Why am I writing this review? Good question, and important in order to understand the methodology and conclusion at the end of the page. The first and foremost reason can be found at an event several months ago: the GIGABYTE GOOC EU 2010 live finals. This competition, held in Mallorca, was the live overclocking competition that would determine which five overclockers would represent Europe in the world-wide finals later that year. As you might have heard, read or watched: I won that final and was allowed to join the best overclockers from around the world in the world finals. Where I kind of failed as you can read here.
I hear you thinking: how is showing off you won a competition (and than lost one) have anything to do with reviewing this VGA card, you arrogant bastard? Hold on just a few more moments. So, I was telling that I joined the GIGABYTE GOOC EU 2010 event in Mallorca, which I won. It's a customary for Gigabyte overclocking events that the overclockers need to sign an NDA consent form. Paperwork mostly, but in this case it turned out to be quite an important document. Without showing you the entire document, here's the part that turned out to be key for this article.
As you can see, every overclocker attending the event was forced to write a review on the graphics card used in the competition. A few sidenotes to this:
First of all, it's important to know that unlike a company of MSI, where the mainboard division works closely with the VGA division, Gigabyte Mainboard and Gigabyte VGA are two different companies. This, in effect, means that the mainboard division needs to ask explicitly "do you want to co-organize this event" to the VGA division in order to get more funding. This year, there was no 3D part in the competition. No VGA necessary, apart from some kind of device that would show image on the screen.
Secondly, all attendees are willing to take off time from work or home to come to this event which is, let's call things the way they are, mainly for product marketing. This effectively means that the overclockers are spending time to promote the overclocking capabilities of the particular sample they're working on. The argument that there's something to win is not legit: if there wasn't something to win, people wouldn't bother to come.
Thirdly, in general, overclockers can't be bothered to write an impressive review. In fact, most overclockers would just overclock the card, post some pictures, post some scores and be done with it.
In my eyes, overclockers attending this kind of event should not be forced to do anything but overclock at the event. No, I'm not asking to pamper each competitor with a slick and expensive hotel room, feature fifteen HD tvs, a jacuzzi and a few good-looking ladies. All I'm saying is that attending the event is already good enough exposure from an overclocker point of view. Forcing the overclockers to write a review on a mainstream VGA (which most overclockers don't even care about) is just not the way to deal with them.
But okay, it was in the NDA. I didn't read, so didn't write. That should be okay, I think. Sadly enough, it isn't. HQ is pushing my lovely local contact to push me to write a review of this card. Over and over again. Since my local contact has been nothing but good to me (in fact, one of the best Benelux marketing contacts I have!), I will publish an article.