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Poll: Do you see value in graphics card bundles?

Poll: Do you see value in graphics card bundles?

Is warranty important to you? What about bundled games and cables/connectors?

One of the debates that came up in the office today was the value placed on the elaborate bundles that come with some of today's graphics cards and we're keen to hear your thoughts on this.

Some add-in card partners think that bare bundles are the way forwards because maybe some users already have what they want and are just looking for more performance -- anything extra pushes up the price.

On the other hand, there are some partners advertising extended warranties---and even lifetime in some cases. Do you think there is value in having a longer warranty, or do you void the warranty as soon as your graphics card comes out of the box?

Finally, there are still a few partners that fill the box to the brim with extras sometimes making the card more expensive than its competitors. Does that matter to you and, more to the point, does a full-featured bundle really attract you to one product over another?

Let us know your thoughts by voting in our latest poll!

72 Comments

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badders 10th March 2008, 15:27 Quote
Only Cables and connectors.
I won't avoid a card that comes with a game, but I won't go for the one with the game if it costs more.
Unless of course it was a game I was going to buy anyway - but that doesn't come along very often...
Mister_Tad 10th March 2008, 15:27 Quote
I'm generally not very bothered about bundled games. All being equal between two cards, I'd pick the one with the games, but that's not usually the case.

I'd take slightly more notice of a single great game than a few second-rate ones. The only bundle games I recall playing were ones I would have bought anyway: COD2 and HL2. Even then, the games weren't a deciding factor in picking a card, just a nice bonus when the card arrived.
ConKbot of Doom 10th March 2008, 15:32 Quote
Games dont really influence me, but I do like a nice warranty, and connectors/adaptors are nice. I do believe I have half a dozen DVI-VGA adaptors laying around.
Hamish 10th March 2008, 15:35 Quote
i was going to vote 'cables/connectors' but then i realise i have a whole shelf full of dvi->vga adaptors and other such crap now
if its got some kind of proprietary video in/out dongle thingy then that should be in the box but otherwise, just dont give a **** :)
steveo_mcg 10th March 2008, 15:37 Quote
Never made a decision based on the bundle, the only thing that might sway me to buying a more expensive card (again all other things equal) would be a better warranty. But tbh i'd usually go for either the one with the custom quiet cooler or the cheapest reference card.
Mankz 10th March 2008, 15:37 Quote
Some of the adaptors come in handy, and drivers are always useful to get a rig of the groung.

I'm not to fussed about Stickers, T-Shirts and games.
Krikkit 10th March 2008, 15:38 Quote
I'll always take the one with a better warranty, but other than that I don't care - the games usually end up in their box gathering dust anyway...
crazybob 10th March 2008, 15:40 Quote
I usually just look at the cables and the warranty. Some random game bundled in won't change my purchase decision any. However, if the game is something I was planning to buy anyway, then it'll definitely influence my decision.
mutznutz 10th March 2008, 15:41 Quote
Cables are good imo

You can never have too many cables or connectors
Flibblebot 10th March 2008, 15:55 Quote
I don't think I've ever installed any of the games that come with the cards. They're usually mediocre games that I wouldn't have got anyway. I tend not to even install the drivers CD, I jump straight on the intertubes for that.

If there are any proprietary connectors, I'd expect those to be in the box, but I don't expect anything else.

If a manufacturer released a version of a card with the junk and without the junk, I'd plump for the "without junk" option every time.
mushky 10th March 2008, 16:03 Quote
I choose the cheapest one, usually reference design. I wouldn't mind if it arrived (in one piece) in bubble wrap, I always get the latest drivers off the net anyway. Proprietary cables and connectors are needed as well, for things like breakouts and VIVO stuff.
Jipa 10th March 2008, 16:12 Quote
As long as the cards arrive for free to my door step - gief teh maximum bundle! Though the last card I bought - MSI GF6600 - went totally over board with 13 CDs included in the bundle! Somewhat made me lol, there were a total of three full games included in the bundle.

Warranty does matter to me, haven't really changed any but HDDs, but as long as the price doesn't bump too much, I go for a warranty longer than 12 months.

EDIT: I would like to see OEM and retails versions really. One with just the video output cable/adapter and one with current bundle. Dunno how much this would lower the cost, though.
IanW 10th March 2008, 16:13 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Flibblebot
I don't think I've ever installed any of the games that come with the cards. They're usually mediocre games that I wouldn't have got anyway. I tend not to even install the drivers CD, I jump straight on the intertubes for that.

If there are any proprietary connectors, I'd expect those to be in the box, but I don't expect anything else.

