It seems that every two-bit reporter working out of his bedroom wants to sink his teeth into NVIDIA these days, be it over driver leaks, unofficial marketing aids or their professional attitude to suppliers that stray from the fold and stock competing products. The latest rumour is that NVIDIA have put the heat on Hercules for launching Kyro II-based products licensed from ST Microelectronics. The most cutting report we've seen for some time comes from xbitlabs, who despite their manner have built themselves a sterling reputation amongst the hardware elite. "We have stated it many times that NVIDIA pursues a strong-hand policy to make the partners be loyal to its chips. That's one of the reasons why so few grand-scale manufacturers have decided to announce STM KYRO II graphics cards," the report complains. "Lately we have seen the deplorable fate of those who dare to violate the NVIDIA-only principle." At the core of this report is the news that "like a jealous wife, NVIDIA didn't forgive Hercules' flippancy and crossed it out of the partner list." By this they mean that NVIDIA ceased supply of vital components to Hercules, in effect punishing them for backing Kyro II. "Hercules gives no official confirmation to these rumours, though it can be merely for the company's apprehension to add oil to the burning conflict with NVIDIA. However, the fact is that Hercules risks greatly to lose the only product in its line which is targeted at high-performance gaming systems." The boys at xbitlabs clearly haven't seen this rebuttal from Shauna Hardy, Public Relations Manager for Hercules, over at 3DGPU.com: "I just wanted to address the rumours that have been circulating. Hercules has a working relationship with NVIDIA and is currently producing several boards based on their chipsets including the 3D Prophet III. Hercules' commitment is to its customers. Our main priority is to provide the best performing and most innovative solutions to our customers at a wide variety of price points. The Prophet III is available through CompUSA, Electronics Boutique, Babbages and Fry's and one major distributor - D & H. The reason the card is no longer available on the online store is because we have chosen to shift our stock and focus it exclusively on retailers and distributors to satisfy the customer demand." Shauna's not the only one concerned about the escalating rumours. The first person we spoke to when we read xbitlabs' report was Adrian Thompson, NVIDIA's Marketing Manager for Northern Europe and South Africa. "It's a pity that xbit don't follow up and do the research," he commented. In light of Shauna's public statement, we tend to agree with him. Related Feature - GeForce 3 Review
UPDATE: Now screenshots have surfaced.
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