ORIGIN PC Drops AMD Radeon Graphics Cards From PCs Or Maybe Not

Origin PC Battle Box

Earlier today we ran across a story on Engadget about how Origin PC is no longer using AMD video cards due to a long list of reasons. Here is the official statement given by ORIGIN PC to Engadget on dropping AMD Radeon graphics cards:

This decision was based on a combination of many factors including customer experiences, GPU performance/drivers/stability, and requests from our support staff. Based on our 15+ years of experience building and selling award winning high-performance PCs, we strongly feel the best PC gaming experience is on NVIDIA GPUs.

ORIGIN PC builds custom, high-performance desktops, workstations, and laptops for hardware enthusiasts and gamers. The news of them dropping AMD certainly grabbed our attention as it comes just days before AMD will be releasing it’s latest series of GPU’s is very odd. It was also odd that we couldn’t find the statement on their website, blog, forums, press releases or even their Facebook fan page. It was almost like they went straight to Engadget and dropped them a story in their lap.

We asked ORIGIN PC for more information about this in an e-mail, but we have yet to get a response. So, we figured we’d give them a call on their toll-free number (1-877-674-4460) to find out what is going on. We got on the phone with a sales consultant who asked us to hold on for a second and then he read the statement given to Engadget pretty much verbatim. What he said next came as a shock.  He said that if we wanted to build a system with an AMD Radeon graphics card that they could special order one in for us if we wanted to go that route.

origin-graphics-cards

Right now it appears that ORIGIN PC has removed AMD Radeon graphics cards from their congifurator for the time being, but you can call and have a Radeon card included on the system that you want to build. Sounds to us like AMD and ORIGIN PC are having some internal issues that spilled over to the public realm. If AMD Radeon graphics cards suck so bad that you have to pull them from your systems, why even offer them to any customer?  Money talks.

10/04/13 7PM CT Update: The marketing department over at ORIGIN got back to us with the following statement. It’s pretty self-explanatory and is copy/pasted below.

Thanks for reaching out to us for comment. My sincere apologies for not replying to you sooner, but we have received a lot of inquiries from the press as to our decision to stop offering AMD GPUs and we are answering every one of them.  To ensure that we get back to everyone today, I am sending everyone some additional information from one of our tech support managers and a further statement from me to help provide more details.

Here is a direct quote from one of our Technical Support Managers, Alvaro Masis: “Primarily the overall issues have been stability of the cards, overheating, performance, scaling, and the amount of time to receive new drivers on both desktop and mobile GPUs.

Here is a quote from our CEO, Kevin Wasielewski to provide more details:

“ORIGIN PC is dedicated to providing the best experience for our customers and right now that is with NVIDIA GPUs.  It’s not about brand loyalty or marketing, our loyalty is 100% to our customers.  We work very closely with numerous manufactures and we are constantly testing and validating the latest hardware to provide options for our customers.  Parts that ORIGIN PC validates have to provide an extremely high level of performance, stability, and support.  As hardware changes and evolves, so do we.  We will continue to focus on providing the best possible experience for our customers, regardless of brand name, and devotedly dependent on customer satisfaction.”      

I also wanted to provide some clarification on your recent news article that was just posted on Legit Reviews.com. Our sales rep mistakenly mentioned and offered that we could special order an AMD graphics card for customers which is actually incorrect and was an honest mistake on his part.

The reason why our sales rep mentioned this is because we normally offer to special order components that we do not currently offer or carry on our website all the time (this is literally our mantra), however, due to the reasons mentioned already, we will not special order any product that we know that doesn’t deliver or provide the customer experience that meets our quality standards. 

Also as a side note, all existing and recent ORIGIN PC customers who currently have AMD GPUs will still and always be supported 24/7 by our U.S. based technical support staff for the lifetime of their product.

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  • bob

    good move, AMD makes shitty 2nd rate GPUs anyways, good to be rid of them.

  • Claudiu Peagu

    On second thought… this has nVidia bribe written all over it for sure.

    1. AMD drivers are probably in their best state ever ATM, so really, now of all times?

    2. New generation of gpus is literally DAYS AWAY (and will surely offer better value than nVidia).

    3. This is right around the time nVidia launched their BatlteBox BS brand thing…

    …riiiiiiiiight.

  • Claudiu Peagu

    I smell nVidia lobbying/payout… FFS, really?

  • John P. Myers

    For those of you who said Nvidia paid off OriginPC, you would be correct. Confirmed here: http://semiaccurate.com/2013/10/05/much-nvidia-pay-origin-pc-drop-amd/

    For those who read the article and assumed it included AMD’s CPUs as well, you’re mistaken. You may still purchase computers from OriginPC with AMD CPUs and mobos.

