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Are Founders Edition Cards Better?

Shopping for graphics cards is never an easy thing to do. There’s just so many options out there, but so little availability, and the pricing can make or break your decision.

Over the last few years, the availability and pricing of certain graphics cards have been an issue due to cryptomining. Miners hoarded certain brands and models of graphics cards to the point that MSRP has more than tripled. In conjunction with the Covid-19 Pandemic, people weren’t able to get their hands on the graphics cards that they want. But thankfully, prices and stocks of these previously hoarded graphics cards are going back to normal.

Another thing to note is that the hoarded graphics cards were all regular graphics cards and not Founders Edition graphics cards. The latter is what Nvidia has recently done over the last few years.

But why have miners avoided these Founders Edition graphics cards if they’re special? Or why wasn’t anyone paying attention to these particular lines of Nvidia graphics cards? Are Founders Edition cards better? Those are the questions that we’ll be answering in this article, and we’ll explain more about what makes these graphics cards as unique and as powerful as they are.

What is a Founders Edition Graphics Card?

RTX 3090 Are Founders Edition Cards Better

Founders Edition graphics cards are graphics cards that are made by Nvidia directly and sold on their website and other retailers. Simply put, Nvidia puts the best chips and parts to make these Founders Edition, so expect it to be powerful minus the burden of being expensive.

What is an AIB Partner?

AIB stands for Add-In-Board Partner. These are the third-party companies that take chips made by Nvidia, AMD, and Intel to turn into full graphics cards. The AIB partners will be the one to add the cooling systems, housing, and other parts of the graphics cards on top of the chips provided by the manufacturers.

It’s a common misconception to think that AMD and Nvidia, and soon to be Intel, make their own graphics cards. Rather, they only make the chips based on their specs, cooling, architecture, and so on.

Just Bin It?

Nvidia and AMD both utter the term BIN for every graphics card they produce. And no, this isn’t what you think it is.

AMD and Nvidia aren’t throwing away their graphics cards when you hear the word BIN. Rather, this is their way of sorting out cards based on performance.

For chips that do well enough and pass their standards, they get into a Founders Edition graphics card. Otherwise, the chip goes to the AIB partners.

Are Founders Edition Graphics Cards Different from Reference Cards?

Both Founders Edition and Reference Cards are similar in history, but they’re actually different products. They both go through the Binning process to determine which chip goes into a Founders Edition or Reference Card, or to an AIB partner.

Reference Cards are standard-issue GPUs from AMD. They are standard in terms of specs and cooling, and the design is pretty simplistic. These cards are sort of a “reference” point for other graphics cards using similar chips.

Reference Cards are a PC builder’s best friend because these are cheaper to acquire than an AIB graphics card. Reference cards also deliver more computing power, but minus the cost associated with such power.

Nvidia used to do this up until 2016 when they decided they would just break into the market and compete with the AIB partners instead of offering cheaper graphics cards to the market. So Founders Edition graphics cards are competing with their AIB partners, but the specs are just as similar to AMD’s Reference Cards.

A Founders Edition card and Reference Car will both share the same clock speeds and graphics memory, but the former is designed to compete with other high-end graphics cards so expect the pricing to be higher than the latter.

How Do You Purchase a Founders Edition Card?

The first place to see availability for a Founders Edition card is the official Nvidia website. Their online shop is updated with stocks and pricing, especially with Founders Edition graphics cards.

Best Buy and other third-party retailers will also be carrying Founders Edition cards, but expect them to be more expensive than the cards found at Nvidia due to markup as well as fluctuation of stock availability.

Are Founders Edition Graphics Cards Rare?

If you think some regular graphics cards are rare, then Founders Editions are definitely rarer. You see, Nvidia doesn’t spend all year making these cards. They do a limited run for certain models because they don’t have a manufacturing capacity similar to that of AIB partners.

Founders Edition GPUs are also in demand because of their specs and price tag, as well as a unique design. Founders Editions of GeForce RTX graphics cards are also going to be difficult to locate too.

