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Which tech company ever involved in graphics was the most ethical?

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Fox5

Diamond Member
Jan 31, 2005
5,957
7
81
Hmm, every company has ups and downs:

Nvidia has by far the most pervasive marketing and misinformation campaigns. TWIMTBP has long been used for lock in by designing features to not work at all on competing cards or to only work slowly. And they actively hinder reverse engineering projects to make open source drivers for their cards and killed the 2d only open source project they had. (which was purposefully designed to be obtuse and undocumented) They were also the first to degrade image quality below what was requested by the user with their brilinear filtering.

3dfx was poorly run and blew a lot of investor money.

ATi/AMD does a lot of the same things as nvidia, but I feel they're a little more open and honest with customers, their equivalent to TWIMTBP has yet to be used for lock in, and they actively fund an open source driver.

Intel's graphics side is marred by the sins of Intel as a monopoly, but at least they've actively funded an opengl driver for a while.

Matrox was never big enough to matter.

ImgTech always had poor support for their desktop cards and had next to 0 linux support for their Intel IGPs, although that could be blamed on Intel. Otherwise they're pretty much in the same boat as ARM, Qualcomm, and most of the other ARM GPU vendors.
 

DigitalWolf

Member
Feb 3, 2001
108
0
0
I've never had an issue with any graphics card I purchased. If they were bad I returned/exchanged them. So I can't really comment on anything "ethical" outside of stuff I read on the internet.


I've seen some shady things that revolved around a mobile graphics chip... the problem there is the companies selling said laptops had the responsibility to recall/fix them... not the provider of the mobile graphics chip. Instead they would simply replace the units that kept over heating until they died.. if it was under warranty.. until the warranty ran out.
 

exar333

Diamond Member
Feb 7, 2004
8,518
8
91
I don't know enough about them to say, although I would've a few years ago if I kept up on them like I did about politics, economics, and history (in high school I

That said, I wanted your opinions, and mention mature things done by them and not just the unethical things.

I've always been a fairly big defender of nv's TWIMPTB program and them paying devs for exclusive features, although over the past year or so, I've become disgruntled with both nv and AMD due to patents and the contracts they get. I believe it a barrier to entry for others, but then I don't blame them for taking advantage of a corrupt system and few businesses are actually different. The only other thing is I think the GTX680 is way over-priced for what it offers (which is why I'm not buying it), and this is coming from someone who has traditionally been a buyer of mid range products. All in all, nvidia's ethics are pretty good as far as corporations go. I think AMD should be commended, however, for selling their current line at such a low price even though I'm not going to buy it.

Try to include intel (plus folded companies like 3dfx, those like matrox that no longer make GPUs for gaming) since the former makes iGPUs that are apparently pretty popular.
Probably the ones that are no longer around.
 

blastingcap

Diamond Member
Sep 16, 2010
6,654
5
76
Hmmm, you have to define what you consider ethical.

Most people have probably heard of Bayer. They are a spin off of IG Farben. IG Farben used to have research facilities where they would test out chemical compounds on their Jewish prisoners during the early 1940s. They helped kill, very conservatively, hundreds of thousands of people.

Bad ethics on a corporate basis? They are my guideline. I could bring up many other examples throughout history, the point I'm making is that the worst company in the tech industry today is Mother Theresa in comparison. Really, the worst thing we can say about them equates to they don't play nice. Seriously, in the scheme of things Intel is Saintly ;)

If you are looking for the people most responsible for the foundation we built 3D upon, that is SGi by miles. Pretty much anyone under mid 30s range could only read in history books about the early days of 3D. Shaded, lit and textured polygons? Yeah, seems obvious now- it wasn't. Not even close. On the hardware side of things SGi is responsible for the overwhelming majority of all the principles we use in real time 3D today. Iris GL which evolved into OpenGL is the grand daddy our game engines own their lineage to. That said, ~$10K was a good ball park to start with when looking at acquiring a SGi machine to actually do anything 3D with. To be fair, they were highly specialized machines with custom everything(CPUs, memory layout, entire system layout for that matter) nothing was comparable to regular PCs. SGi started it all and built our foundation, but they did it for engineers and movie studios.