  • Serpent of Darkness

    This isn’t a smooth move for PC Origins. There’s a base of customers who will want a custom-made, cookie-cutter PC with the AMD RX9-290 Graphic Cards. PC Origins could benefit from the sales, and be apart of the wave AMD is riding with EA and Sony into 2014 until RX9-300 start rolling out. The new RX9-290 will have Crossfire through the PCIe lanes at 50+ Giga-transfers per sec, making PCIe 3.0 16x seem less of a gimmick, and it will become more viable as you crossfire more than 2 cards because more of that 500 to 800 Giga-transfers per sec in the lanes get used at 3.0 16x. I hear it’s even faster than the original bridges.
    Half-baked Maxwell will come in 2014. Doubt it will be full Maxwell. I doubt PC Origins would wait that long, and loose profit in the process. 780 and GTX Titan have no DX11.1 (Hardware Support) and absolutely zero support for 11.2. Only wave PC Origins could possibly wait for is GTX 790 (dual 780s) and Titan Ultra aka still not a full titan with DX11.1 and 11.2 support…

    • basroil

      The RX lines are pretty much expected to just be the GTX500 to their HD7000 line ( GTX400). The architecture isn’t supposed to change much, but incremental improvements here and there. The RX7 line isn’t even supposed to be DX11.2 compatible!

      As for pci-e based crossfire… that’s probably only on select AMD based motherboards. AMD still doesn’t have integrated PCIe, but Intel does, so any crossfire talk would have to go through the CPU in the intel case and possibly kill any performance benefits crossfire brings.

      • Serpent of Darkness

        You’re implying, or a better word to describe it is accusing Intel CPU of purposely diminish the performance of AMD Graphic Cards.
        The RX9-280 line and below is all filler cards till mid 2014. They are just refreshes of old products with improvements and tweaks. Take for example the rebrand 7970 GHZ aka RX9-280. It has the same SP count, but it’s turbo clock is higher by roughly 26.5%. With an addition 10 to 30% head space, this clock would go past the 1400 MHz frequency with water cooling solution; +/- 75 MHz.
        PCIe-based Crossfire will have to talk to the CPU, that is correct, because the X79 and Haswell Architecture has PCIe lanes going straight to the CPU. There’s no NB in between. On the other hand, there’s no need for additional chips and whistles to make it work. All they’ve done is eliminate the need for a physical bridge which was probably limited to begin with, and ran the same instructions through the PCIe lanes. Do keep in mind, this isn’t a feature that’s AMD MOBO only. Crossfire works on Crossfire compatible MOBO. The same will apply with the PCIe based Crossfire.
        I suspect half-baked Maxwell (not full Maxwell) will feature the same functions in 2014…

        • basroil

          “You’re implying, or a better word to describe it is accusing Intel CPU
          of purposely diminish the performance of AMD Graphic Cards.”

          Either you can’t read or you’re trolling, but lets give you the benefit of the doubt and say you’re not reading the comment correctly. AMD uses northbridge-southbridge type connection with integrated memory controllers while modern intel cpus have all the major northbridge parts built in. Any and all PCIe data gets intercepted by the CPU, and the only way to bypass it is using something like the PLX chip. There’s been plenty of research getting device to device communications to work, and it always involves putting a chip between the CPU and devices. That’s why new AMD mobos, and perhaps old ones with firmware updates, can support that, but it’s iffy if that will work properly on intel.

          “I suspect half-baked Maxwell (not full Maxwell) will feature the same functions in 2014″

          Nvidia’s method for multi-gpu is different than AMD’s, and they can already do it if necessary, even with the CPU overhead. You’ll get quite the performance hit when sending 4k video though.

        • Serpent of Darkness

          Quotes from basroil:
          “AMD still doesn’t have integrated PCIe, but Intel does, so any crossfire talk would have to go through the CPU in the intel case and possibly kill any performance benefits crossfire brings.” You’re making it sound like it’s being done on purpose. The Intel CPU “is going to kill performance” only for AMD Graphic Cards. You’ve neglected to say that it occurs for Nvidia Graphic Cards to make your point unbias. Again, you’re either implying or accusing Intel of purposely diminishing the performance of AMD Graphic Cards. Otherwise, you should re-word what you truly mean next time.

          “AMD uses northbridge-southbridge type connection with integrated memory controllers while modern intel cpus have all the major northbridge parts built in. Any and all PCIe data gets intercepted by the CPU, and the only way to bypass it is using something like the PLX chip.” You’re basically stating what I said earlier, but elaborating on the thought. Is this an attempt to disprove that PCIe Crossfiring doesn’t work? What if it does work on Intel-based motherboards without the use of additional Chips. In addition, there are chips on the motherboard that allow Crossfire and SLI compatibility on the motherboards. Why would AMD sell a new flagship graphic card, the RX9-290, with no Crossfire Bridges and connectors on the PCB, but the product can still Crossfire with other cards, in a market where the majority is used by Intel Motherboards… You forget that this is a business, and businesses strive on making maximum revenue returns. More money is made when more consumers purchase your products…

          “Nvidia’s method for multi-gpu is different than AMD’s, and they can already do it if necessary, even with the CPU overhead. You’ll get quite the performance hit when sending 4k video though.” SLI was copied and taken from 3dFX after Nvidia bought them out. I know one of the engineers who use to work for 3dFX. It’s not innovative tech that was created “purely” out of the Nvidia R&D, just like PCIe-based Crossfire capabilities isn’t coming straight out of the Nvidia R&D. Ya they can produce it, just like they copied Stack Ram on the GPU. Nvidia is working on Volta–copy-cat from another AMD innovation, after Maxwell…
          To answer your question. No I am not trolling you, but I can see the green in you… For all the points you didn’t argue against, I’ll assume they are plausible… You’ve only argued over a few key areas…

        • basroil

          “You’ve neglected to say that it occurs for Nvidia Graphic Cards to make
          your point unbias. Again, you’re either implying or accusing Intel of
          purposely diminishing the performance of AMD Graphic Cards.”

