Nvidia blames its rebranding practices on OEMs

By on March 5, 2010, 2:34 AM
While some argue that Nvidia is treading in deep water (what with AMD's current lead in the graphics market and all), most can agree on one thing: Nvidia's rebranding policies are annoying and misleading. For instance, the company's G92 GPU made its way into GeForce 8800, 9800, GTS 200, GTX 200M products. More recently, the GT218 has appeared in GeForce 200, 300 and Ion 2 lines.

Facing strong criticism among enthusiasts, Nvidia addressed concerns in a chat with Bit-Tech. The company said that it only rebrands products at the request of large PC OEMs. Nvidia also said that despite how much consumers complain about its rebranding exercises and how confusing it makes buying a new graphics card, most rebrands are OEM-only products and will "never be seen within the retail space."

Unfortunately, Bit-Tech couldn't get the names of companies asking Nvidia to rebrand its graphics solutions. Rebranding a product creates demand without the expense of actually building something new, and Nvidia isn't the only one who does it. The Tech Report notes that AMD appeased the requests of partners with its Mobility Radeon HD 5165 and 5145, which are simply faster 4000-series products.




User Comments: 36

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Archean Archean, TechSpot Paladin, said:

It is not just confusing, IMHO re-branding is more of a deceptive tactic, in this case on part of nVidia or AMD. Its like admitting that you do not have something useful to compete with in the market place, but have enough lunacy to sell it anyway by giving it a new name with minutely small bumps of performance here or there.

One thing which comes to mind is "modern business practices somehow demands the finest art of insincerity possible in dealings with its audience to maximize profits, without any care about ethical issues as such".

Regardless of that, I think there is another problem which involve the way people perceive, think and make buying decisions. Often I see people here and on many other forums, taking sides of Corporation X or Y; instead of comparing products (e.g. performance/quality etc.) and making logically correct decision in choosing a solution (regardless of what badge it may carry) according to their needs.

Guest said:

This is one of the lamest excuses I've heard from nVidia. Trying to blame it on your customers?!?!?! Either suicide or nVidia is beyond arrogant. This is coming from a company that likes to dictate things to their customer. So, I don't buy your excuse one bit. It would help if they came clean with this, but I doubt their arrogance or ego will allow it.

skitzo_zac skitzo_zac, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Guest said:

This is one of the lamest excuses I've heard from nVidia. Trying to blame it on your customers?!?!?! Either suicide or nVidia is beyond arrogant. This is coming from a company that likes to dictate things to their customer. So, I don't buy your excuse one bit. It would help if they came clean with this, but I doubt their arrogance or ego will allow it.

I think your taking this a bit to seriously. They are not blaming it on indivual users they are blaming it on large system builders like Dell, HP etc. And I do believe them, from memory some of the rebrads definately did start life as OEM only parts (GTS 240/250). And the mobile (laptop) cards, I don't see them available for purchase to indivual users so that seems pretty feasable that's it dictated by OEM demand.

DJ83 said:

Its very sad to hear this poor excuse. Nvidia could easily say no to its suppliers when a request is made for a re-brand. Re-branding in no way benefits the consumer, as Archean notes there is no ethical responsibility in this practice. I'm a techie, but can understand why the average person gets confused with the myriad of products.

Clrabbit said:

"most rebrands are OEM-only products and will "never be seen within the retail space.""

Way What? Is this there way of saying there planing to stop selling retail cards, or just bad speech planing?

I'm pretty sure there stupid new naming system has effected there entire line of current and future gen cards.

Doing things just because OEMs tell them they "should" kind of makes me wonder if they have just decided their enthusiast system builder fans are second rate, and not worth there time.

slh28 slh28, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Nice excuse, passing the blame is pretty much the only way nvidia could have justified themselves. While nvidia are pissing off the enthusiast market with these tactics, in reality this is only a very small segment of their revenue base and they are probably making a lot more from the rebranding of cards than they are losing from the people switching to AMD at the high end.

Of course this in no way justifies their actions, but from a financial perspective you can see that this makes sense. nvidia are a listed company and unfortunately their ONLY objective is to deliver returns to shareholders.

EduardsN said:

All this rebranding nvidia does got me confused a while ago. But does anyone know when the 300 series(dx10.1) video cards are coming out? Or are they not going to release those at all?

slh28 slh28, TechSpot Paladin, said:

All this rebranding nvidia does got me confused a while ago. But does anyone know when the 300 series(dx10.1) video cards are coming out? Or are they not going to release those at all?

Yes, they have come out already and they are rebrands yet again. The Fermi cards are now the 4xx series.

thatguyandrew92 said:

Well it is confusing at first. But a lot of people find out quick and you can buy the right card without much a problem. Rebranding isn't really an "issue."

selphiroth said:

well, nice excuse....

This reminds me of my GTS250 which is another rebranding product form nvidia(which is 9800gtx+). Seems like this game is going on and on...

