XFX, the long-time manufacturer of NVIDIA-based graphics cards and motherboards, announced that it is now an official AMD technology partner. Starting early next year, XFX will no longer be exclusive to NVIDIA. Instead, the company will also begin selling AMD Radeon HD 4000 series graphics cards alongside its NVIDIA lineup.
According to Rick Bergman, senior vice president and general manager of AMD's Graphics Products Group, “In the world of PC gaming, XFX is synonymous with the extreme performance that enthusiasts crave. Their decision to partner with AMD and launch AMD GPU-based XFX graphics cards, including the ATI Radeon HD 4870 X2, widely regarded as the world’s fastest graphics card by technology enthusiasts around the world, speaks to the level of excellence achieved by the ATI Radeon HD 4000 series.”
Lets take a second to review current market offerings from NVIDIA and AMD to see exactly where the two companies stand at the moment. Please find below a chart comparing current prices and estimated Futuremark scores of a select few performance graphics cards. As of December 16, 2008, the AMD Radeon HD 4870 X2 graphics card ranked highest on Futuremark's list of Top Performance Graphics Cards. Although Futuremark's estimated graphics scores may not be the best representation of a particular graphics card's performance, it is a popular means of doing so.
|Graphics Card||Price atNewegg.com||Futuremark Estimated Graphics Score||Performance to Price Ratio|
|MSI Geforce GTX 280 /w 1 GB||$329 (opens in new tab)after $40 MIR||11272||34.16|
|XFX Geforce GTX 280 /w 1 GB||$359 (opens in new tab)after $50 MIR||11272||31.31|
|EVGA Geforce GTX 260 Core 192||$219 (opens in new tab)||8231||37.41|
|XFX Geforce GTX 260 Core 216||$259 (opens in new tab)||8231||31.66|
|Sapphire Radeon HD 4870 X2 /w 2 GB||$469 (opens in new tab)after $20 MIR||13977||29.74|
|Sapphire Radeon HD 4870 /w 512 MB||$179 (opens in new tab)after $20 MIR||8428||46.82|
The AMD Radeon HD 4870 X2 is shown to offer the greatest performance, but it also comes with a premium price tag. The AMD Radeon HD 4870 has the best performance to price ratio, but the selected version used in this comparison comes equipped with only 512 MB of memory, which might be considered unfair. Of course, the Futuremark score does not state how much memory each graphics card is equipped with.
Overall, we see that the Geforce GTX 200 series still manages to offer a high-end performance at competitive prices when including the mail-in rebates. Within this month, NVIDIA is also rumored to be launching its Geforce GTX 295 graphics card, which may help return the performance crown to the company.
Although XFX is not dropping NVIDIA as a partner, the news really does not speak well for NVIDIA. XFX also recently stopped producing NVIDIA-only based motherboards. The company XFX now produces motherboards with Intel chipsets too. XFX might just be expanding its options in the market, but it is not the first exclusive NVIDIA partner in recent months to also start producing AMD-based graphics cards.
NVIDIA posted better than expected third quarter results this year, while still retaining a large market share in the dedicated graphics card market and still having a number of exclusive partners. NVIDIA is also having success in the integrated and mobile graphics market it would seem; beating out Intel in a deal with Apple and featuring its graphics processors in Apple's newest Macbook and Macbook Pro notebooks.