Editors Note: Over the next few weeks we’ll be publishing the Bumpgate Series with some additional commentary, updates and information. We are reprinting some of the often referenced articles that originally appeared on the Inquirer. Some will have added content, but all will be re-edited from the originals as per contractual obligations. You may see some slight differences between the two versions.
This article has had some of the original links removed, and was published on Monday, February 23, 2009 at 03:48AM.
IT IS ALWAYS funny when an unethical company turns on it’s own supporters as Nvidia just did with the latest ‘all new’ GT250 cards. This time however, their PR stunts crossed the line from unethical to purposely false, and hilarity ensues.
What are we talking about? The re-branding of the venerable G92, aka the 8800GT, 9800GT, 9800GTX, 9800GTX+, and several other variants as the GTS250. The NDA goes up on the third of March 2009, and we have complete scores, but there is literally no difference between that and the older G92 cards. We will save you from having to pour over spreadsheets scratching your head wondering how it is different, it isn’t, whatsoever.
The new parts are 55nm, just like the old. The clocks aren’t different, nothing from a user perspective is different, other than the card losing 9550, an X and a +. Oh yeah, they are jacking up the price for the stupid as well.
Nvidia however is desperate to make this seem like something new. Sales are in the toilet, chips canceled, and 40nm parts are looking unhealthy. Turd polishing time. Enter the marketeers, but they have a problem, some sites are, *GASP*, honest, and will print the truth. Nvidia has this allergic reaction to the truth, and tries to change how it is presented at every turn.
This time however, they crossed the line from plausible denial-ability to flat out deception. In the middle of last week we heard what Nvidia was up to this time around, but just couldn’t believe they would be THAT sleazy. A day or so later, HardOCP published a story about Nvidia stock ‘plummeting’, basically an indignant backhand for being cut out of the GTS250’s launch. Point one confirmed. The rest soon followed.
Just what are the green fumblers doing this time? Two things, one bad, the other straight out deception. The bad one is simple, if you don’t review Nvidia cards and say that PhysX is the greatest thing since sliced bread and CUDA makes sex better, you aren’t doing a good enough job. They will gently nudge you to change your tune to praise PhysX and CUDA until you wear the letters off your keyboard.
By gently nudge we mean bluntly threaten, and by bluntly we mean not bluntly at all. Competence would help, as would the carrot and stick approach, but Nvidia doesn’t like carrots. They just threaten. Kyle made the mistake of being honest, so it is doghouse time for him, and the site. Welcome to the club, we even have a fort. I assume you got the list of who got cut too, so you know we will have quite big name company soon. Punch and pie.
So, short story, Nvidia dislikes honesty, and since they have no new product, they are afraid of that particular trait. If you didn’t drool over PhysX and CUDA enough, you are cut out. This is exactly what Apple does to keep the press in line, but Apple has something Nvidia doesn’t, competence.
If that wasn’t bad enough, the next part is. Normally, when a vendor cuts you out, if you really care, you can go to one of their partners and get boards/chips/whatever. Sometimes this is a better idea because one or two tend to have a special card, overclocked, shiny metal cooler, or box with bigger breasts on the model. This time Nvidia specifically forbade partners from giving sites parts if they were on honesty hiatus.
Not only that, but the part which is flat out dishonesty is that Nvidia gave the board partners ‘special’ boards to send to reviewers. They are not allowed to give out their own vanilla cards, they MUST use the special set supplied by Nvidia.
Why is this dishonest? Want to bet that those boards have cherry picked chips and RAM that clocks to the moon? That they will do everything better than any card you will ever be able to buy? Basically, Nvidia supplied ringers to the press that are not representative of what you can buy, and forced OEMs to give them to review sites without telling them. The technical term is ‘mushrooming’, feed them [scatological reference] and keep them in the dark.
Remember now, this is the same 55nm G92 that you have been able to buy for 6+ months, there is NO difference between that and the 9800GTX+. Nvidia has to show a difference to avoid their fanboi fleecing scheme from tanking, so they are stacking the reviews.
They cut out anyone they thought would be critical and gave the rest cards that are nothing like what anyone can buy. They shut up OEMs, and forced them to give out cards that weren’t really going to be sold on the shelves or at etailers. If they don’t, well, you can always cut them out of the next round.
This behavior on Nvidia’s part is not only unethical, but it is purposefully dishonest. They are knowingly giving out parts that are not representative of retail pieces, and doing so without telling the reviewers. Readers won’t know, sites may or may not know, and in general, it hurts everyone but Nvidia. Unless the word gets out, then hilarity ensues. Spread the word guys, and don’t trust any of the upcoming reviews where the part was not purchased at retail.S|A