Tekkaraiden Tekkaraiden said:

I find the naming practices of both AMD and Nvidia overly confusing. Rebadging older part as newer ones just makes it even more so.

fref said:

With the imminent release of Fermi, this practice of rebranding cards should come to an end I guess. Nvidia will finally have a real new product to offer us. I can't wait for some benchmarks, even though I'm sure the cards will be very expensive and require loads of power.

Puiu Puiu said:

They should at least try to improve them a bit more than just single digit gains. At least that way people won't say that they're the same.

klpowell said:

nVidia has always drove me nuts with their rebranding. I have always like nVidia products better than ATI and always recommeneded them in the past, but at this point I can not keep up with what is what and have just started to not use their products. The time and research nessecary to find which product is what is not work the time on my part.

walliot walliot said:

This rebranding is really pissing off enthusiasts. I think most readers here will know that geforce 200 series dates back to the geforce 8800.

While we're getting angry with this stuff, I am not too surprised to know that a lot of cunsumers less educated in computers are being ripped off my thinking a Geforce 9600gt is better than a 8800gt, which is sad...

Can't believe that Nvidia has to resort to this after failing to get fermi out in time.

compdata compdata, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Nice job passing the blame :-p Of course they benefit as well from the rebranding, so i am sure they are not too upset.

Wolfanoz Wolfanoz said:

Nvidia is running damage control right now with the runaway success of AMD. In all aspects, however. We all win in the long run with one or the other quickly dropping prices on high quality GPU's.

Guest said:

How can you trust the word of a liar? With the past solder bumping fiaso and denial of fault then shirking responsibility and leaving customers hanging out to dry globally, you still want to beleive these people?

Vrmithrax Vrmithrax, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Pretty typical response, actually. I'm not surprised in the least that nVidia is trying to deflect the blame to the manufacturers. It's really quite funny though, because if nVidia actually had produced some new products in a timely manner, rather than falling behind while cementing their Fermi and mobile platforms, those manufacturers wouldn't have NEEDED some rebranded crap to try to keep their nVidia GPU lines selling.

Still, you have to admire the big swinging brass balls of nVidia, blaming a huge marketing black eye on the companies that directly buy their chips and build the products that end up in consumer hands. They obviously care more about their reputation than their relationships with their OEM customers.

Deso said:

hahahaha "Nvidia, helppp we are victims of OEM's (((((((((((, they made us do it we are good honesy company (((("

thebluemeaner said:

Whatever it is, the truth is that Nvidias offerings still compete in the market place, old or new technology.

TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

What a load of crap. Nvidia is on the ropes right now and they know it - they're doing anything they can to maintain a market share.

elroacho72 said:

I think if I made video cards, and Dell (or any other manufacturer) came to me and asked to rename a card so I could sell them a boatload of product--making them and myself more revenue--then I would say heck yeah. It's a no-brainer. If the quality remains consistent, or improves, then there is really no reason to whine. It's capitalism. Deal with it.

Vrmithrax Vrmithrax, TechSpot Paladin, said:

elroacho72 said:

I think if I made video cards, and Dell (or any other manufacturer) came to me and asked to rename a card so I could sell them a boatload of product--making them and myself more revenue--then I would say heck yeah. It's a no-brainer. If the quality remains consistent, or improves, then there is really no reason to whine. It's capitalism. Deal with it.

It's also deceptive, which is why the backlash is occurring. In your scenario, nVidia could have said "no, we'll just tweak the current numbering scheme to show that they are newer, but NOT in a whole new class (300s)" if they truly wanted to be transparent to the consumers. The OEMs did not twist their arm, they willingly made up a whole tier of part numbers that make it look like they are new tech, when it's just the previous tech. Which is what has consumers up in arms, it's like a slap in the face.

The least nVidia could do is own up to their own decisions, instead of trying to deflect it on their OEM customers. Instead of "they made me do it" and hiding behind their skirts, they could step up and say "yah, we decided there was more profit in going this way" and move on. Honest greed is more respectable than sidestepping the consequences of your actions.

MrAnderson said:

I say "So What," yet again... granted, I do see that it is a good idea to keep our eyes on them so they do not really step out of line. Oh and granted, it makes good news and sparks heated commentary.

Nevertheless, if you think about it, they need to do this when consumer perception of products can have an unjustified negative affect on sales of good products. Aligning the products they are offering for all segments is in everyone's best interest. The OEMs understand this and I believe Nvidia does too (even though they crack under the PR pressure and shift blame to OEM). This practice can be explained logically and it would be in the best interest to all that Nvidia, AMD, and any other firm educates the consumer about why this market practice is necessary. (geez we have seen Nvidia spin other information this is a time when that could be put to good use.)

First, at the time when the G92 was originally put on the market, we praised the design. It even won awards in various engineering circles. Even so, these are not the same G92s that are sitting in some warehouse unsold and are repackaged; I would raise hell with you if that was the case, but let's give Nvidia some credit. Rehashed chip designs are not bad when they are still competitive. They are remanufactured with modern practices. They are built with better materials that were not present when the design was originally implemented. This has allowed the designs to be more power efficient, produce less heat, and tweaked to offer even more performance than any of the originals could in the same amount of die-space. They cost less to manufacture and are cheaper for us to purchase, making it a win for all.

