This is going to sound like a weird topic but I'll divulge into a little history first:
Everyone remembers the days of the GeForce 256. They destroyed Voodoo and proceeded to monopolize the market. Everyone was upset at Nvidia because they took advantage of their position as king and had ridiculous prices on cards like the GeForce 2 GTS and GeForce 3 Ti200. Then ATI humbled them with the 9700 Pro, which proceeded to destroy everything in its path.
At that time, ATI said, "Hey we're the best but we're not going to abuse it". The 9500 Pro, 9500 Non Pro and later revisions of the R300 had affordable price segments but the 9700 Pro remained "affordable".
When ATI's R600 failed to answer or when it was even latent to begin with, people expressed doubts that the market would be affordable if Nvidia had a dominant presence. Well, they've had the lead in most of the price segments for almost a year now and it's only been getting better.
Sure, the 8600 series left a lot to be desired, but so did the 2600 series from ATI. Now it seems like Nvidia's cleaning up. The 8800GS leaking tests, the 8800GT, the 8800GTS G92 are affordable cards that put out amazing numbers. I guess I'm a little with Nvidia right now because next week I'm buying a $220 card that has 512mb of memory and can max out any game I throw at it. The last time I could make a purchase of that note was when I bought a Sapphire X800GTO2 for $180, but that required me flashing the BIOS and over-clocking it to achieve the results.
Don't get me wrong... ATI's not getting beaten to a pulp, but let's be honest here. AMD/ATI are taking a pretty disastrous turn this season. The Phenom is 15% slower than Core 2 Quad and isn't compatible with most AM2 boards like promised. They have literally no answer to the GTX. The 3850 and 3870 are great cards though, but I honestly feel Nvidia COULD if they wanted, dominate the price segment $300-upward and hike prices, but they're not. Even with no answer to the 8800GT, GTS G92 or GTX, the prices are only getting better.
I don'y know, I see your point but ATI is forcing NV to put out sub $250 cards as they (ATI) have often had the best card in that price range. And on the high end, NV has basically stayed still for over a year, with only the ultra to add to the GTX in case R600 was competitive. I don't blame them for this, but it's not us they are looking after. The 8800GS isn't a gift to us out of generosity either, NV sees a need to compete with the 3850 that many folks consider the best bang for the buck right now. You think NV liked seeing reviews showing the 3850 destroying their 8600GTS in direct one on one comparison? http://www.anandtech.com/video/showdoc.aspx?i=3151&p=8
I guess I'm a little with Nvidia right now because next week I'm buying a $220 card that has 512mb of memory and can max out any game I throw at it.
No card out there can max out crysis, so don't get too disappointed if your upcoming $220 card struggles in that one.
I honestly feel Nvidia COULD if they wanted, dominate the price segment $300-upward and hike prices, but they're not. Even with no answer to the 8800GT, GTS G92 or GTX, the prices are only getting better.
And while NV does dominate the high end, their own 8800GT and ATI's 3870 have caused GTX and Ultra sales to slow down drastically. So I doubt they can hike those prices at all and keep buyers, not even with Tri-SLI marketing. And one answer ATI does have to the GTX is dual 3850's, that have been shown to match the 8800GTX at times for less than $350. http://www.anandtech.com/video/showdoc.aspx?i=3151&p=10
Personally the first card ive ever owned was an nvidia Gefore MX 440, i knew nothing about GFX cards back then and was happy it could play Age of Mythology and RoN.
Soon i got my own "gaming computer" with another Nvidia FX5700LE could play UR 2k4 quite nicely(on medium)
Once i started to understand more about computer and graphics card i bought a 6600GT which after reading a ton of reviews was the best for the money years ago $250 i couldnt max out settings but it was sure as hell better then the FX,
The next card i bought when updating my computer was ATI because i wanted to see what ATI had to offer, going with the X800XL(which to this day still works, mind you) great card love it, still love it, maxed out BF 2 60FPS no problems. at $280 i was still playing the Mid range segment
Next i would go back to Nvidia's loving arms with the 7900GT for $270 now this i had a real debate, Nvidia or ATI the 7900GT or the X1900
both were going for near the same price and i took up reading many reviews in the end i choose nvidia because i figured 24 pipelines beat 16 pipelines(48 shader or "unreal" didnt mean much to me at the time)
After going threw all those Nvidia Midrange cards, and ONE ATI, i finally wanted a High-end to end it all, and low and behold the 8800GTX comes out.
In all my years i think is has been a struggle in the midrange with Nvidia and ATI almost offering similar performance(MINUS the FX series blasphemy on Nvidia!) and now with card like the 8800GTS 512mb going for $320 and offering performance that matches or wins over the 8800GTX you'd be insane to buy a 8800GTX now. Lets not forget the 8800GT cream of the crop whips any game and gives supberb performance with a 512mb and how much? why only $250(at selected stores)
ATI last offering the HD 3870 only go to show how horrible the 2900XT was and how at a $400 price tag they offered it as a High-end where Nvidia held king, now they didnt debunk them unfortunately; because of the limited number of TAU's and ROPS and the huge performance dive when AA enabled.
Now its all quite insane with the Mid-range market with prices around 200-300 and offering insane performance i think we are in a rare time where the Mid-range market actually performance near the high-end and the price is just right both from ATI and Nvidia.
Now it the biggest question who wins the mid-range? Nvidia with the 8800GT 512mb/256mb and the 8800GTS 512mb or ATI with its lastest offering HD 3850/HD 3870. Both are competeting in the same area but sadly we see ATI lose to Nvidias offering 8800GT only way for them to win is to under cut Nvidia by Price with the HD 3870, Which sadly isnt happening when you see a HD 3870 for $270 at newegg and the 8800GT going for that same price, your going to choose the 8800GT if your sensible.