If a manufacturer released a version of a card with the junk and without the junk, I'd plump for the "without junk" option every time.

Same here, especially since I use Linux, drivers for which are NEVER on the CD, and the games probably won't run anyway. (I only just got Far Cry to work 3 months ago!)
b1g-d0g 10th March 2008, 16:13 Quote
Card and cables is all that`s needed tbh.
Hazardous 10th March 2008, 16:47 Quote
A good warranty is important... but other than that... card 'n' cables only for me as well.
The games included with cards, are almost always games which have been out for a while anyway, and which we'll likely already own - if it's our type of game.

OK... so many of the games included with cards are 'optimized', to help emphasise the card's capabilities.
But I'd imagine the 'standard' game played with the same card installed, can be made to look equally as good, simply by tweaking the graphics settings
Delphium 10th March 2008, 16:47 Quote
A Gainward fanboy here, cables and warrenty FTW, not interested in the games.
oasked 10th March 2008, 16:57 Quote
Cables and card. As long as it has that I'll go with the cheapest version. I did that with my 8800GT (it did help that it was the only one in stock too!). :)
tssen 10th March 2008, 17:01 Quote
I just want the card. The package and bundle doesn't interest me.
Brett89 10th March 2008, 18:26 Quote
After 3 graphics cards, only thing i've used it the DVI to VGA adapter to set up my computer in the test room. if it comes with a free game, awesome, but i wouldn't pay a premium for it.
AcidJiles 10th March 2008, 18:28 Quote
If a good game is in the bundle for less than the cost it normally would be eg a crysis bundle and i want that card anyway I am likely to go for that.
RinSewand 10th March 2008, 18:36 Quote
I'd prefer a white box. the warrenty usually get voided, and the cables left in the box!

RwD
willowthewhite 10th March 2008, 18:45 Quote
Card and cables for me, if they must bundle a game with the card then I would prefer a voucher to select a game of my choice (even if it was only from a small selection) as having two copies of Company of Heroes isn't much use to me.
500mph 10th March 2008, 18:48 Quote
Well, it depends. A decent warranty is a must, and cables are good since you never know when your setup is going to change.
Heck, I didn't need my DVI>Hdmi connector, but I just got an HDTV yesterday, and I had spent some time looking for that adapter.
B3CK 10th March 2008, 18:52 Quote
For a gaming card, I want just the connectors.. drivers, i can get online. For a media center pc, I want the connectors, but also the codec's included for watching dvd's and listening to all my favorite music/video. Even if the codec info is downloadable from the Mfg's website with a key or whatever, but that is what I want. The added games,, just collect dust. When I buy a video card for gaming or the media center pc's I build, I have already re-searched what cards I want, and I go by what the price is with what warranty.
nigelleg 10th March 2008, 18:52 Quote
When I got my card The standard was the cheapest
Then they has the SC with Crysis bundle or the SSC without any bundle at the same price I rather took the faster version of the card
naokaji 10th March 2008, 18:53 Quote
i'd even go one step further, have the card without a cooler, only a very short warranty (enough to test if its doa (after that it gets oc'd anyway), the games they inlcude are msotly rubbish, so they might as well leave them out, i mean if they would give you something like orange box, oh wait, allready got that, so no thanks to bundled games, manual? whats that good for anyway, it's simple to put a graphicscard in your pc anyway and someone who truly needs one will probably get frustrated by the 200 pages of garbled text in 38 different languages of which 90% are warnings on what not to do. As for the cables... well, you only need so many.

I'd like to have the option to choose between oem and retail (naming scheme stolen from hdd's) just like with harddisks, i mean there i get to choose if i need the waste with it or not, so why not with graphicscards?
WhiskeyAlpha 10th March 2008, 18:57 Quote
Give me a white box and a reasonable (1 year) warranty for a bargain price.

After all, provided the card works flawlessly after 30 days, I'm bound to stick a water block on it and attack it with a soldering iron :D
Firehed 10th March 2008, 18:58 Quote
I don't consider warranty to be part of the bundle (as it's intangible) but it's important to me. Otherwise, put in as little as possible and keep it cheap.
TGImages 10th March 2008, 19:16 Quote
Want the card. Adapters/cables are sometimes needed, sometimes not, depends on why (or who) I am buying it for. A lengthy warranty is good. Bundled games rarely if ever even get tried.
Naberius 10th March 2008, 19:36 Quote
Some of the bundles these days are stupid, all i want is a card and a decent warranty, at a low price.
UncertainGod 10th March 2008, 19:37 Quote
Warranty is good but it all comes down to the price for me, besides the way I abuse most of the components in my system I instantly invalidate most warranties anyway.
legoman666 10th March 2008, 19:38 Quote
The games that are usually bundled are poor or I already own. I have bought so many video cards in the past that I don't need or want any more connector adapters. I probably have 10 DVI->vga adapters, I have about 5 component breakout cables from ATI cards and I have several DVI->HDMI adapters as well. I also watercool my cards so the warranty is voided the moment I strip off the stock cooler.

