Just about a week after re-branding its GeForce 8800 GS into GeForce 9600 GSO, Nvidia Corp., admitted that its product lineup was too confusing for consumers because of its model numbering scheme. But while the top supplier of discrete graphics processing units (GPUs) acknowledged the issue, it made no promises or announcements.
“It is a challenge that we are looking at right now. There is a need to simplify it for consumers, there is no question. We think that the people who understand and know GeForce today, they are okay with it – they understand it. But if we are going to widen our appeal, there’s no doubt that we have to solve that problem,” said Roy Taylor, vice president of content business development at Nvidia, in an interview with Gamesindustry.biz web-site.
The mess with Nvidia’s model numbers began with the introduction of G92 graphics chip and update of the GeForce 8800-series lineup with new models that appeared to be faster than previous-generation GeForce 8800 models amid lower price. The introduction of the GeForce 9 series made the situation even more complicated: the new family does not support any new features but, in cases of models GeForce 9600 GSO and GeForce 9800 GTX, offers virtually similar performance as GeForce 8 predecessors.
Although the GeForce 8 and 9 series have identical capabilities, the GPU developer’s support of his products may be a significant factor for the end-user. The latest official GeForce 8 WHQL driver for Windows Vista 32 was released on the 20th of December, 2007. The latest WHQL driver for GeForce 9 became available on the 1st of April, 2008. Nvidia usually does not update drivers for an older series after a new series is released, so the lack of up-to-date drivers for GeForce 8 is not a surprise.
Nvidia is not the only graphics processor developer with confusing model numbering scheme. The recently released mainstream graphics cards from ATI, graphics product group of Advanced Micro Devices, the Radeon HD 3650-series also confuses customers due to the fact that the company sells two completely different versions of the product under one model number and also due to the fact that even the highest-performance ATI Radeon HD 3650 offers speed lower than that of previous-generation ATI Radeon HD 2600 XT GDDR4.