IT IS ALWAYS funny when an unethical company turns on its own supporters as Nvidia did with the latest 'all new' GT250 cards. This time however, their PR stunts cross the line from unethical to purposely false, and hilarity ensues.
What are we talking about? The rebranding 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, and we have complete scores already, but there is no difference between these cards 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 at all.
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 cancelled, 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 opportunity.
This time however, they crossed the line from plausible deniability 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 downright deceptive. 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, basically praise PhysX and CUDA until you wear the letters off your keyboard.
The carrot and stick approach might help here, but Nvidia doesn't like carrots. They just threaten. Kyle at HardOPC made the deal-breaking 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 Kyle got the list of who got cut too, so will know we will have quite big-name company soon joining us soon. Punch and pie.
So, short story, Nvidia is playing with the press once again. And since it has no new product, it is desperately afraid of the truth getting out. And 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 even 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 flat-out dishonesty is that Nvidia gave its 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 deleted] and keep them in the dark.
Remember now, this is the same 55nm G92 that you have been able to buy for six months or more, there is NO difference between that and the 9800GTX+. Nvidia has to show a difference to avoid their new hare-brained branding/stupid 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 were flat out fantasy parts in the hopes that it would generate some good press. If they don't, well, you can always cut them out of the next round.
This behaviour 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 a retail outlet using real money. µ