In the realm of GPUs, it is the GPU designer (NVIDIA, AMD) that designs the GPU. The manufacturing is outsourced to a fab (TSMC), and the reference designs are sent to AIC/AIB partners (XFX, ASUS), who then assemble the video cards. Sometimes, the partners are allowed to design their own non-reference designs around the GPU, but that’s where the degree of exception ends. However, NVIDIA seems to be boldly breaking out from this status quo, and assembling and selling their own cards. Yes – HardOCP has bought and taken pictures of NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460 cards – directly from NVIDIA, with presumably no AIC partner involved.

NGTX460 NVIDIA becomes its own AIC?

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In the realm of GPUs, it is the GPU designer (NVIDIA, AMD) that designs
the GPU. The manufacturing is outsourced to a fab (TSMC), and the
reference designs are sent to AIC/AIB partners (XFX, Asus), who then
assemble the video cards. Sometimes, the partners are allowed to design
their own non-reference designs around the GPU, but that’s where the
degree of exception ends. However, NVIDIA seems to be boldly breaking
out from this status quo, and assembling and selling their own cards.
Yes – HardOCP has bought and taken pictures of NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460
cards – directly from NVIDIA, with presumably no AIC partner involved.

NGTX460 NVIDIA becomes its own AIC?

Interestingly, NVIDIA’s call centre agents are unaware of the existence of this direct NVIDIA card. There has been no formal intimation, and thus a bit of a mystery as to how a AIC-less Nvidia card suddenly popped up on Best Buy one fine day. It is too early to speculate what might be the reason and motive for this mysterious new card, and is something we will find out as more information filters through.

Reference: HardOCP