HardOCP has stumbled upon a couple of Nvidia-branded cards at a Best Buy retail outlet and it appears that Nvidia will start selling select cards under its own brand.
It turns out that Nvidia has struck a deal with Best Buy to supply it with GTS 450 and GTX 460 boards, but the move hasn’t been made public yet. HardOCP even tried calling the tech support numbers listed on the packaging, but the voice on the other end of the line said that Nvidia doesn’t sell graphics cards. Come to think of it, they really don’t sell that many GPUs either, especially since the HD 5000 launched a year ago.
Here's what Nvidia’s Igor Stanek told us about the deal: “NVIDIA and Best Buy are working together to offer PC customers the opportunity to experience firsthand the latest in PC technologies right inside Best Buy stores. As part of this broad initiative, NVIDIA is supplying to Best Buy specific GeForce models built and supported by NVIDIA. These products will only be available at Best Buy and will complement GeForce products from our partners. We will provide more details on this later.”
This move could create a rather awkward situation for Nvidia AIBs, especially the few Nvidia-exclusive partners who can’t fall back on Radeons in times of trouble. What’s more, Nvidia partners haven’t been doing well in recent quarters. They simply had no competitive products to work with.
We are guessing Nvidia won’t offer its entire lineup under its own brand and that some GPUs will be reserved for partners. Also, it seems unlikely that Nvidia will offer overclocked non-reference boards, either.
Still, it is a rather interesting and surprising development with possible long term repercussions for the discrete graphics market.