Club3D ditches Nvidia due to restrictions

Club3D GTX670 header

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.

Nvidia Geforce GTX680

Nvidia Geforce GTX780

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.

Source: TechpowerUp

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Forum discussion

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  • Vorastra

    It’s funny that you say that. Nvidia only makes GPU’s and chipsets (Tegra and Mobo’s), yet AMD make CPU’s, Mobo’s and GPU’s as well as Chipsets. Yet Nvidia as a company can almost go toe-to-toe with AMD as a company.

  • Weeman360

    Their biggest mistake was making PhysX for NVidia only, where AMD made their TressFX open to any GFX card

  • Slade Boender

    Wait, why is nVidia a bastard co? Didnt they give folk Bioshock, Tomb Raider (another title but the name escapes me) for just buying one of the 600 series GTX products? 3 (2 of which were really good) Triple A titles for the purchase of a 3k card? Sounds pretty rad to me.

  • Johan du Preez

    You are aware that AMD cards bundle with games as well when i got my 660ti the start of the year i got no games with it although the amd 7750 had borderlands 2 bundled with it.

  • UltimateNinjaPandaDudeGuy

    I am seriously thinking of going AMD for my next card… So this comes at the right time! I myself prefer Sapphire for AMD cards though…


  • Wesley Fick

    You’re thinking of AMD, actually. Nvidia only bundles Metro: Last Light with a select range of cards. They also have a nice free-to-play bundle, but only for buyers in other EMEA regions, the US, Canada and Australia. So they pretty much bundle only Metro.

  • Wesley Fick

    Sapphire’s a good brand and they’re decently priced. Gigabyte and MSI make the best AMD cards, though. The HD7970 Lightning is really good.

  • Wesley Fick

    Nvidia’s in a very strange place right now. On the desktop its doing well and Kepler-based GPUs earn them a fat profit. On the mobile sector, they have a number of design wins and go into a lot of Ultrabooks, not to mention Apple’s Retina Macbook family. They also have Geforce Shield and Tegra and the Tesla and Quadro cards for professionals.

    And that’s about it. The industry is slowly seeing an advancing army of ARM processors promising “good enough” performance for little money and offering good power consumption. Not having a x86 license, Nvidia has jumped into ARM with the Tegra family and that will be their eventual future. In about five year’s time, they’ll be challenging Intel directly for space on the desktop market. That’s a very weird future to imagine and I’m sure it even befuddles Jen-Hsun Huang. That man will be a much bigger force to be reckoned with in the coming years.

  • Vorastra

    I’m sorry but are you saying that the future of desktop lies with ARM ?
    If so may I kindly say, “BURN THE WITCH!”

    On a more serious note, how will Nvidia compete with Intel for desktop market share? Provided you didn’t mean desktops will be shifting to ARM.

  • brbk

    I got far cry 3, borderlands 2 and hitman:absolution with my msi gtx660ti…mmkay…

    Mehbe I are magical

  • Wesley Fick

    Well, look at it this way – ASUS has a Core i5 All-in-One that integrates Windows 8 and Android in the same package. We’ve had something similar with Boot to Linux for years, but it’s not a fully fledged OS like Android. That’s one sign in the direction that part of the desktop market will be taking in the next five to ten years.

    Then you have to look at Intel’s Silvermont. The next-generation of Atom will be used to service the Celeron and Pentium families. Intel is worried about ARM’s efficiency taking hold in the budget desktop market, in addition to its low price. I can order a Raspberry Pi today, get a 16GB SD card and run Raspian off it for my work. I do everything on the internet mostly, so x86 compatibility in that respect is moot. I could also use a Chromebook if I wanted.

    Tegra on the desktop, in that respect, could gain a lot of market share. It provides the same package as AMD’s APUs but now also does things like CUDA and hardware-accelerated Physx on the cheap. If you read through some of Anandtech’s testing with 3D Mark on Android and iOS (, its not an implausible reality. Nvidia can do it within the next five years if they put pedal to the metal. Apple can do it as well, their ARM-based processors in the iPad gain more and more ground with every iteration.