Founders Edition GPU vs Regular GPU (AIG) – Which Is Better?

Is there a difference between a Founders Edition GPU and a regular Nvidia graphics card?

For this section, we’ll be looking at performance, pricing, and of course, which one’s better for your systme.

Founders Edition Cards vs Regular GPU

Let’s do a head-to-head comparison of Founders Edition graphics cards and regular graphics cards. Which costs less, which has better performance, and most importantly, which is better for your PC?

When AMD or Nvidia create a new graphics chip or processor, they’ll define the minimum hardware specs or reference design, that other manufacturers will need to follow to create the GPUs that house the new chips.

Nvidia and AMD will also give out the specifications to their AIB partners who’ll build these cards, along with the freedom to improve upon the reference design. AIB partners will then create customized cards as long as they meet minimum requirements. Overclocked versions of GPUs are good examples of customized graphics cards from AIB partners.

Clock Speed

Nvidia is known for cherry-picking only the finest chips for their Founders Edition cards, so you’re definitely getting some advantage in terms of performance over the AIB cards. It’s not surprising to see Founders Edition cards with higher clock speeds than the reference cards.

But some custom AIB cards have higher clock speeds than Founders Editions, so that’s also a point to consider. You see, while Nvidia may hoard their best GPU chips, AIB partners will sort out their GPU allotment based on performance factors such as overclocking ability. You’ll often get a very capable GPU paired with over-the-top power delivery systems and high-quality components that allows you to squeeze more out of your chip

Which is better?

As much as we don’t want to admit it, AIB cards will have the upper hand here because they are more capable of pushing their parts further than Nvidia. That’s why most AIBs have higher boost clock speeds than Founders Edition.

Overclocking

As mentioned earlier, AIB cards are better suited for overclocking as they’ll have added features like extra copper in their circuitry to handle the increase of power input. Remember, Nvidia won’t have the same manufacturing capability as its AIB partners, so they’re pretty much stuck with whatever it is they are capable of producing.

Which is better?

Hands down, AIB cards are better in terms of overclocking not only because of performance but because these cards are far more capable of handling overclocking.

Pricing

Founders Editions have premium price tags over their AIB counterparts’ MSRP. With the issue of certain AIB partner cards being priced higher than Nvidia Founders Editions, comparing MSRP might be irrelevant for the time-being.

If you want cheaper but powerful cards, you might want to go for AMD’s reference design cards, like the RX Vega or Vega Pro series. You should be able to find AMD Vega cards from Asus, Sapphire, and Gigabyte. Mid-tier reference cards are the RX 580 and RX 590, which are available from different AIBs.

Which is better?

AIB will take this section, but only because Founders Editions are generally expensive by default.

Availability

Nvidia Founders Editions are easier to acquire through the official Nvidia website and third-party retailers.

When Nvidia launches a new chip or GPU architecture, they’ll be the first one to manufacture the graphics cards before they hit the market. AIB partners need to wait for the specifications to be sent in by Nvidia before they can manufacturer.

However, AIB partners can produce cards and bring it to market very quickly, and some of them will already have improved features that you won’t find on the Founders Editions. But even then, Founders Editions have already been in the market for quite a while.

Which is better?

Founders Edition graphics cards take the cake here because there are people out there who don’t like to wait for the add in board partners.

The Wrap Up

It’s difficult to tell whether or not Founders Editions are better than their AIB counterparts, given that the latter has already been improved on. The graphics card market isn’t exactly flooded with Founders Editions because they’re produced on a limited run.

Is it worth it to get Founders Edition cards? Yes, it is.

Will they be better than AIB partners? More or less.

Nvidia’s graphics cards are always going to be the best in the graphics card market. Whether you get a Founders Edition or AIB card, it’s a good decision to pick Nvidia.

James Stephenson

james stephenson profile picJames is a gaming and tech enthusiast. He has been playing computer games since the Commodore 64 days in the 80s. He has worked as a Broadcast Engineer with BBC News and knows a thing or two about building, fixing, and playing with PCs.