As such, I would prefer just the card in a white box. I don't even want the crappy driver CD with 6 month old drivers. I will just buy the cheapest card available, regardless of what is bundled or warranty.
ssj12 10th March 2008, 19:45 Quote
there is no option of "yes - if the game is worth wild"
genesisofthesith 10th March 2008, 19:54 Quote
I prefer bundles not include games, but I expect a good warranty and all non standard cables or adaptors. I also tend to lean towards uprated coolers designed for quiet operation whenever the price premium isn't unreasonable - I believe there's more added value for more people in a better cooler than a game that only some people would want.

If your given a choice of game rather than have one title forced on you, its slightly better, but really I'd rather save a few quid and not have a bundled game.
yodasarmpit 10th March 2008, 19:59 Quote
I voted "No - Give me a white box with just the card." before fully reading the poll.
It should have been "Yes - But I only want the required cables/connectors. I don't want a game bundle."

And all the talk of warranty, in the UK you have a standard 1 year warranty with the retailer anyway regardless, after that time the graphics card is worth about 25% of what you paid in the first place.
Veles 10th March 2008, 20:07 Quote
I only care about cables and connectors, but really, those things are what? £5 to produce a couple of VGA-DVI converters and breakout cables? They can't be that expensive. They should be basically included as freebies.

Games are pointless IMO, usually they're not all that great, but sometimes you get one you want, but that's more a happy coincidence.

Warranty is nice, but you get a year minimum in the UK anyway, and usually, if it's faulty, it will break within that one year.

TBH though, if it reduces the cost by say, £30 or more on a high end card, I'd be happy with just the card in a brown cardboard box (with sufficient protective packaging of course). One thing I think card makers waste a lot of money is on the boxes, I don't know many people who buy GFX cards off the shelf now, I don't know many people who are influenced by mascots and fancy packaging with lots of details about it's hyper realistic pixel ****.

This doesn't just apply to GFX cards though, my mobo came in an overly fancy box, as did my CPU, it's just not needed as most people aren't sold by packaging anymore when it comes to this stuff.
Silver51 10th March 2008, 20:26 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by B3CK
For a gaming card, I want just the connectors.. drivers, i can get online.

I was thinking the same. The only other thing in the box, other than the card itself, that I bother with is that 'new card smell'.

The main factors when buying a new graphics card for me are; low power consumption, good image quality and speed balanced against cost. I'm not loyal to any particular manufacturer and don't care for bundled games.
Tyinsar 10th March 2008, 20:32 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Veles
TBH though, if it reduces the cost by say, £30 or more on a high end card, I'd be happy with just the card in a brown cardboard box (with sufficient protective packaging of course). One thing I think card makers waste a lot of money is on the boxes, I don't know many people who buy GFX cards off the shelf now, I don't know many people who are influenced by mascots and fancy packaging with lots of details about it's hyper realistic pixel ****.

This doesn't just apply to GFX cards though, my mobo came in an overly fancy box, as did my CPU, it's just not needed as most people aren't sold by packaging anymore when it comes to this stuff.
I agree with the whole post but especially the quoted part.

For me the factors, in order of importance, are:

1) Performance / Price
2) Cooler performance / Noise
2) Warranty & company reputation
...
...
4) Special features
5) Cables etc.
...
...
...
dead last) Games & box ornamentation. A keychain / sticker / ... would be as useful / useless.
MrMonroe 10th March 2008, 20:50 Quote
Though I haven't bothered to install the copy of UT that came with my 8800GT yet, I did buy it because it was the same price as another edition with no game. It has to come with the cables for me to be interested, and a good warranty is real important.
moshpit 10th March 2008, 21:02 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by crazybob
I usually just look at the cables and the warranty. Some random game bundled in won't change my purchase decision any. However, if the game is something I was planning to buy anyway, then it'll definitely influence my decision.

