NVIDIA and ATI dominate the market for gaming-oriented video cards. But neither company sells video cards directly to the consumer; rather, they produce “reference designs” that are manufactured by a number of “partners”. Most partners simply produce the reference design and slap an identifying sticker on the card’s cooler; although some might replace the reference design cooler with a quieter or more powerful solution, with few exceptions there’s little to distinguish one partner’s version of a specific card from another partner’s version of the same card.

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