Originally Posted by acreal
i know for sure people tend to identify to specific brands of hardware (CPU, MB, Memory, GPU, ...), and that the satisfaction factor is determinant, in that people buying brand X and being happy with the product and support won't go around and check another brand on their next buy
This is probably true, and indeed last time I bought an nvidia card because earlier experience showed that for the specific situation I needed a card for, nvidia was probably the best choice.
However, that does not mean that most of the sales of nvidia are determined by this mechanism.
At work we use Dell. For a while, we got nvidia cards in their Optiplex workstations. But at some point in time they switched to ATI. Little we can do about that, as a small customer. The systems are used with Windows, but even there the nvidia cards are more convenient than ati because of some properties of the driver when using two screens as an extended desktop.
(similar problems occur with other components; for example we bought a couple of 400SC lowcost servers for use as firewalls etc. Worked perfectly with Linux, nice MPT SCSI controller. Next order the 400 was replaced with the 420 where the MPT was replaced by an Adaptec fake-raid SCSI controller that did not work under Linux except for one specific distribution/release for which there was a binary driver module. Fortunately we bought only one at that time and could swap it with a 400 that was running Windows.)
Similarly, many computer buyers will probably buy a pre-configured system without really deciding on a brand of videocard. Fanatic gamers or Linux users of course are different, but I doubt that they represent the majority of the market.
Losing Dell as a customer probably means more than gaining some Linux users.