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iXBT Brand 2004: Readers' Choice

January 7, 2005

2004 will soon be over and we again conduct our poll, already habitual for our readers, to sum up honorable and prestigious vendors and traders.

The results of the previous poll brought no unexpected surprises. Market leaders try to maintain their brands often even to the detriment of their profits. Out of doubt, a brand considerably determines customers' trust level and consequently affects the sales level. At the same time one should note that despite big words of many new comers to the Russian market (who are often seasoned participants of the world market) they didn't achieve any considerable success yet. Most frequently it happens due to one simple reason – the big words are not followed by anything confirming serious intentions of a manufacturer.

We have heard so many times from new vendors about the obvious importance of our market, about global development plans for their brands on our market, about boundless new opportunities for customers... It looks as though in a year Japanese customers would be sorry they couldn't buy computer components in russian stores.

But time passes by, and the leading brands of the market retain their positions or even reinforce them, while newcomers in most cases try to attract new customers only by low prices for their solutions.

We have also proceeded with our practice, started last year, to select the best vendor on the Russian market. As it had to be expected, the selected leaders are those companies that offer additional services instead of only products. I think a lot of readers will agree that low prices are not enough these days. Customers appreciate their own time now, they are more thorough with their choices, demand more respect to themselves. Companies that are still trying to work the old way inevitably lose their positions. It will go on like this until those vendors learn to see a buyer of a mouse not just as a low-profit object requiring extra time, but as a client who will be potentially ready to buy much more expensive equipment in future.

As in previous years, you, our readers, helped us decide who deserves the sonorous title "iXBT Brand". This time we have slightly modified the poll and award systems. Having analyzed the results of previous years, we came to a conclusion that two poll tours are inexpedient, as the leaders retain their ratings with minimum percent changes. At the same time, to speak of considerable advantage of one company over another with minimum poll difference is not always correct. That's why this year we introduce "silver" and "bronze" brands. The main title – golden "iXBT Brand" – is awarded to an indisputable leader of our poll. In case it's not possible to define an indisputable leader, for example, two brands are on a par, then both brands get the silver awards. It also seems reasonable to us not to award the second (or third) brand, who didn't manage to scrape 5% of votes. As a result, we have the honour to present you an orderly row of companies most respected by iXBT.com readers in the expiring year.

You can see the poll results at this link:

"iXBT Brand 2004 – Readers' Choice" Poll Results

We haven't forgotten about the promised prizes either. We shall be glad to work even during holidays so that our web site can publish information about prizewinners in the nearest future. Some of them already have their prizes shipped, so that the lucky guys get their presents by the New Year Holidays.

iXBT Brand 2004: Readers' Choice, CPU nomination

Our readers have been selecting the AMD company as a brand of the year for four years already. High performance and relatively inexpensive processors from this company are very popular among many users and fans of this brand. As far as we can notice, such users are the majority among our readers. Over seven hundred readers voted for this brand, which is 67.7% of the total number of voters. That's almost the same number of votes as were given to AMD last year. This company does not already feature that impressive 10% gain demonstrated in 2002. On the whole, the company retains its "almost 70%" and Intel seems to have to take special steps to attract a larger part of our audience. Remember that in 2001 AMD won 70.6% of votes.

To our mind, Intel deserves the "iXBT Brand" title, even if it's only silver. Anyway, this corporation is a CPU trendsetter and is the only reference-point for many companies both in technologies and in management, business development and partner relations. Perhaps, if Intel offered prices comparable with its competitor, the share of voters for this company would have been considerably larger. But now it has only a tad more than thirty percents of voters.

iXBT Brand 2004: Readers' Choice, CPU Cooling Systems nomination

Almost half of the voters consider the products from Zalman to be the best. 42.1% or 4618 people put Zalman to the first place in the CPU Cooling Systems nomination.

GlacialTech can boast of attractive prices at moderate noise levels in most models from this company. These features attracted 21.5% of voters.

