While enthusiasts and gamers shouldn't have any trouble finding what they're looking for on NVIDIA's and ATI's websites, neophytes with no gaming ambitions will feel a bit lost there. It will take some hunting around the site before these users will be able to find the products more or less suited to their needs. In our opinion it would help if the companies restructured the pages so they are more clear, perhaps by differentiating by target audience and/or using a selection wizard that guides potential customers through the selection process.
The graphics cards makers, which produce the cards based on the chips produced by NVIDIA and ATI, often satisfy themselves with listing all their products on one page with no further information. Again, this means the customer needs to know exactly what he's looking for in advance. The only differentiation tends to be between ATI or NVIDIA products; they effectively rely on ATI and NVIDIA to educate their customers.
To be fair, users would face similar problems on Intel's website as well. Then again, Intel doesn't have to try to convince the customer to spend another $60 to get a better graphics solution than the integrated GMA 900...
The Right Card For The Right Task
So what types of graphics cards are available on the market today? The deciding factor when choosing a new graphics card should always be its intended use. Will the system be used only for office work, browsing the Internet and email, or will it also need to run the latest games? Which video features does the card really need? Our THG Graphics Buyer's Guide will help you find answers to these questions, and to many others as well. Below, we'd like to offer a short (though not complete) overview of the different usage categories and what the various graphics card makers offer for each one.