3Dfx was the first company to push hard into the consumer space with a part based on SGi's principles, but with lower precission for gaming and the masses. 3Dfx came up with Glide that gave developers an easy to use API in a time when we were in sore need of one. DirectX was a joke at the time and OpenGL didn't run on consumer hardware(3Dfx had a 'miniGL' workaround for this that would work for gaming as several companies later did). 3Dfx largely copied what SGi did, but they made it so it was accessible for the masses. You didn't need to decide between a new car and the ability to play with 3D. Most of what they did was copying other people and then spinning it around with a shiny bottle of marketing and making it available to the masses.

nVidia at first bet on the wrong direction for 3D altogether. They decided to bet on quads instead of polygons, and their first part failed horribly because of it. After that debacle they had the Riva and refresh, the two TNT parts all of which were reasonably competitive with 3Dfx, then the GeForce. The GeForce is where nVidia started killing other companies off. They took a geometry transformation and lighting engine and bolted it on to a graphics rasterizer, creating the world's first GPU. At the time, in order to get this type of functionality you had to spend thousands of dollars on a E&S, Wildcat, SGi or the like hardware that had a separate dedicated geometry chip. At first this wasn't a huge issue, but the scales of economy eventually made it so the other companies couldn't hope to compete. nVidia took things that other companies had done, modified it, brought it to the masses and then killed a long list of competitors off in the process.

ATi is actually the oldest player I'm going to mention today in the graphics market, they dwarfed 3Dfx, nVidia and SGi combined for a long time making add in graphics boards for almost all of the major OEMs. They were a company making minimal level crap for a long time, roughly the Voodoo2/TNT era when they made their first legit attempt at a good 3D part(Rage128) followed a bit later by the Radeon. The Radeon was a critical bet for ATi, they could either follow nVidia's lead, or head in the direction of 3Dfx. Up until that point, the wise money was to follow 3Dfx as they had seemingly made the right choice at ever turn in their short history. Luckily, the people at ATi decided to follow nVidia and we were left with one big dog and the pup down the street in terms of market power. As ATi looked to better itself, they found a team of former SGi engineers that had worked together to make the graphics chip for the N64 called ArtX. This team seemed promising to ATi and they acquired them at which point they went to work on their first project for ATi, the Radeon9700Pro. As the years progressed ATi was then acquired by AMD who is using them both to bolster the high end of their image with their graphics parts and to give them advantage on their lower end CPUs by their superior offerings to Intel.

Intel's start in 3D came from Real3D, a former part of GE which Intel bought to build what amounted to a demo part for AGP- the i740. That was the closest Intel ever got to being competitive. They have mainly lived on passable parts that's strength was low cost since then. When the GPGPU threat was looming on the horizon they threw a few billion dollars at a radical(and ultimately failed) idea in Larrabee which was going to be a ray tracing part. Given what Intel was after, it made sense. Unfortunately for them, it seemed like they didn't pay close enough to the beginnings of 3D. They would have realized we didn't go that route in the first place for some very good reasons.


Which of those paths is the most ethical?

The elitist original?

The populist follow up?

The copy and kill one?

The survive, follow and acquire?

The inept clumsy oaf?

Which is the most ethical out of them to me is splitting hairs so fine it is absurd honestly. They are all corporations trying to part us from our money. In the end, clearly we think they are offering us something worthy of our money or we wouldn't buy their products. Each has followed a different technological and business path, none of them doing anything close to what I would consider truly unethical from a business perspective(talking about the GPU divisions here).
I believe I have (or HAD) a Rage128 card... oh the memories... :)
 

KompuKare

Senior member
Jul 28, 2009
685
217
116
I've never had an issue with any graphics card I purchased. If they were bad I returned/exchanged them. So I can't really comment on anything "ethical" outside of stuff I read on the internet.