ThermalTake is an old-timer on the coolers market. A wide range of products and solutions for any CPU types allowed the company to take only the third place with its 1367 votes.

iXBT Brand 2004: Readers' Choice, Memory Modules Manufacturer nomination

Products from Kingston have always been considered High-End memory modules. Kingston has always declared increased reliability and performance of its products. Quite substantiated in most cases. One third of voters (33.1%) agrees with that and puts the company to the first place.

Many people try to buy so called "original" Samsung memory modules, as only in this case they think they can get high-quality products worthy of the "iXBT Brand" title. 2530 (22.9%) voters stick to this opinion, but it allows Samsung to occupy only the second line of our poll.

Hynix – affordable memory at low prices. 1402 people think that these characteristics may serve the ground to become a brand of the year in our poll. But these 12.7% of the voters raised Hynix to the bronze brand in this nomination so far.

iXBT Brand 2004: Readers' Choice, Motherboards nomination

ASUSTeK, offering high performance and reliable motherboards, systematically grows the number of its fans. It has conquered 43.9% of votes (4963 people), thus increasing its result by more than 9% in comparison with the previous year. Remember that in 2002 this company had only 22% of our readers' votes.

EPoX cannot boast of increased votes number for its brand. Nevertheless, this company has steadily taken the second place for the third year already, which speaks of the high trust our readers put into the products from this company.

Gigabyte usually follows right on the heels of ASUSTeK and the world sales volume of its products confirms this order of things. But our readers put this brand only on the third place – 1430 votes. It's hard to say why EPoX won greater recognition among our readers than this respected company. But the fact remains: in comparison with the previous year, Gigabyte has lost almost 6% of iXBT.com audience votes. While in 2001 Gigabyte took the second place with its 18.4%.

iXBT Brand 2004: Readers' Choice, Intel Chipset Developer nomination

It goes without saying, one can hardly offer a better chipset for Intel processors than Intel corporation. 78.9% of the poll participants agreed with this point, having unconditionally planted this company on the first place.

VIA has always been famous for its better balanced solutions in terms of prices, and this fact has been noted by 8.5% of voters, which allowed VIA to take the second place in this nomination.

Fast ATI graphics core integrated into the chipset surely hit the taste of those 8% of voters, who suggested the Canadian company for the "iXBT Brand" title.

iXBT Brand 2004: AMD Chipset Developer

7760 people found the stable and fast NVIDIA chipsets for AMD to their liking, it's 70.6% of all the voters. These votes allow us to award NVIDIA with the "iXBT Brand" title in this nomination.

In its time VIA used to be actually a monopolist on the AMD chipsets market. Today only 1738 (15.8%) participants of the poll voted that VIA manufactures the best chipsets for AMD processors.

AMD, like Intel, cannot boast that it manufactures the best chipsets for its processors. But 854 people still gave their votes for this company, thus placing this company in the third line of our rating.

iXBT Brand 2004: Readers' Choice, Graphics Processor (GPU) Developer nomination

Each year the company demonstrates its superiority over its closest competitor. The year before last ATI's victory was not impressive, because the closest competitor (NVIDIA) was short of just one percent to replace ATI on the first place. Last year ATI made a noticeable dash, having won sympathies of 70.2% voters, and that result was almost 30% higher than in the previous year! This year the breakaway from the closest competitor is not that considerable, but over a thousand of votes is a telling argument.

NVIDIA products have always been powerful solutions. The launch of the sixth series of chips consolidated the company's position on the market, but this brand still obviously lacked something to overcome its competitor. Perhaps some people are right to think that the launch of Half Life 2 supported by ATI, which is more successful than DOOM III, played its role. Perhaps the recent release of X850XT scored ATI additional points. But one thing is clear: ATI will have to work hard the next year to retain its leadership.

iXBT Brand 2004: Readers' Choice, TV Tuners Manufacturer nomination

AverMedia is the most popular brand on the Russian market, plus the recent AverTV Studio Model 305/307 with good features and bundled software adapted for peculiarities of Russian TV broadcasting. All these have given AverMedia an opportunity to win the "iXBT Brand" title by a majority of votes (6612).

