NVIDIA Green Light program requires board partners to validate their designs

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A day or two ago we reported that NVIDIA has halted EVGA to include EVBot support on their GeForce GTX 680 Classified graphics cards. Apparantly this is due to NVIDIA's Green Light program, which requires board partners to validate their designs with NVIDIA before making the final product. NVIDIA initially allowed the GeForce GTX 680 Classified because it would serve as a good marketing tool to set overclocking records, but forced EVGA to tune down the card once it had served its purpose. 

Officially, the program is designed to smoothen the launch of new GPUs and to reduce RMAs, but NVIDIA's add-in board partners aren't happy because Green Light puts too many limits on how they can differentiate their graphics cards reports BSN.

Some parameters of the Green Light program are that vendors have to send in their board designs for approval from Nvidia to meet Nvidia's noise, power, voltage and heat figures. If those figures are not met, Nvidia does not approve the card. If a company does not follow the Green Light program, they risk losing their GPU warranty and BIOS support. More importantly, they could possibly risk their allocation according to some AIBs.

In addition to the design of the card itself and the aforementioned parameters, Nvidia also restricts certain software from being bundled with the cards by the vendors.

One example was when MSI released the unlocked BIOS with high voltage in their Afterburner overclocking utility. Needless to say, Nvidia was not happy and forced MSI to immediately remove the feature.

Nvidia was asked to comment and received a response from their Senior PR Manager, Bryan Del Rizzo with the following:

"Green Light was created to help ensure that all of the GTX boards in the market all have great acoustics, temperatures, and mechanicals. This helps to ensure our GTX customers get the highest quality product that runs quiet, cool, and fits in their PC. GTX is a measureable brand, and Green Light is a promise to ensure that the brand remains as strong as possible by making sure the products brought to market meet our highest quality requirements.

Reducing RMAs has never been a focus of Green Light. 

We support overvoltaging up to a limit on our products, but have a maximum reliability spec that is intended to protect the life of the product. We don’t want to see customers disappointed when their card dies in a year or two because the voltage was raised too high.

Regarding overvoltaging above our max spec, we offer AICs two choices:

        · Ensure the GPU stays within our operating specs and have a full warranty from NVIDIA. 

        · Allow the GPU to be manually operated outside specs in which case NVIDIA provides no warranty. 

We prefer AICs ensure the GPU stays within spec and encourage this through warranty support, but it’s ultimately up to the AIC what they want to do. Their choice does not affect allocation. And this has no bearing on the end user warranty provided by the AIC. It is simply a warranty between NVIDIA and the AIC.

With Green Light, we don’t really go out of the way to look for ways that AICs enable manual OV. As I stated, this isn’t the core purpose of the program. Yes, you’ve seen some cases of boards getting out into the market with OV features only to have them disabled later. This is due to the fact that AICs decided later that they would prefer to have a warranty. This is simply a choice the AICs each need to make for themselves. How, or when they make this decision, is entirely up to them.

With regards to your MSI comment below, we gave MSI the same choice I referenced above -- change their SW to disable OV above our reliability limit or not obtain a warranty. They simply chose to change their software in lieu of the warranty. Their choice. It is not ours to make, and we don’t influence them one way or the other. 

In short, Green Light is an especially important program for a major, new product introduction like Kepler, where our AICs don’t have a lot of experience building and working with our new technologies, but also extends the flexibility to AICs who provide a design that can operate outside of the reliability limits of the board. And, if you look at the products in the market today, there is obviously evidence of differentiation. You only need to look at the large assortment of high quality Kepler boards available today, including standard and overclocked editions."

NVIDIA Green Light program requires board partners to validate their designs

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