News came outthat Nvidia has started taking it graphics chips to retail without the help of its traditional board partners. One question among many about this move is how EVGA, Asus, PNY and other vendors have taken to this change, which essentially has them competing for sales revenue against one of their primary suppliers.
Given the nature of their business relationship, we wouldn't expect any of Nvidia's partners to blast them on the record. "No comment," EVGA spokesman Joe Darwin told us when we asked how he felt about the news. "It's something [Nvidia] has always talked about, and now it's finally here."
When asked if EVGA brings any value to its Nvidia-based graphics cards that Nvidia can't offer, Darwin was more expansive.
"Definitely our level of customer service and our programs and our community. All of our tech support is in house, 24-7. There are actual EVGA employees that do the support here; it's not sourced out. They get all the training from our product team. Our RMA service averages two to three days to turn around products coming in to us [for repair]. We haven't seen anyone else that can compete on that level.
Kyle Bennett, editor-in-chief of HardOCP, who first reported the news of Nvidia moving into retail, reported yesterday that the "Platinum Support" offered on Nvidia's retail graphics card packaging goes to "a call center in India that has handled or still does handle Nvidia GPU based video card support calls."
Darwin also offered no comment when asked if Nvidia's new strategy signals anything about its business-at-large.
While EVGA is still in the Nvidia graphics card business, two long-time board partners have recently lost that option. BFG Technologies ceased operations altogether last month, and HardOCP reported yesterday that XFX has lost its status as an approved Nvidia board partner. XFX, ASUS, and others sell AMD (formerly ATI)-based graphics cards as well, but EVGA sells Nvidia-based cards exclusively. Will Nvidia's entrance into retail change EVGA's thoughts on its Nvidia-only graphics card strategy?
"We're going to keep building Nvidia cards, and we're going to keep offering the best service," said Darwin.