Yesterday, in a column on ZDNet, Adrian Kingsley-Hughes put forth the idea that nVidia might be on its last legs, as the market is not what it once was.
While I don’t think that is the case, it might be a good thing for the folks at nVidia to get a scare, as they have been getting very sloppy on the writing of drivers, and it is something that should not be happening.
As put forth in the ZDNet article -
And what does NVIDIA have in the pipeline for the near future … hmmm, not much. A series of technical issues, combined with what appears from the sidelines as a high degree of mismanagement has steered the company into the tar pits.
So where does this leave the market? Well, it makes AMD’s investment in ATI now seem like a pretty good buy (especially given the dismal run that AMD has been having lately). If NVIDIA is exiting the high-end and mid-range graphics card market then this leaves a very lucrative field open to AMD.
So is this a good thing or a bad thing. Well, it’s good for AMD, and bad for NVIDIA, that’s pretty obvious. But what about consumers? Well, I’d hate to see a world without NVIDIA, because in a market with only one big player, things tend to stagnate, and prices tend to be higher than they could be. If you’re looking to buy a graphics cards (or buying a new PC) then NVIDIA exiting most of the GPU market is not a good thing at all.
As for AMD/ATi, I must admit that my problems, and prejudice against, goes way, way back. Back to the days of DOS and the Mach 8 chip. It never had drivers that worked well with the different programs that were supposedly covered. Next, on to the Mach 32 cards, and early Windows. ATi was always lauded as being fast…if you could keep the machine from bluescreening. Not my cup of tea, as I like to install, check, and walk away. Not the case with ATi, a company that invented the never-ending driver revision. There were entire series of cards that had no drivers that worked well. The fix, we were told, was to upgrade to the next released card. Not the way you work, in my opinion. Yet the company seemed to flourish. (and Linux drivers from ATi – forget about it!)
I don’t understand it to this day. It’s too bad that companies like Tseng Labs and Matrox aren’t still in the big picture, as they made good chips, and great drivers. During the time many people were sweating the next bluescreen with an ATi card, I was playing games well using my Matrox Mystique. Yes, that was a long time ago.
When I got back into working on computers other than my own, I became a fan of nVidia, because the company had chips that were fast, and drivers that were solid.
Over the past 2.5 years, nVidia has truly gotten sloppy, and AMD/ATi has remained that way. How refreshing it would be for a third choice to suddenly appear; if for no other reason than to get the people at these other two companies back in line.
Perhaps Intel can do it with Larrabee, but it doesn’t look like that is about to happen any time soon.
It’s why the color scheme is pink, in case you missed it – this is National Breast Cancer Awareness month.