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AMD Responds To Nvidia GPP Controversy

In light of the Nvidia GPP controversy, AMD made an official announcement that it remains committed to fair competition and providing consumer choice. In AMD’s own words, the company’s products don’t come with “gamer taxes” and the company doesn’t force its partners into “anti-competitive conditions.”

Late last month, HardOCP published its opinion on a new Nvidia partner program called the GeForce Partner Program (GPP). GPP was launched without much fanfare and slipped under the radar until HardOCP dragged it into the spotlight. The issue quickly developed into a controversy. We posted an explainer on what GPP is, but to summarize: GPP allegedly forces Nvidia graphics card partners, such as Asus, MSI, and others, to create Nvidia-exclusive branding. In practice, that means that partners can’t have product lines that offer both Nvidia and AMD graphics options. For example, under GPP, Asus wouldn’t be able to make AMD graphics cards that carry it’s most well-known brand, ROG.

Initially, much of the talk surrounding GPP remained accusations and speculation. More recently, however, continued silence from Nvidia and branding changes spotted in Asus’, MSI’s, and Gigabyte’s product lines have begun to paint a picture of the anti-competitive nature that underlies GPP. The three Nvidia graphics card partners all removed name branding from their AMD graphics cards. Asus removed its aforementioned ROG branding, MSI cut its “Gaming” moniker, and Gigabyte deleted its Aorus name. Asus was the first to officially announce a new brand for its AMD graphics cards: Arez. Going forward "Arez" will take the place of "ROG" in Asus’ AMD products. We suspect that MSI and Gigabyte will soon follow suit.

AMD has now broken its silence on the matter and issued an official statement. Of course, AMD didn’t mention GPP or Nvidia by name, but it’s clear who this statement targets. Corporate VP of Radeon Gaming at AMD Scott Herkelman said the following with regards to the ongoing controversy.

Over the coming weeks, you can expect to see our add-in board partners launch new brands that carry an AMD Radeon product. AMD is pledging to reignite this freedom of choice when gamers choose an AMD Radeon RX graphics card. These brands will share the same values of openness, innovation, and inclusivity that most gamers take to heart. The freedom to tell others in the industry that they won’t be boxed in to choosing proprietary solutions that come bundled with “gamer taxes” just to enjoy great experiences they should rightfully have access to. The freedom to support a brand that actively works to advance the art and science of PC gaming while expanding its reach.

Herkelman is obviously referring to brands, including Arez, that are created by the add-in board partners out of necessity due to GPP, and not anything resulting from AMD’s own initiatives with those companies. AMD is trying spin the inception of these brands positively, however. As Herkelman notes, brands carrying AMD’s products will carry its pillars of being dedicated to “open innovation,” of “true transparency,” and of “expanding the PC ecosystem.”

As Herkelman rightly points out, AMD does have a decent track record in these departments. The most well-known example is probably FreeSync. Unlike with Nvidia’s G-Sync, which requires proprietary silicon and licensing to implement, FreeSync is part of the standard display protocols in HDMI and DisplayPort. Herkelman also mentions the open-source graphics API Vulkan, a competitor to Microsoft’s DirectX. Vulkan was built upon AMD’s donated Mantle API from 2013.

  • bigpinkdragon286
    Banana Republic Of Gamers
    Reply
  • manleysteele
    For the life of me, I can't figure out how this decision tree by NVidia made it thru the company without someone stopping it in its tracks. It is ridiculous on its face.
    Reply
  • hixbot
    I never really had a problem with gsync, as it is a great feature and Nvidia GPUs are ahead by a mile in performance/watt.
    but I really started to change my mind when I discovered that Display manufacturers are forbidden from adding freesync/vrr to a monitor that has gsync. I'm ok that gsync displays are more expensive, as I understand the tech comes at a cost, but manufacturers should have a right to add freesync as an additional feature. It is insane that a display can't be bought that includes both gsync and freesync. As a consumer this strongly colors my opinion of Nvidia, and not in a good way.
    Reply
  • dudmont
    the genius at NVidia who thought this up, should have his stock options given to homeless bums immediately. GPP is stupid, will backfire, and probably would cost them market share, if AMD had the GPUs to make it happen. As it is, their supply situation sucks, so NVidia will survive this.
    Reply
  • kinggremlin
    Look in the mirror AMD. There's the reason gamers don't have a choice. When was the last time you had single gpu card that traded blows at the highest end without having to make comical ergonomic compromises? The 7970 Ghz? Not coincidently the last AMD/ATi video card I have owned after not owning anyone else going back to the original Radeon.

    Stop over promising, under delivering and wasting time blaming others for your incompetency.
    Reply
  • blppt
    IMO, the problem has never been with the hardware that AMD puts out---my V64 w/c is a beast on paper--its always been about the drivers.

    Comparing hard specs versus the 1080ti FE, is there anything that jumps out at you that would make the 1080ti take the V64 behind the shed and whoop its butt? Sure, the 1080ti has an extra 3GB of framebuffer space, but I don't think there's a single game that struggles with 8GB even at 4K res. Yet, the ti owns the V64 in every single game.

    Drivers, drivers, drivers.
    Reply
  • jaber2
    @MANLEYSTEELE I think it came from the top
    Reply
  • gc9
    @BLPPT ROPs?
    Reply
  • shovelroud
    I would have thought these type of practices violate anti-competition laws in numerous countries?
    When any company leverages its might to restrict another company's trade it should be illegal. History shows that competition breeds innovation and benefits end users as a whole. Got a better product, prove it by performance/price, not by attacking your opposition and restricting their trade.
    Reply
  • kinggremlin
    20894401 said:
    IMO, the problem has never been with the hardware that AMD puts out---my V64 w/c is a beast on paper--its always been about the drivers.

    Comparing hard specs versus the 1080ti FE, is there anything that jumps out at you that would make the 1080ti take the V64 behind the shed and whoop its butt? Sure, the 1080ti has an extra 3GB of framebuffer space, but I don't think there's a single game that struggles with 8GB even at 4K res. Yet, the ti owns the V64 in every single game.

    Drivers, drivers, drivers.

    Even when performance was comparable, their drivers were undeniably awful. It was the norm for them to announce software features that didn't make it into the drivers at release. The final straw for me was a driver update for my 7970 well after release that completely fubar'd multi monitor support for me. All you read on the forums now from AMD fans are how great their drivers are now. I have no idea how true that is, but without a highend competitive card, it doesn't matter to me any more.
    Reply