LifeView, who sells its models under the FlyTV brand, managed to gain scarcely more than five percents of votes. The best price/quality combination with third party software – silver brand.

GOTVIEW goes right after LifeView, it was the first in Russia to open a sterling tech support forum for such devices. Plus it uses one of the best alternative programs (FlyDS) as its standard software. Minimum difference with LifeView allows us to award it with the silver "iXBT Brand" as well.

iXBT Brand 2004: Readers' Choice, Video Cards nomination

ASUSTeK again was declared by our readers to manufacture the best video cards, 35.9% votes. Last year we wondered whether the agreement signed between ASUSTeK and ATI would strengthen positions of the Taiwanese giant. But, as we can see, ASUS climbed down a little.

Sapphire also has lost some ground – about six percents in comparison with the previous year. Nevertheless, this key partner of ATI is confident on the Russian market, our poll results confirm that fact.

As in case with the motherboards, Gigabyte has lost about 3% in video cards in comparison with the previous year, having reached the 7.9% mark. These results allow the company to take only the bronze.

iXBT Brand 2004: Readers' Choice, Optical Storage Devices nomination

This year NEC managed to push the former leader (TEAC) from the podium. Last year we noticed the dropping curve of trust to the TEAC brand. As a result, inexpensive but rather reliable and functional NEC drives brought this company 22.1% of votes and the right to take the first place.

52.2%, 30.5% and now – 16.7%: that's how the TEAC branding developed among our audience. Though, if you remember not that distant a past – TEAC drives used to successfully replace expensive Plextor drives and the trust level for this brand was quite impressive.

Deposit obtained many years ago still serves Plextor well. Even when the market seems to offer no Plextor CD-RW or CD-ROM, this brand is considered the best by 1373 people, that is 12.3% of all voters.

iXBT Brand 2004: Readers' Choice, DVD Recorders nomination

Over one third of voters said that NEC is the brand of the year in terms of DVD recorders. This is not surprising. The same three criteria: "affordable, reliable, performance" that made NEC the leader last year with its 23.1%, have brought the company success this year as well.

Plextor was short of 23 votes to be able to push TEAC down. It managed to do it this year. 12.2% (1321 votes) and the second rating in our poll.

This is definitely a bad year for TEAC. The company has lost the leadership in both key nominations. 6.4% – that's exactly what this brand has lost in comparison with the previous year.

iXBT Brand 2004: Readers' Choice, Optical Storage Media nomination

The giant of the media market – Verbatim – has always offered clients high-quality and up-to-date products. Over 3700 people (51.5%) gave their votes to this manufacturer in the last year poll. This year the percentage is lower, though the number of fans of this brand remained approximately on the same level – 37.5% or 3977 votes. These results are close to those of 2002, when Verbatim had been voted by 37% participants.

Another big player on the media market – TDK – has earned the trust of 16.9% of voters, while the last year this figure was 20.3%.

Perhaps the main phenomenon of our poll. TEAC has never been that noticeable on the optical media market. At least on the Russian market. The only sound explanation we can give for this fact is that our readers liked those discs bundled with retail TEAC drives. That's why 847 votes (8.2%) and the third place is for TEAC.

iXBT Brand 2004: Readers' Choice, Hard Disks nomination


"Fish" from Seagate is still more popular than "caviar" from Western Digital. Seagate has been consolidating its positions for the third year already. We can witness more than 3% of growth to 49.2% in comparison with the previous year.

Western Digital is the age-long competitor of Seagate. Having evaluated the tendency, you will see that Seagate has nothing to be afraid of these days. In comparison with the previous year WD even slowed down a little and lost about 3%, which were obviously added to the assets of the competitor.

