Just over a month ago, HardCPP's Kyle Bennett reported that an initiative called the GeForce Affiliate program offered graphics card manufacturers (such as Asus and MSI) various incentives to restrict the use of their top gaming brands to Nvidia hardware. While Nvidia is not commenting on details beyond a blog post, a new lineup of graphics cards from Asus and commentary from AMD's HardOCPs report might be true.
Asus officially releases the Radeon-exclusive "Arez" graphics card lineup on Tuesday after weeks of leaks and whispers. They all look very similar to the Radeon graphics cards that Asus has offered since the introduction of the RX 500 and RX Vega series, but one important detail is missing: While some of the models still carry Strix coolers, none The Arez range carries the Republic of Gamers brand that Asus has built for years. (However, previously released Radeon cards still carry the ROG brand.)
In an e-mail to PCWorld, AMD said that this will not be an outlier.
"Today Asus has announced the AREZ AMD Radeon RX graphics and in the coming weeks, you can expect more add-in board partners to launch new brands called AMD Radeon … Through AMD's add-in-board partners, continuing the AMD Radeon RX brand, the company continues to open the industry open, transparent and unrestricted, giving players access to the best of immersive technologies, APIs and experience. " AMD never mentions the GeForce affiliate program directly, but with the strong message of transparency and openness, the statement seems to be a direct shot on Nvidia.
The news was not sent to journalists alone. Radeon Vice President and General Manager Scott Herkelman has posted an article on Radeon.com that has brought AMD's "Freedom of Choice" profit to the fore. Herkelman says that the following are "The most important values that brands will provide in sporting AMD Radeon products":
- A commitment to open innovation
- A commitment to true transparency through industry standards
- Genuine partnerships with true consistency  Expanding PC Gaming Ecosystem
Other HardOCP reports show that well-known PC makers such as Dell and HP are not targeting Nvidia, even though we were unable to confirm these details. PCWorld's industry sources were silent when asked about the GeForce affiliate program.
Keep an eye on the quality of these new Radeon exclusive cards as they are announced. If graphics card manufacturers develop AMD hardware much like hardware with Nvidia-exclusive brands – which certainly seems to be the case with the Asus Arez product line – then the brand name on the packaging should not matter in terms of performance. Maintaining separate brands for Radeon and GeForce hardware makes things a little more confusing for consumers, but it's also not uncommon: Asus maintains exclusive Maximus and Crosshair brands for Intel or AMD motherboards.
We interviewed HardOCP's Kyle Bennett about our Full Nerd Podcast when news about the GeForce affiliate program first appeared. Take a look at it below.To comment on this article and other PCWorld content, visit our Facebook page or our Twitter feed.