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nVidia Announces GF4 Line

The core runs somewhat faster, the memory is somewhat quicker, the optimizations for memory usage and higher quality imaging are somewhat better. This leaves the GF4 being somewhat better than the GF3, usually 20-25% better for most things, a good deal more so for more strenuous activities like very high resolutions or high quality imaging.

Two sentences. OK, I cheated; they’re long sentences.

Three more to finish the job. The GF4MX should have been called the GF3MX; it’s missing a number of things not only present in the “real” GF4 cards, but also the GF3 cards. Don’t buy it; rather buy a GF3 Ti200 with at least 4ns RAM if you have to buy now. If you can wait two-four months, the Ti4200 will eventually end up being the successor to the Ti200 for powerful value.

Five sentences. Outside of some actual benchmarks, which you can find elsewhere, isn’t this all you really need to know?

Window Dressing

I never cease to be bemused by the mandatory three-five pages of nVidia-provided technical jargon that seems as standard in a nVidia review as a GPU is in a nVidia video card.

Come on, how many of you:

1) even read it without your eyes glazing over
2) take away anything from out outside of a few buzzwords, or more than maybe two sentences’ worth of information
3) ever seriously compared the technical merits of, say, HyperZ vs. LMA II in buying a card or

4) ever had a discussion of the above with someone that a) lasted more than twenty seconds or b) was anything more than slogan-trading or a mental cut-and-paste job from some article?

I would lay dollars to doughnuts at least 98% of you haven’t done all four. Me? I wouldn’t even get past the second one (and if you write me telling me how much more knowledgable you are, expect a quiz in response. :)).

The reality is the vast, vast, majority of purchasers are about as interested in the internal workings of their video card as they are in the internal workings of their microwave. All they want to know is “Is A better than B, if so, how much better?” What more do they really need to know? Not like they’re game programmers or chip architects.

OK, maybe a bit more than that, but I doubt two good-sized paragraphs’ worth would be a tight fit.

So why does everybody drag out the same old material no one pays any serious attention to?

Hype

Why do many if not most review sites feel like they have to sell the product, like good little sales assistants? If the damn thing is so good, won’t it sell itself on its merits? Do you have to jump up and down and respew nVidia’s verbal vomit (or anyone else’s?), Mr. Objective Reviewer?

Let me put it this way: if you go to a computer expo, you expect the exhibitors to carry on a bit, but did you ever see a member of the audience after the presentation standing outside the exhibit practically foaming at the mouth about how wonderful and tremendous something was? Outside of a Mac expo, never. But that’s just what most of these reviews do.

I read one review today and I almost regurgitated after reading page after page of how wonderful the GF4 was and how much better it was than the GF3, and this wasn’t a place where somebody was thrilled to death about getting a freebie, either.

This is not objective; this is not professional.

Enthusiasm is good? Not when it’s indiscriminate. Most of you have been to high school. Ever seen girls who were enthusiastic and excited about every boy they saw, not to mention willing? What did you call such ladies? How much respect did you have for them?

That’s the kind of enthusiasm we’re getting in too many of these reviews. The two situations are remarkably similiar. You even get screwed as a result, though in much different ways. 🙂

We need less prostelytizing and maybe instead more tranquilizing. Our recent survey indicates you’re getting growingly fed up and skeptical about all this.

Believe it or not, I actually like the GF4 Ti products. They represent a decent incremental improvement. I just see no reason for myself or anybody else to have a nVorgasm over it, much less entice anybody else into having one.

Why Do You Buy?

There was a time when marketing meant “This is our product. Here’s why we think it’s good.” Those days are long gone.

Marketing nowadays seems to have little to do with the product does but rather how they can make you feel.

It obviously works since they keep doing it. You have to wonder, though, about products whose makers obviously believe you won’t buy it until you’re driven into some half-crazed emotional frenzy to fulfill some existing or manufactured emotional problem which the product dubiously promises to satiate.

This approach to selling a product is prostitution, pure and simple. You get a cheap (or not so cheap) thrill; they get your cash. The thrill wears off; they still have your cash.

This is not at all to say it’s wrong to want to buy something, what I’m pointing out is that there’s a lot of people putting a lot of pressure out there for you to buy things for entirely the wrong reasons.

You should buy these things based on what they can do for you, not by how much of an emotional frenzy some marketeer can induce in you. You don’t think clearly in the middle of a frenzy.

Have you ever wanted a doctor operating on you when he was all riled up? No? Then why buy in such a state?

A Test

Let’s test this idea out with this type of product.

People buy this type product because they’re gamers. I think it safe to say that a major if not prime rational reason for gamers to buy this product is to improve their gaming.

Let me ask: Have you ever bought a video card and, solely because of it, suddenly became better at the game you play?

If you’d like to tell me, send me an email, and tell me what you had beforehand and what you bought. Also tell me why you bought the card when you did, what you thought the card would do for you, what it actually did or didn’t do for you, and whether or not you learned anything from the experience.

Maybe this will turn out to be a good guideline to good purchases and not-so-good purchases for others.

Email Ed

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