvidia truly significantly as its largest customer, which provides Nvidia 10% of its revenue – Asustek Computer – has been producing graphics cards and mainboards on ATI, Nvidia and Intel chips for many years now without any exclusive agreements.
The reasons why partners of Nvidia decided to join the so-called ATI camp are not known wide-spread, but certain sources said that many add-in-card partners as well as distributors are displeased about Nvidia’s frequent new chip launches that decrease pricing of existing graphics cards and minimize profits. Another reason for disappointment of certain partners may be Nvidia’s Unilateral Minimum Advertised Price Policy (UMAP) initiative that restricts resellers to sell Nvidia-based products below certain price level.
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