I've seen some shady things that revolved around a mobile graphics chip... the problem there is the companies selling said laptops had the responsibility to recall/fix them... not the provider of the mobile graphics chip. Instead they would simply replace the units that kept over heating until they died.. if it was under warranty.. until the warranty ran out.
Actually, while the Nvidia defects / bumbgate / whatever-you-want-to-call-it was mostly mobile parts, desktop parts and chipsets were affected too. (I've had two 8800GT's and nForce 7150 fail on me.) But unlike with mobile parts, there is generally less thermal stress on desktop parts so they tended to fail at 3+ years rather than earlier and that got less attention. When mine failed its residual value was probably only £40-£50 so while it made me avoid Nvidia from there on, my loss was a lot less than someone who's £1000 high-end laptop failed after the year's warranty was up.

Anyway, my vote for most unethical is Nvidia for this and their aggressive marketing etc. As to who's the most ethical?

Well, never heard of Matrox doing anything dodgy. Surprisingly, of the current ones I would possible answer Intel - not for their monopolistic tendencies or the driver support they give their graphics - but because if something goes wrong (like the SB chipsets or their SandForce SSDs) they don't mind reaching in their pockets to fix it.
 

cmdrdredd

Lifer
Dec 12, 2001
26,848
280
126
Well I don't remember any of the others. Both Ati and nVidia cheated on Benchmarks back in the day. Nvidia blocking physx cards with AMD cards is a pretty dick move. AMD blocking 3D in DE:HR revolution was pretty crappy as well. So I'd have to give the edge to AMD/Ati, but not by much.

Speaking of which. I just got sleeping dogs and it has native support for HD3D. How does that work with nV cards?
It doesn't...the game needs to support 3D Vision.
 

Concillian

Diamond Member
May 26, 2004
3,751
8
81
Tseng Labs seemed pretty ethical. Then again, I was like 20 when they were making relevant stuff, and the world in general was more ethical.

I remember waiting for the ET4000 and ET6000 to be released
 
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SirPauly

Diamond Member
Apr 28, 2009
5,187
0
0
It doesn't...the game needs to support 3D Vision.
One needs to enable the in-game Stereo 3d for Sleeping dogs for 3d vision as well -- the nVidia rating is good. Sleeping dogs is a real treat to play over-all.
 
Feb 19, 2009
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Nice summary but you forgot Rendition, their GPU (Verites) were way way ahead of their time, offering hardware anti aliasing, anisotrophic filtering and even a dedicated triangle setup engine offloading the CPU's job. All while being both 2d/3d capable at a time when voodoo were addin 3d only.
 

Anarchist420

Diamond Member
Feb 13, 2010
8,645
0
76
www.facebook.com
Hmmm, you have to define what you consider ethical. Most people have probably heard of Bayer. They are a spin off of IG Farben. IG Farben used to have research facilities where they would test out chemical compounds on their Jewish prisoners during the early 1940s. They helped kill, very conservatively, hundreds of thousands of people.
Excellent points... you're quite bright. I would say the most ethical company is the one in which the management doesn't take a lot more than everyone else, one that works tirelessly for what every customer wants, that patents their ideas solely to make sure they can still sure they can still make the things they may have invented, gives a portion of profits to the poor, and turns down all public contracts and all subsidies. IG Farben did the opposite of all of those things, so they're probably one of the worst companies.
If you are looking for the people most responsible for the foundation we built 3D upon, that is SGi by miles.
Good to know that I was right.:)
 

Anarchist420

Diamond Member
Feb 13, 2010
8,645
0
76
www.facebook.com
You're trying to differentiate "company" from "people". I'm saying they're one in the same. If that's what you meant, you weren't clear.
A corporation is a legal (artificial) construct. What is legally known as a "corporation" is actually group of people, but they have special status due to legislation. Due to the aforementioned, I'd say I agree with you:)
 
Dec 30, 2004
12,554
2
76
I've never had an issue with any graphics card I purchased. If they were bad I returned/exchanged them. So I can't really comment on anything "ethical" outside of stuff I read on the internet.


