I'm going to forgo the continually depressing reiteration of "economic downturn" or whatever you want to call it. But since quite a few large companies are posting massive demand drops and insolvency is the latest craze these days, there's no doubt we're seeing an unfortunate trend of re-branding take an ever present role in "new" product lines.
Of the companies that we spend the majority of our time covering, Intel, Nvidia and AMD are getting in on the act.
Despite the billions of dollars of investment Intel is ploughing into its 32nm facilities, the chip giant still feels the need to rename its ICH7 southbridge (first released in 2005) to something different for the next release of its popular Atom product: Pineview. Inside the "new" southbridge, there's still the same set of features but, on the outside, there's a fresh coat of paint as it'll now be known as Tigerpoint.
AMD is rebranding too - its low end RV610 and RV630 products are now miraculously part of the Radeon HD 4000-series after a simple driver update Catalyst 9.1
although thankfully that's about it for now.
The absolute king of rebranding - Nvidia - is keen not to be outdone and is again making manoeuvres to rename just about everything in an effort to keep costs down. And as if last year's renaming shenanigans weren't enough - making the 8800 GS into the 9600 GSO, the 8800 GT into the 9800 GT, the
8000-series product line will be morphed into the 100-series and will sit under the current GTX 200 family. We've also heard suggestions that the nForce 780a SLI will become the 980a SLI chipset, but that's not 100 percent concrete at this time.
Rebranding is basically cheaper than inventing new products and gives the allusion of change. There's rarely ever a faster product inside so we're not evolving greater computing power, but logically they should form a lower subset denomination of a new generation. However, with prices continually rising because of the cost of shipping and piss poor strength of the pound, it's not like you'll be getting any more for your money either.
We'll break it down in reviews for you - don't worry! Simply put, be wary of what you buy this year because it could simply be last year's product with a lick of paint. We can certainly understand why
it's happening given the current climate, but it's not exactly going to spur growth in the market and it doesn't mean we like it.