QFT.
johnnyboy700 10th March 2008, 21:34 Quote
The only things that matters as far as I'm concerned is that the card is the best that I can afford, its a capable card with a good level of future proofing, has all the connections and connectors that I need and has a good warranty (god bless BFG), apart from that I don't really care what else I get. I've still got freebie games from my last two cards that I haven't even opened, I just chucked them in the corner and forgot about them.
Anakha 10th March 2008, 21:37 Quote
I used to work for a computer retailer (Mentioning no names here), who had an optional bundle of games to be included with new systems. The Retail price of this bundle of 4 AA titles was around £30, but being a staff member I could buy the bundle at cost. £0.58. Bundling games with graphics cards doesn't cost a lot at all, but the manufacturer will artificially inflate the cost of the hardware to make a profit from the "Perceived value" of the bundle, rather than the actual cost.

That being said, if I don't have a game that's offered in a bundle, and I'm interested in the game, and the cost of bare card + retail game is more than the cost of the bundle, I would go for the bundle instead.

From what I've seen, however, cards with bundles are priced the same (Give or take a few pounds) at retail as cards without, so the bundle does add value. The RRP may be different, but when it comes to the storefront, it's the listed price that makes a difference.
drdro 10th March 2008, 23:02 Quote
If i were to build my first rig ever, then i would want to have a full bundle with adaptors and cables, etc.. Though as I got those a long time ago already, a plain white box would do just fine.

As for games, it really depends. Some cards come with Crysis which turns out to be cheaper then buying the game separetly. So in that case I would consider it. Then again, if you already own the game, there is no real point (except selling it on ebay).

And the longer the warranty, the better. 3 to 5 years being ideal as it would be enough to have a warranty until a next possible upgrade and then still be abale to sell the card with a warranty, which is something people here in Switzerland tend on like.
knuck 11th March 2008, 00:23 Quote
I always bought Built by ATI video cards... and they certainly don't have the greatest bundle
Rebourne 11th March 2008, 00:57 Quote
Warranty and connectors yes, but no games.
completemadness 11th March 2008, 01:49 Quote
I get quite sad when i buy the latest greatest graphics card, Often when you read reviews they say "this comes with it, and that, and that" and often an interesting game or something

But then you go out and buy your graphics card, and its just a bare box (well, with the gfx card ofc)

On the other hand, sometimes they do bundle stuff with the card, but then they always succeed in messing it up
Eg. my 8800GTX came with GRAW - GRAW ffs, come on XFX, bundle a decent, up to date game in your box with this beast

So, i would like the whole shebang, but then as they always mess it up anyway, probably just cables and connectors
fathazza 11th March 2008, 02:08 Quote
first thing on my list is warranty, so usually between evga and bfg, (card i own tend to die on 12 months and 1 day of ownership) if they are both the same price then if one has a better HSF combo ill take that one... After that ill look at the games bundle....

Having said that if its a stand out recent title that im going to be buying i will take that into account. eg Crysis, cod4 etc, or the ati valve black box bundle....
tranc3 11th March 2008, 02:19 Quote
I like the free shirts...
speedfreek 11th March 2008, 02:42 Quote
I like having the extra cables and a decent enough warranty that if it dies out of the return time I can still get it replaced.d
docodine 11th March 2008, 03:45 Quote
I hardly ever buy games, so the ones that come with a graphics card are a godsend. Dungeon Siege came with my 9600 All In Wonder, and I still play that. Company of Heroes with my 8800GT is great as well. I mean, I still expect it to come with the required cables... A VGA-DVI converter or two is nice, and a power adaptor helps too.
TheoGeo 11th March 2008, 04:02 Quote
i just get the cheapest card with the spec i want (provided it isn't made by MSI)
Woodstock 11th March 2008, 04:27 Quote
i want a graphics card that's all, if i want a game ill buy it, if i want an adapter ill buy it (exemption proprietary connections as mentioned)
Redbeaver 11th March 2008, 04:28 Quote
1. vga/dvi cable.
2. 90-days step-up program

throw away the rest, im happy.
radodrill 11th March 2008, 04:49 Quote
the first thing that comes into my decision it performance/price point to select the card; when it gets to choosing the manufacturer/version of that card, I look at warranty and price compared to other manufacturers.

Bundled games rarely come into my decision; unless there's no price difference or I wanted that game anyways.