I've seen some shady things that revolved around a mobile graphics chip... the problem there is the companies selling said laptops had the responsibility to recall/fix them... not the provider of the mobile graphics chip. Instead they would simply replace the units that kept over heating until they died.. if it was under warranty.. until the warranty ran out.
My friend had one of those but he bought the 3 year dell full warranty for a few hundred.
Heh heh. Had an Nvidia Geforce 9200 or 9400...whichever had the BGA cold solder joint issues. They had to do this replacement thing for him 3 times, they paid for shipping both ways. He got his money worth.
 

ShintaiDK

Lifer
Apr 22, 2012
20,378
131
106
I don't know enough about them to say, although I would've a few years ago if I kept up on them like I did about politics, economics, and history (in high school I

That said, I wanted your opinions, and mention mature things done by them and not just the unethical things.

I've always been a fairly big defender of nv's TWIMPTB program and them paying devs for exclusive features, although over the past year or so, I've become disgruntled with both nv and AMD due to patents and the contracts they get. I believe it a barrier to entry for others, but then I don't blame them for taking advantage of a corrupt system and few businesses are actually different. The only other thing is I think the GTX680 is way over-priced for what it offers (which is why I'm not buying it), and this is coming from someone who has traditionally been a buyer of mid range products. All in all, nvidia's ethics are pretty good as far as corporations go. I think AMD should be commended, however, for selling their current line at such a low price even though I'm not going to buy it.

Try to include intel (plus folded companies like 3dfx, those like matrox that no longer make GPUs for gaming) since the former makes iGPUs that are apparently pretty popular.
So you recommend AMD, yet they raped consumers until nVidia launched their cards? And you call it low price?

Companies and ethics dont mix. Intel, AMD, nVidia, VIA, etc will all stab your newborn babies with icepicks in the eyes if it was legal and it made money.

So the simple answer is none.

Companies don't have ethics, people do.
Perfectly said here.

Also people are usually living in an illusion when saying one company is better than the other in ethical terms. At best, the other company(ies) just didnt do it yet, but they will if they get the chance.
 
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blastingcap

Diamond Member
Sep 16, 2010
6,654
5
76
Excellent points... you're quite bright. I would say the most ethical company is the one in which the management doesn't take a lot more than everyone else, one that works tirelessly for what every customer wants, that patents their ideas solely to make sure they can still sure they can still make the things they may have invented, gives a portion of profits to the poor, and turns down all public contracts and all subsidies. IG Farben did the opposite of all of those things, so they're probably one of the worst companies. Good to know that I was right.:)
It's hard to buy only from companies that don't do that kind of stuff. You can't avoid it many times, like with oil companies. Sure you can buy an electric car, but electricity comes from somewhere... most likely a coal plant, maybe nat-gas. That means mountaintop removals and fracking in many cases. Even solar panels have to be made. From metal. Miners' working conditions, strip mining, Chinese rare earth metals, etc.

And if you're going to rag on Bayer then also do so with Puma. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rudolf_Dassler Hell, didn't IBM sell a bunch of equipment to Hitler, too?
 

SolMiester

Diamond Member
Dec 19, 2004
5,331
17
76
I would say the most ethical company is the one in which the management doesn't take a lot more than everyone else, one that works tirelessly for what every customer wants, that patents their ideas solely to make sure they can still sure they can still make the things they may have invented, gives a portion of profits to the poor, and turns down all public contracts and all subsidies.
WOW, is there a company like that period?
 

Anarchist420

Diamond Member
Feb 13, 2010
8,645
0
76
www.facebook.com
So you recommend AMD, yet they raped consumers until nVidia launched their cards? And you call it low price?
I said it was a good thing done by AMD, but I didn't say they were more ethical than AMD
It's hard to buy only from companies that don't do that kind of stuff. You can't avoid it many times, like with oil companies.
That's absolutely true (and that's mostly because the wall between state is business is pretty much non-existant, but that's more the state's fault than the fault of big business). Some of what I mentioned would be possible though and I wasn't very precise. That said, nothing in this world is perfect, and trying to make a profit can't be given zero priority.
 
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