One of the less-talked hyped aspects of the modern graphics card purchase is the software bundle. Almost an "icing on the cake" kind of thing, people's decisions are usually swayed by other factors. Often times, games included are already owned by the consumer and are all but a waste.

In order to make the software bundle a little more compelling (without losing money by including all the latest games), Sapphire has adopted a new technology that allows customers to try any of a number of games for an hour each. After the trial period, the user can select which titles he or she wants. Sapphire will include a code that allows users to unlock a game or two for free, but all the rest of the titles included will be available for purchase (unlocking) online.

This allows the user the freedom to choose which games come with their graphics card, as well as gives them the ability to test out a few titles that they may never have played otherwise. It's been quite a while since the shareware boom, and to see the ability to try before you buy come back is definitely welcome.

As with anything, there are good and bad points to make about the technology. In order to understand just what they are, we'll walk through the process ourselves.

The Process In A Nutshell (Installation)
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  • stmok - Monday, June 13, 2005 - link

    I tend to agree that this seems more like a pointless exercise in being different.

    Everytime I purchase a video card, I delibrately pick a brand that does NOT have a software game bundle. (Brands like PixelView)

    All I need is the video card and the accessories/cables (TV-OUT, etc)...I don't use the included drivers on CD anyway.

    Better yet, just sell me the card and accessories. Companies save money, and we don't need to pay for crap that we don't want in the first place.
  • bigboxes - Thursday, June 9, 2005 - link


    Bullseye! Who needs to purchase a video card based on what software is bundled with it? Just give me the cheapest price and let me choose the games on my own. You will pay something extra for that "free" game.
  • stnicralisk - Thursday, June 9, 2005 - link

    This is a nice technology. I hope they use it for more than games. I want to choose what kind of other video related software I recieve too. I dont need ANOTHER copy of WinDVD give me something else instead.
  • Avalon - Wednesday, June 8, 2005 - link

    It would be great if you could opt to activate none of your free games to receive a small rebate towards the price you paid for your video card. That way those of us that don't care for any bundled games can get what they want, cheaper.
  • aka1nas - Wednesday, June 8, 2005 - link

    The biggest issue that I have with this system is that you can't use standard updates or mods. You have to hope that the developers will continue to support this version of their game seperately.
  • gbohn - Wednesday, June 8, 2005 - link

    #11 said "#9 You can simply backup your game, is that so hard?"


    A) Not everyone creates backups, and

    B) It's not clear what needs to be backed up. Some 'activation' systems hide the thing that needs to be backed up on a 'secret' part of the drive that a normal backup won't get to.

    Some 'activation' systems (say Windows) marry the software to your hardware. So, for all we know, a restore to a new system might not even work...

    Such are the possible joys of 'Digital Rights Management'.

    (Imagine if all your software was like that. Imagine the fun of having every piece of software you have needing to be re-activated (possibly needing to speak to someone in person for each) when you upgrade your system.)
  • yacoub - Wednesday, June 8, 2005 - link

    As long as there's an option to have NO bundle and get the hardware cheaper, I don't care what they do. I rarely want any software with a video card purchase. I'm generally buying a videocard because I already HAVE something that isn't running well on my current videocard.
  • flatblastard - Wednesday, June 8, 2005 - link

    I'm gonna have to agree with #8 on this one: "Worthless", is exactly how I would describe this. What I mean is that vid cards don't need to come bundled with "free" games and let's face it, their not "free", but rather the price is included in the purchase of the card. These companies would be doing us a greater service by including only what we need and nothing more. Of course, too much competition is what brings about these bundles and k00l product packaging.
    "Hey, look at our product. It's better than the competiton, just look at all the free games we give you!"
  • pzkfwg - Wednesday, June 8, 2005 - link

    First thing I thought when reading the article was as #9 and #10: what about intalling, uninstalling, reinstalling, etc.
    #11: If you have a new system, backup/image is not a solution, you need to reinstall.
  • Xenoterranos - Wednesday, June 8, 2005 - link

    I's say this is a step in the right direction. Imagine a subscription based system that let you play any of the games you wanted, provided it was on a one game per month basis or something. I'd say this is as close to renting PC video games as we're ever going to get. - Hey my first post - long time listener, first time caller!

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