          Nvidia still uses an SLI bridge, so it doesn’t occur. Older AMD cards too have no issue thanks to the bridge. Intel’s choice to bring PCIe into the CPU was not to diminish anyone’s performance, rather to even out performance differences between mobo/CPU combinations. If anyone is purposely diminishing the perfomance of the cards it’s AMD, since they won’t have an issue in THEIR system.

          “Is this an attempt to disprove that PCIe Crossfiring doesn’t work?”

          No, it’s that it won’t work at an optimal speed on new Intel chips due to the PCIe lanes all being intercepted by the CPU. On a system with a switching processor for PCIe, or dedicated PCIe processor, the PCIe crossfire should work just fine, because the CPU isn’t involved. Again, go look at the Microsoft research on FPGA and GPU communication.

          ” For all the points you didn’t argue against, I’ll assume they are plausible”

          No, that is a false assumption. Just assume I either didn’t have the time or information on hand to answer. Or that I didn’t assume it to be a new argument. I usually admit to mistakes when someone shows proof of an error.

  • kray28

    It’s pretty clear that Nvidia is paying them to not feature AMD cards. It’s the type of tactic that Intel used to pull with AMD back in the day.

    • awkpain

      I would be surprised to find out nvidia would risk the massive fines and bad publicity. You have to remember the target audience for origin pc… high end. Often multiple cards. Crossfire still has huge issues with frame latency. If I didn’t know this and I were dropping five to ten grand on a computer I would be expecting smooth as silk. I could see the occasional driver glitch and slow release for game optimization as a reason to call origin and demand they fix it.

      • Zach B.

        The frame latency “issue” has been fixed already for most setups.

        • awkpain

          In crossfire and eyefinity it is still pretty horrible. Even in the most recent 13.8 driver the frame time variance is still up to ten times slower than nvidia. Having said that, it is substantially better than 13.6. Research then speak.

          http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/catalyst-13.8-frame-pacing-crossfire,3595.html

        • Claudiu Peagu

          Stop kidding yourself w/ that Tom`sBSware .com, look at the pcper review or other ones. THW stopped bein relevant a decade ago.

  • Justin

    Thanks for actually doing some due diligence and not just re-hashing the same dribble without double checking sources! Much appreciated.

  • Jonathan

    ..And here I used to like Origin PCs. Now I can’t in good conscience recommend them. AMD cards are very good with their own merits, and AMD provides Nvidia some much-needed competition.

    • basroil

      Nice thing about the AMD cards is larger memory buffers, which a lot of games are now taking advantage of. I wish Nvidia would wise up and make 3gb standard and high end models having 4/6/8gb (and 12gb for Titan successor)

      • Justin

        Agree – I will be selling my GTX 680 to upgrade as I jumped the gun and bought a reference design with 2 GB VRAM. On just 1080p with settings turned all the way up, the card comes dangerously close to filling up the frame buffer now, and I would like to upgrade to a 1440 display as prices come down.

        • Claudiu Peagu

          Unless its 120hz (or at least overclockable) or a super awesome IPS… I don`t recomend it.

        • Justin

          http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16824005494 Thoughts? I haven’t looked at 1440 displays in about 1.5 years due to higher input lag as it will be used primarily for gaming, so now I am wanting to see if any have gotten better – again specifically for gaming

  • Zach B.

    Neither AMD nor Nvidia is perfect, they both have their ups and downs, both the downs usually being with their drivers, in which case both Nvidia and especially AMD have improved tremendously lately. This “ban” is both childish and illogical with not even a single valid reason given as to why they came to this decision… Its almost a certainty that Nvidia “donated” some money to this company.

    • Paul Margettas

      let me say one word

      money

    • basroil

      The main reason is probably that they want to streamline parts costs and support, and dropping multiple drivers and manufacturers is a key step in that. They already sell only ASUS or MSI motherboards, and most of their graphics cards are from EVGA (and they don’t make AMD cards)

      The biggest part is probably that most people don’t buy one of these PCs for single card solutions, and crossfire was absolutely horrible until recently, and even with software frame pacing the issue isn’t resolved for every game. Might have been a bit early to do it considering the new AMD cards are out in two weeks and nvidia is relegated to next year, but they probably needed to cut costs now.

      • Claudiu Peagu

        Neither is it flawless for nVidia either… Faceless commenter Nr. 21143221.