    Additionally, Nvidia has a possible advantage with Tegra in the server space if the opportunity they envision opens up for them. Jen-Hsun has this idea of using Tegra for GPGPU computing. Currently, getting a proper Tesla server running is a massive expense because you mostly have to use Xeon-based servers with enough PCI-E slots. The other option is IBM’s PowerPC or Oracle Sun Server if you are writing the code yourself, in which case you can get more performance out of a PowerPC chip than an Intel x86 design through optimisations.

    But if Nvidia can make a Tegra-based board on the cheap, which enables a host of server-suited technologies and fits in nicely to the CUDA environment and can run a few Tesla GPUs, they have the same sort of package as Intel’s Xeon and Xeon Phi for a lot less with a lot more power. Swap that out for a Tegra system with a few GTX Titans for the consumer and small business space and that’s an even bigger opportunity for them. That’s currently what AMD is doing with Opteron-X APUs for servers. Couple their stuff with a few FirePro cards and watch OpenCL magic happen. CUDA does the same thing, its just better documented.

  • Wesley Fick

    Huh, that is interesting. I never saw anything like that advertised. Well, good job on that, then!

  • Bl1zz4rd

    The lightning cards are awesome, as are Asus’ DirectCU II GPUs.

  • Bl1zz4rd

    Very happy with my Sapphire 7970. It’s a reference card and I have had it since the GPUs released in January last year. Not a single problem.

  • Stan Smith

    I disagree. My 560 ti performs faster than the 6870, I dont know how you can say that there isn’t much difference in performance between 660 ti and 6870…

  • NicoR

    I definitely can. I recently got myself a 7850. Not a single issue with any game. Drivers work 100%.
    And considering the next 10 years of console games will be created to work on AMD hardware, it can only mean good things.
    Make sure to get a 7XXX card, and possibly from a retailer that offers the Never Settle Reloaded bundle. I got Bioshock Infinite, Tomb Raider and Blood Dragon 3. R1000 worth of games, for a R2200 card.

  • NicoR

    This could me offered by MSI only?

  • NicoR

    Nice words there.

    The masses are going for cheap, quick and power efficient devices. I’m sure AMD ticks those boxes.

    AMD really needs to increase is marketing stake in SA.

  • UltimateNinjaPandaDudeGuy

    Free stuff… Sounds good! What retailers over here do that?

  • Mossel

    560ti ftw! Sadly I also might be going amd for the first time ever in the next gen.

  • The Rich

    I bought an HD5970 about two years ago after owning only Nvidia cards for over 10 years. My 5970 hasn’t given me a single day’s problems. Unfortunately the same can’t be said for my Nvidia cards – EVERY SINGLE ONE had MULTIPLE issues (I caps-locked it just to prove that there were MANY haha). Anyway, I’ll never go back to Nvidia – my 5970 has just impressed me that much.

    Oh yes and the driver software by AMD is just that much more stable and easier to install.

  • Wesley Fick

    Wootware and Evetech definitely. All other retailers who have AMD cards should be able to give you the key codes for the free games, but check with them first.

  • NicoR

    I think its only for those stores as indicated on the homepage of the NSR deal. The codes are emailed, so maybe a direct partnership with AMD?

  • Wesley Fick

    Now that we know that Nvidia’s beginning to license out its graphics IP, its possible that this is a part of the reason why Club3D left. If they had to stay, they would have to license the technology to make Nvidia graphics cards in the future which is a cost that brands like ASUS and Gigabyte may be able to make up for, but not a reference reseller like Club3D. Even if that wasn’t the case, its a very interesting coincidence.

  • Jonathan King

    AFAIK it’s only Powercolor who currently provides the Never Settle bundles.