VisionTek: No new player in graphics
While we haven't formally reviewed a product from VisionTek to date, several of their products have made their way into our hands. For instance, the ELSA GLADIAC GeForce2 GTS we reviewed last year was actually manufactured by VisionTek. While this may sound strange today, at the time VisionTek had a limited presence in the retail market. Rather than worrying about the marketing and distribution efforts that go into creating a successful retail product, the company chose to focus on its manufacturing expertise, leaving those aforementioned aspects to its customers.
The relationship worked out well for VisionTek and its partners -- each company could focus on what it does well. In addition, costs were kept to a minimum for everyone involved. However, despite the success VisionTek was having in the manufacturing business, it wasn't long before the company set its eyes on the retail market. While the OEM sector brings in considerable demand, the profit margins in the retail sector are higher. As a result, VisionTek slowly got its feet wet in retail, before launching a big push with its GeForce3 card earlier this year. Up until that point VisionTek cards were mainly sold through small computer shops and Internet retailers in white boxes; in early April the company signed on with major retailers such as Fry's, Babbage's, and Electronics Boutique.
Since entering the consumer segment, VisionTek has enjoyed considerable success. As the sole supplier of NVIDIA's reference cards, VisionTek has access to NVIDIA's latest products before its competitors. Once the product is officially released, this gives VisionTek a time-to-market advantage over its competitors, many of whom were its former partners. Combine this with the manufacturing prowess VisionTek possesses and it's no surprise to see how quickly VisionTek's products have caught on in the retail. As a result, many traditional retail players have stepped out of the US market; Creative Labs and ELSA are prominent examples.
Ecstasy in a graphics card
When NVIDIA launched its Titanium series of graphics cores, it was only natural that VisionTek would build products around them. However, in contrast to previous launches, VisionTek has begun to brand its Titanium cards under its Xtasy line. In particular, VisionTek offers the Xtasy 5864 (GeForce2 Titanium), Xtasy 6564 (GeForce3 Titanium 200), and Xtasy 6964 (GeForce3 Titanium 500).
To cut costs down to a minimum, none of the Xtasy cards ship with a game bundle. Instead, the Xtasy packaging contains a driver CD and quick installation manual. A free copy of PowerDVD can also be obtained by mailing in a postcard.
Considering that most software bundles that ships with graphics cards contains obsolete games and/or software we understand why VisionTek chose to skip the software bundle. Instead you get the bare essentials to get the card up and running. On the other hand however, the hardware that comprises the Xtasy line is a bit different.