NVidia GPP Suspicion, Feat. Gigabyte Gaming Box
About a week ago we wrote up a nice article about NVidia’s new GeForce partner program (NVidia GPP for short) and some suspicion surrounding whether or not it’s anti-consumer and anti-competitive. Potentially even illegal. While going through some of my news feeds I noticed something rather unique regarding Radeon, Gigabyte, and NVidia, and it raised some more suspicion for me. First some backstory in case you missed the previous article, then we will get into the evidence. Feel free to skip the next paragraph if you already have been following this story.
The NVidia GPP, as claimed by NVidia is all about consumer transparency, they don’t want gamers to be confused buying two cards that look identical and have similar branding, but one is Radeon and one is NVidia. This, in itself, is understandable in some aspects. What was quite odd though was the original report about this from HardOCP claimed this GPP had a massive incentive for companies that signed up including early access to hardware, engineering support, and more, making it almost a requirement to compete in the NVidia GPU space. The report also claimed NVidia was forcing AIBs that signed up to align their gaming brand exclusively with NVidia, the example of Asus ROG was given (no evidence of Asus signing up has been shown yet though, just an example). We also know some AIBs have already signed up, we don’t know who, but NVidia said in their blog post AIBs were signing up fast.
Now for the juicy bit, I was reading an article about the new Gigabyte Gaming Box featuring the Radeon RX580 8GB, it’s an eGPU enclosure that runs through Thunderbolt, and an important note, Gigabyte includes the GPU with the box, it’s not one you add a card to later. Gigabyte has already released various Aorus Gaming Boxes with NVidia GPUs in them, this is the first for AMD though. You may have noticed something about that last sentence, I used the branding Aorus when talking about the NVidia stuff. The Aorus Gaming Boxes are branded using the Aorus name, along with the Aorus name physically on the product. Despite the Gigabyte Gaming Box being identical, it’s branded with Gigabyte branding, no Aorus in sight.
For me this is a bit concerning as it’s potentially evidence of two things, first, the GPP requiring gaming brands to align with NVidia exclusively (not ones with the word gaming but specific brands), second, Gigabyte may already be signed up with the GPP. Keep in mind Aorus is a huge gaming lineup, and has included a lot of Radeon and AMD products in the past. So it’s certainly concerning that Gigabyte has suddenly changed the nomenclature for their Gaming Box lineup when it features AMD GPUs instead. This could be a big deal, and in my mind is strong evidence of GPP influence.
If the GPP requires companies to align large gaming brand exclusively with NVidia on the GPU front, this is a big issue. It wouldn’t be so bad if it were smaller lineups (although in my mind still not acceptable), but now we’re seeing it may be all-encompassing brands such as Aorus, ROG, etc… We will continue to investigate and follow the GPP and report back as information is found.