Update: HardOCP just posted a more complete analysis of the Nvidia cards it purchased from Best Buy.
Enthusiast site HardOCP reported last night about its purchase of two Nvidia-branded graphics cards from a local Best Buy. This is news.
Previously, Nvidia has been a maker only of graphics chips, leaving its partners like EVGA, ASUS, PNY, and others to handle the business of building the chips into graphics cards, and packaging and selling them at retail. It seems Nvidia has decided to change that relationship.
Nvidia's technical marketing director, Nick Stam, confirmed for us this morning that what HardOCP found is indeed part of a new strategy. In an exclusive partnership with Best Buy, Nvidia is now selling boxed graphics cards "built and supported by Nvidia" at retail. The card selection is limited for now to the midrange GeForce GTX 460 and the GeForce GTS 450, although those cards represent the most profitable $125 to $250 sweet spot of the retail graphics card business.
We've asked Nvidia's board partners for comment, but it seems unlikely that they would be happy with Nvidia's plans.