In terms of bundled cables/adapters; the proprietary ones are a must. These days DVI-VGA adapters aren't really necessary since most people are using LCDs and they'll invariably have a DVI port. I find the molex to PCI-e power cables a waste; I feel that the user should have a PSU that natively supports the correct amount of PCI-e power connectors required by the card(s) , as a new card can over stress older power supplies (i.e. running a pair of 8800GTXs on a 550W PSU)
Woodstock 11th March 2008, 04:52 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Redbeaver
1. vga/dvi cable.
2. 90-days step-up program

throw away the rest, im happy.

i would like the step-up program but evga doesnt offer it in nz and as far as i know, they are the only company that offer it (more should thou)
Spaceraver 11th March 2008, 05:44 Quote
Some software included if it's a HTPC card, if anything else.. Just card and connectors or just card..
KayinBlack 11th March 2008, 06:49 Quote
I got like 3 copies of Company of Heroes this last time. And a box of HDMI converters. All I want is working cards. Sell them coolerless, for all I care.
HitmanAdski 11th March 2008, 08:31 Quote
I think that if hardcore gamers are buying graphics cards you would expect most of them to go out and buy the games they wanted. I usually like the Posters and other stuff that you can't buy on it's own. But yeah if it doesn't perform you just don't get it unless it's uber cheap.
DougEdey 11th March 2008, 08:36 Quote
Don't want a game with a graphics card, but required cables (like ATi VIVO and internal audio) are required. Other then that just a warranty and good recyclable packaging please.
[USRF]Obiwan 11th March 2008, 11:21 Quote
I miss the: vote "OEM" option

Just a antistatic plastic bag with card and cables that are absolutly needed/necessary. I dont even want a driver cd, because I download the latest driver anyway. This will save (hopefuly me) money for packaging, package design, cd, cd pressing, graphics. They can ship more cards in a box. And all this would probably make the card 100 dollar cheaper, takes less from the environment. Plus it saves me extra money because of the 'briliant idea' from my Dutch covernment to charge packaging 'environment' taxes from manufactures, who in turn will pass this along the the consumer.
Burnout21 11th March 2008, 11:52 Quote
i few extra cables aint any harm, i liked my 8800GTS by BFG as i got a free t-shirt, nice surprise when i opened the box.

factory overclocks piss me off, why charge more for something that is free!
liratheal 11th March 2008, 12:45 Quote
It depends, for me. The adapters are useful (DVI-VGA, DVI-HDMI, component out etc) and the warranty is nice sometimes, although more often than not voided for the sake of water.

However, I don't care for the game bundles. I've had three copies of the same game now, and I've run out of people to give these things to. In all honesty, warranty and a white box, possibly some connection converters (Although not essential) would be my preferred buy.
Shadow_101 11th March 2008, 13:38 Quote
Warranty and the Card is all that matters to me when buying.
cjmUK 11th March 2008, 15:54 Quote
Hmmm.... I've voted for the Warranty option - but it's a bit unclear what that means...

I'd buy a white box card if it had a minimum of 2 years warranty. If it came with only 1 year (legal minimum in UK), I'd have to pay extra for a retail box.
IanW 11th March 2008, 18:47 Quote
Re: Warranty.

Hexus are reporting that Zotac have upped their 2-year "Return to dealer" warranty to a 5-year "Return to Zotac" one!
fathazza 11th March 2008, 19:55 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by IanW
Re: Warranty.

Hexus are reporting that Zotac have upped their 2-year "Return to dealer" warranty to a 5-year "Return to Zotac" one!
where are zotac tho?

it gets annoying when the warranty is abroad, eg, evga in germany, ibm hdds in holland etc. Stuff like that needs to be made more obvious, or someone needs to compile a nice database of it...

if i recall correctly Corsair stuff has to be sent back to the usa (tho i could be wrong on that), makes their 5 year psu warranties pretty pointless imho... (mind you posting a psu to the uk is going to be extortionate unless you get one of those ebay/dhl deals)
notatoad 12th March 2008, 05:08 Quote
my latest card is a 8800gts 512 that i bought in a white box, and i paid less for it than any gt cards available at the time. i don't need cables, i still have the ones that came with my last card. i don't need some super warranty, the standard 1yr is plenty. i don't need the card company to tell me what games to play, i'll buy the ones i want with the money i save.
Brett89 12th March 2008, 05:11 Quote
super warranty as I'm prone to things of that nature, and the card. I've got the cables/adapters I need.
IanW 12th March 2008, 07:26 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by fathazza
where are zotac tho?

Unfortunately, they're in Hong Kong.
Mr T 13th March 2008, 22:50 Quote
What about box size? Come cards are coming in stupidly large boxes these days. What's happened to the days of smallest box possible? Are packers getting lazy?
notatoad 13th March 2008, 23:05 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Burnout21
factory overclocks piss me off, why charge more for something that is free!

the manufacturer may be paying extra for higher binned chips to put into the factory overclocked models. (at least i think that happens. maybe not)
Gravemind123 14th March 2008, 01:18 Quote
I really just like a good warranty, the EVGA one covers aftermarket cooling and is lifetime here in the US, which is nice. I won't pay more for accessories unless the price difference is small or there is an included game that I actually want, but usually that doesn't happen.
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