Lest there was any doubt that ASUS was planning to roll out a new AREZ sub-brand for AMD's Radeon Series graphics cards, it's now official—ASUS announced the new "brand identity" for its lineup of Radeon RX products, explaining that it's derived from Arex, the Greek god of war. It's an appropriate designation, giving that AMD is going to war with NVIDIA over its GeForce Partner Program (GPP).
The controversial program rewards add-in board (AIB) partners with a bevy of perks, including marketing funds and special promotions, in exchange for aligning their gaming brands exclusive with GeForce products. ASUS has not gone on the record saying it has joined the program, but with the release of AREZ, the writing is on the wall. Going forward, we expect that its Republic of Gamers (ROG) brand will only be used on GeForce cards and other products containing a GeForce GPU.
What's potentially controversial about the program is that off the record, multiple companies told Kyle Bennett at HardOCP that they feared NVIDIA would hold back GPU allocations to non-participants even though it's not outline in GPP's terms. If true (and we don't know that it is), it puts AIBs in the precarious position of trying appease NVIDIA without abandoning AMD. And even if it's not true, there is still a balancing act that comes from aligning a gaming brand like ROG with one particular company while selling gaming products from another.
In this case, ASUS wants to assure customers that it is still very much involved with AMD and its Radeon products.
"The new AREZ brand underlines the strong working partnership between ASUS and AMD that spans decades," ASUS said. "Gamers and enthusiasts will enjoy a combination of exclusive ASUS innovations and technologies and AMD's Radeon graphics processors and software."
As previously rumored, ASUS is attaching the AREZ brand to four card families, including the AREZ Expedition, AREZ Phoenix, AREX Strix, and AREZ Dual. There are multiple cards within each of those four categories—20 SKUs in all, randing from the AREZ Phoenix Radeon RX 550 to an overclocked AREZ Strix Radeon RX Vega 64.
"Gamers around the world rally behind AMD Radeon because of what the Radeon name stands for: a dedication to open innovation such as our contributions to the DirectX and Vulkan APIs, a commitment to true transparency through industry standards like Radeon FreeSync technology, and a desire to expand the PC gaming ecosystem by enabling developers to take advantage of all graphics hardware, including AMD Radeon graphics. We invite gamers everywhere who believe in these values and the value of the exceptional gaming experience Radeon graphics delivers to join the Red team," said Scott Herkelman, Vice President and General Manager, AMD Radeon Technologies Group.
Underneath the marketing, the new AREZ cards are the same as before, with custom cooling solutions and high-end "Super Alloy Power II" components. Looking down the road, however, it will be interesting to see how NVIDIA and ASUS react when and if AREZ becomes known as a gaming brand.