Whether the above justifies the need to align all their selling products under updated branding is arguable. However, it is logical and healthier for the market. It is more manageable to market a set of related products under one naming convention in order to provide a range of functionality at different levels. If any one reads the bullet points on the boxes, the features are outlined; there are no misrepresentations there (or else we would have a big problem). The old marketing of "Series" numbers to assume a complete redesign is obviously over. It is now representative of a heterogeneous line of products that contain generational enhanced designs by advances in manufacturing and (perhaps soon to be award winning) new designs that push modern manufacturing to its limits.

The question is, are we getting a competitive product in the market segment of our choice? This is a costly industry and newer tech trickles down most of the time. Did Nvidia and AMD bring the new tech to the masses early? Yes they did, but that was when cost and benefit allowed them too.

We have to change the way we think by taking the initiative to compare products - and the firms need to enlighten us and stop cracking under PR pressure. Changing consumer perception by helping them understand what products are being offered is in best interest.

paynetrain007 said:

And thats why I don't buy PC's I build them myself.

LightHeart said:

Deceptive

I believe it's a deceptive practice at best, even if OEM's ask for it. If Nvidia wants to clear the air they can keep a chart of all there video cards with the brand and specs, side by side so you can really see what is what. Of course we still need to validate the information. Why can't a manufacturer just make a good product and stand by it instead of trying to trick people?

ET3D, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I think that NVIDIA made a mistake no making the 210-240 a new family in the first place. 310-340 makes more sense since they offer new functionality in the form of DirectX 10.1.

I must say that regardless of branding, people will be confused. Just the other day I talked to someone who had a problem with his small DX10 test program, and I quickly discovered that he was trying to create a DX10.1 device on a GeForce 260 (or maybe it was 275). When I told him the card didn't support it he just couldn't believe it. "But it's a high end NVIDIA card," he said. I had to explain that high end NVIDIA cards didn't support 10.1, only the low end ones did. I don't think this mistakes comes from branding, rather from a belief that if there's some feature available somewhere (like on ATI cards), than the high end cards will have it.

dividebyzero dividebyzero, trainee n00b, said:

I believe it's a deceptive practice at best, even if OEM's ask for it.

True

If Nvidia wants to clear the air they can keep a chart of all there video cards with the brand and specs, side by side so you can really see what is what.

Presumeably this will continue to be updated at new SKU's come into the retail channel, but bear in mind that the G3xx series are OEM only so to buy one to upgrade an existing OEM product (Acer/HP/Compaq/Asus/Dell etc...) the onus will fall upon the OEM to keep the customer informed.....oh dear

Why can't a manufacturer just make a good product and stand by it instead of trying to trick people?

Business ethics = oxymoron

See also: nVidia and AMD mobile GPU naming conventions.

seefizzle said:

I am a huge nerd and I find it terribly hard trying to keep up with all of the names of CPU's and GPU's. I would have a hard time telling anyone the difference between the various lines of products offered. Especially with Nvidia and Intel.

I wish they'd just follow a more easily recognized pattern. The higher the number the better. The fewest names of products as possible. This sort of thing.

Zenphic said:

Rebranding per say is fine with me, but it gets really confusing when PC makers start selling Nvidia GPUs with the new names, like for certain Dell systems. It's even worse on notebooks as they don't seem to follow the same naming scheme as desktop GPUs.

Anyway, I don't think it's the first time Nvidia has blamed OEMs.lol

mrtraver said:

Regardless of whether it is the OEMs or the GPU companies driving this, it is deceitful to the average consumer, who tend to think the bigger the number, the better the product. Clock speed wars, anyone? Even tech-minded consumers who do their research before buying have difficulty following this.

I have to go now, so I can upgrade my my 2+ year old 8800GT with a brand-new OEM GTS240.

Yoda8232 said:

Blah blah blah, Nvidia is going down and they know it. These Fermi's BETTER live up to it's pace or ATI is going to RUN THEM OVER.

UT66 said:

Don't blame it on sunshine

Don't blame it on moonlight

Don't blame it on good times

Blame it on the Nvidia

I just can't

I just can't

I just can't control my feet

This magic music grooves me

That dirty rhythm moves me

The devil's gotten to me

Through this dance

Don't blame it on sunshine

Don't blame it on moonlight

Don't blame it on good times

Blame it on the Nvidia

techsp10 said:

I don't know what happen to nVidia now....

dividebyzero dividebyzero, trainee n00b, said:

For all you blind followers of the saintly AMD....

AMD proudly announce the ALL NEW*, DX10.1 capable HD 500v mobility series

[link]

AMD product pages here:

[link]

[link]

[link]

* All new as in rebranded HD 4xxx series parts

As I posted a couple of months back in this same thread...

Business ethics = oxymoron

See also: nVidia and AMD mobile GPU naming conventions.

AMD seem quite keen on maintaining their run of profitable financial quarters.

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