The appointment of Roy Taylor, former nVidia VP for global graphics sales, was reported on KitGuru first. At the time, we could see the significance of AMD CSO John Byrne's team selection – but the question would remain, “How long would it take for Roy to begin impacting AMD's business”. Along with a helpful boost from Never Settle (parts 1 and 2), it seems the effect is being felt earlier than expected.
On 29th December, KitGuru reported that the first version of the AMD Never Settle games bundle (which centred on Far Cry 3 and Sleeping Dogs), was the most significant promotion of the quarter leading into Xmas, but that it had arrived too late to impact nVidia too much in 2012.
We've subsequently had this confirmed by AMD insiders.
We had heard that, on the run into Xmas, distributors like Enta were holding up to 80% nVidia product in certain price categories. Given that us consumers buy what's on a shop's shelves – and the shop can only order what its distributors have in their warehouse – that shows you just how strong a strangle hold nVidia had on the market. Some stores were wall-to-wall green, with the GTX 660, Ti and 670 leading the charge.
We also said that the effect of Never Settle and would most certainly be felt in Q1.
And we were right.
Alongside the launch of the 7870 Tahiti LE parts, like the VTX3D Black Edition (first reviewed by KitGuru Labs back in November), the continuing high-end dominance of the Sapphire 7970 Toxic Edition with 6GB of memory has meant a bit of a stall for GeForce.
Both nVidia and AMD do graphics the same way. A chip is designed by the GPU team, then manufactured by a plant owned by someone like TSMC and finally bought by the AIBs (Add In Board partners) to make the graphics cards we purchase in shops.
All of the AMD AIBs we've spoken to recently have reported “It's just like the good old days” with Roy Tailor back in charge. It seems he's injected some enthusiasm into a tired market – and that promises to be more fun for everyone.
If memory serves, Roy loves going toe-to-toe with the opposition and, no doubt, there will be a reaction from the nVidia PR & Marketing teams, being directed by Fiona Faulkner from the nVidia bunker.
With so many launches coming up in 2013, it will be interesting to see what kind of dent AMD can make in the traditionally well-oiled nVidia marketing machine.
One advantage for Roy is that the majority of nVidia's focus, globally, is clearly on achieving a stake in the much larger mobile markets – be that handset or tablet. Good time for a bust up in the GPU markets then.
KitGuru says: We promise to stay ringside and bring you each and every bloody blow, as it's landed, in real time. We believe that nVidia will be on ‘roids by the time the 700 series is ready to get in the ring and you can expect Roy in a Mech Warrior style suit for the Radeon 8000 launches. Ding Ding.
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