We'll see how long Nvidia can hold the Mid-range and even High-end Crown. ATI/AMD(DAAMIT) is deep in trouble and now fincial woes seeing as thier stocks are hitting all time lows(7$ i believe for AMD stock?)
Whereas Nvidia are recording record sales it be interesting to see where this is all going to go!
It is definitely a weird situation, and I suspect it is borne out of the inability of ATI to compete at the high end. If the architectures were more evenly matched, both companies would have cards stretching up to the expensive high end, with carefully designed gaps in performance between the different price segments.
However, because ATI is forced to compete in the mid-range, so nVidia is forced to battle them there. The 3870 was obviously a concern to nVidia so they pre-empted it with the 8800GT - which as pauldh says made the 8800GTX far less palatable.
I was impressed with GeForce 256, 1st so-called GPU.
I was impressed with nForce and nForce 2, they are good (especially the onboard audio...), though they were having some problem with USB...
I was impressed with GeForce 4 Ti 4200, it was still a good card before the arrival of GeForce 6 series.
I was impressed with GeForceFX 5800, with it heat generation...
I was impressed with GeForce 7600GT, it was fast enough to out-perform GeForce 6800 series...
I was impressed with GeForce 8800GT, it is still the best
Price/Performance card in the world...
In my building history Nvidia has always impressed me over ATI. My very first card was a Voodoo 200 i think it was, that was way back in 1999 so i cant remember the exact model number. All I know is that it allowed me to play Half Life and Doom 2 at the time, lol. My second machine had a Geforce ti 300 i think it was and that card to this day is still ticking in that old 2001 Dell i have in the den. On my third i seen what Voodoo could do and what Nvidia could do so i bit the bullet and went ATI and got a 9800Pro. Worse move i ever made. Now i'm not a ATI basher and i can only speak from experience but the card simply hated me. When i went to update it's drivers the card basically refused to accept any updates that were not the origial drivers that came with the card. When i forced a driver install my screen resolution was taken down to 800 x 600 and stayed there, my system would give me "you don't have enough memory to perform this operation" errors and "open GL not found" errors when trying to play games. I had to completely remove the new drivers and install the old drivers off teh disc for my machine to go back to normal. It was that day i said never again to ATI. I dealt with the card for another year after that till it decided to commit suicide on me and fail so i went back to my old friend Nvidia and got a 6600GT and it was a dream. Stable drivers, no issues and ran pefect. My 5th card was a Nvidia 7800GT back in 2005. Again another stable card that ran perfect with no flaws till a lil bully named Crysis came along and deemed it no longer worthy, lol. So now 2 years later on my new build i have a 8800GTX and again, i am impressed by it.
ATI's issue is that for the last 2 years they have no direction. Maybe there are some internal issues happening when they merged with AMD or whatever the case may be but they are simply not churning out the better product like Nvidia is. Yea some Nvidia cards may be over priced but do they perform? Yes. And on the flip side of things AMD are starting to fall behind as well to Intel. I think these two companies decided to form together to become a united front to kill thier competition but it didnt work out to well cause i think they are just hurting each other. I remember back when AMD/ATI first got together there were talks that AMD would be the first to release a CPU with an internal GPU within it. To this date none of that is close to happening.
ATI needs to look at the Nvidia model and just remodel their whole structure. Focus purely on gpu technology and not try to pump out hardware at the same time, let third party manafactures worry about all that stuff. 5 years from now i can see ATI going the way of Voodoo and 3DFX though i doubt Nvidia would buy them out cause i dont think AMD will part with it's sicking ship.
Well if you're talking about the high end nvidia ultra ..... not being matched by ATI .... did you really want an extremely overpriced " $850.00 " so called high end ... weak and lame card to be produced by ATI ? I'm just glad ATI did'nt rip consumers off as nvidia did with some of those lousey cards . ATI brought out 2 .... 3850 and the 3870 they work in both worlds ... gaming and good at graphics programs .... nvidia brought out many .... with only about 2 that were half ass*d descent .... one that was good . I guess if one does'nt mind sifting through the trash to get a descent buy and wasting bucu bucks .... buy only from nvidia .
It does seem that nvidia are just spitting out lots of cards with small increments so people say "Oh hey for another $20 i can get this one, and then another 20 i can get this one, then this one..." which i try to stop myself doing. I personally have a 3850 and sure crysis and other uber games would probably make it cry in the foetal position but it runs cod4 fine and all that jazz. My point is that because nvidia have such a cascade of cards, how do we know that the current 8800gtx price ISNT a rip off? what have we to compare it to? i mean i speak out of much ignorance here i havent bought a computer (apart from the one i just did) for about 1.5 years so im a bit out of the loop, my past two cards have been a 7600gs and a geforce 4 ti 4200 so im only now an ATI man.
I always appreciate the different view points that are posted... I'm pretty neutral when it comes to the companies.. Sometimes the consumer (us little guys ) forget that no matter if it's Intel, AMD, Microsoft etc.. They all are trying to make money with the biggest profits they can scrounge from us!! The way people defend them it makes me wonder if we need to have an auto disclaimer filled in at the bottom of our post's.. Unless you of course work for them ; P My favorite still is people arguing the difference between 103fps and 110fps.. I'm like everyone else, I want the best bang for my buck.. I'm starting to think some of you guys have mechanical eyes that can see the difference in these details... Happy Holidays