Club3D has been producing graphics cards under license for both Nvidia and AMD for a number of years, but now the company has announced that it is dropping the licence to produce Geforce graphics cards, moving exclusively to AMD.
Its a very strange market these days with products cropping up that only offer incremental improvements and few reasons to queue up at the door to get one. An example is the next generation of Nvidia graphics cards. The Geforce 700 series doesn’t change things that much and only offers minor performance bumps over previous-generation cards, as is the case with the jump from, the GTX680 to the GTX770.
Club3D was one of Nvidia’s partners and produced a wide range of cards from the Geforce 200 all the way to the Geforce 600 series. As a value-add board partner, it mostly stuck to Nvidia reference designs and only changed the cooler design when possible. Many of their Nvidia products are clocked at reference speeds and have no custom board layouts, allowing them to drop prices lower than bigger name brands like ASUS and MSI.
Now they have rather abruptly cut their ties with Nvidia in a notice sent out to the press.
Judith Ma Tseng, Club3D’s CEO, said of the move; “we are showing our commitment to AMD because we believe that AMD is ideally positioned to deliver a complete solution to our customers, and after 16 years in the business offering solutions from a variety of processor partners, we truly believe that we can offer a better solution going forward with AMD alone.”
“With products like the Radeon HD 7990 Dual GPU, Club3D has a long-standing reputation for delighting enthusiasts with spectacular products based on AMD Radeon graphics chips,” said Zvika Greenstein, Director of Desktop Product Management, AMD Graphics. “Their decision to join AMD as an exclusive hardware partner is a powerful acknowledgement of our leadership in the graphics space, and a tremendous contribution to the technical expertise in the AMD Radeon graphics ecosystem.”
Its an major turn-around for a company that used to be a great value brand for Nvidia, pushing along cards for budget buyers and competing against Inno3D, Palit and PNY. But one by one, Nvidia’s partners are slipping away. Whether that’s because they’re dissatisfied with the way overclocking and overvolting are now hamstrung, or that Nvidia gives partners like ASUS, Gigabyte and MSI free reign over designs and custom cards and special preference, it’s still a loss for the company and for consumers.
In 2008, several board partners were shortlisted to leave Nvidia. The company wanted less players in the market to divide consumer spending power so they could earn more profit. EVGA, Zotac, BFG, PNY, XFX, Gainward, Biostar, ECS, Albatron and Club3D were part of the shortlist.
BFG, sadly, went out of business in 2010 after Nvidia had their license to produce dedicated Physx cards revoked and the company made losses on every card they sold. Their assets were bought up by Best Data and its subsidiary Diamond Multimedia. The latter company now produces stock AMD graphics cards for sale in retail chains like Best Buy, WalMart and Fry’s in the USA.
XFX, one of the most popular brands in Europe, defected to AMD. Albatron also caved in and no longer exists. Elitegroup Computer Systems (ECS) now sticks to motherboards.
Club3D hasn’t said if they’re going to continue to support customers with warranties or if they’re going to drop prices to clear out stock. Their move to AMD is a troubling one for Nvidia, especially if other, stronger partners decide to leave as well.