Nvidia’s Founders Edition graphics cards have certainly ruffled a few feathers over the past year. Add-in Board (AIB) partners are understandably a little bit miffed Nvidia is eating into their profits. From Nvidia’s point of view this is a way to cut out the middle-man from the supply chain and reap greater direct profits from its graphics cards. Not only do they get their Founders Editions out first but they also charge PC gamers extra for the privilege of buying it earlier.
Nvidia’s tactic is treading a fine line between competition and profiteering in the eyes of AIB partners however, and it turns out this affecting the bottom line of GPU suppliers from Taiwan and China already. According to Digitimes this includes Asustek Computer, Gigabyte, MSI, Palit, Zotac and Colorful, all of whom are allegedly being impacted by Nvidia’s increased sales and profits from its Founders Edition graphics cards.
According to DigiTimes’ sources however, there is going to be no change from Nvidia for the time being. In fact, the increased sales and profits from GeForce Founders Editions has allegedly strengthened Nvidia’s resolve on the matter. Nvidia wants to position the Founders Editions as the high-end PC gamers’ choice, encouraged by 43% of GPU market revenue coming from high-end graphics card sales. It’s not hard to see from looking at pricing structures that there are no doubt fantastic margins on the top end GTX graphics cards compared to the lower-end, aided by the enthusiast gamers who are willing to pay over the odds for the best possible experience.
This renewed focus on its GeForce Founders Editions does leave Nvidia in an interesting position. AIB partners aren’t liable to forgo making their own cards entirely but it is surely an encouragement to cosy up with AMD a little more. Of course market forces demand it will surely go the other way as well; AIB partners increasing their competitive advantage with cheaper prices and faster overclocks on their GeForce models. That will certainly be Nvidia's official line on the matter - You're free to make a better card if you want.
How do you think the Founders Edition trend is going to shake out for Nvidia? Will AIB partners ever abandon ship? Have you bought an FE graphics card? Let us know what you think!