Samsung has been developing rather dynamically on the hard disks market, but still not that successfully as was predicted for the Korean company by marketing guys. Though, Samsung had an opportunity to outrun WD, being short of just 1.3% or 154 votes. If the tendency remains, the next year we may see a new silver winner.

iXBT Brand 2004: Readers' Choice, Integrated Audio nomination

Integrated audio solutions are increasingly popular. According to our readers, NVIDIA achieved the best results in this sphere. That's the idea of 4569 readers or 43.3%, which is less by almost 11% than the last year results.

A comparatively new player on the integrated audio market – Realtek – has made a good start in its history of our poll. 17.6% users voted for this company.

Last year C-Media chips were acknowledged the best by a considerable part of our audience as well, but they comprised a good quarter of all voters then. But now, like Realtek, C-Media gained 17.6% votes, having lost only two votes to the former. That's why we decided that C-Media should also be awarded the title of the silver brand of the year.

iXBT Brand 2004: Readers' Choice, PCI and USB Sound Cards nomination

Creative has been an unconditional leader on the sound cards market for many years. At least that's the idea of 9433 our readers, which is no less than 87.4%

Considering the fact that the other brands didn't manage to scrape even 5% votes, it would have been groundless to reward them with silver or bronze with these results.

iXBT Brand 2004: Readers' Choice, Barebone-kits Manufacturer nomination

Terminators or coffee machines are all barebone-kits from ASUS. 3320 people consider them the best on the market.

One shouldn't forget about the company which was one of the first to design and offer barebone-kits – Shuttle. 18.3% of voters nominated this brand, which allowed this company to take the second place and win the title of the silver brand.

Original design and advanced functionality of MSI barebone-kits pleased 1651 people (17.6%). Having lost less than one percent to Shuttle, MSI has taken the third place in this nomination.

iXBT Brand 2004: Readers' Choice, Portable MP3 Players Manufacturer nomination

iRiver has been the most popular manufacturer in Russia for a long time, due to its good models for various strata of society (from cheap MP3/CD, which are already deserted by many manufacturers) to top models. Besides, there is some effect from constant releases of regular "improvements". They are very often useless, but... Almost half (45.62%) of our readers preferred this company in this poll. One should note that it's 4% less than the previous year, though.

Creative has made a good advancement for the last year (when at last it started normal operations on our market). Besides their HDD players have been always popular – quite affordable price for the excellent quality. At least that's the idea of 10.5% voters. But despite all its advancements, the brand has lost almost 3%.

Sony manufactures practically no MP3-players as such (if you don't take into account CD-models). However that's the effect of (1) love of the brand and (2) a large army of old MD fans. But again – these fans and those who just watch for news have noticed the latest initiative started at the second half of the year – the appearance of Hi-MD. However, as we can see, this initiative and the entire reputation were still not enough to compete with multimedia companies. Thus, 9.3% and the third place.

iXBT Brand 2004: Readers' Choice, PC Acoustics nomination

SVEN has been the leader of our poll for three years running already. A snug part of the company's success is due to the SVEN-Audio brand manufacturing Hi-Fi componentry. At the same time, this year the company managed to "scrape" only 29.7% votes, while the last year this company was preferred by 41.8% iXBT.com readers participating in the poll, that's two percents more than in 2002.

It's hardly probable that the important role in the loss of SVEN scores is played by Creative, who scored 19% votes, while in the most successful 2003 year this company gained 32.1% votes.

The third winner – Microlab – loses practically no percentage weight, but gains an increasing number of votes. 1725 people voted for this brand, in comparison with 1237 people last year.

iXBT Brand 2004: Readers' Choice, Digital Cameras nomination

Repeating the last year's success, Canon has again reached the top with its 36.1% votes (3851 people). Canon is recognized and used by many professionals as the most functional cameras, our poll is just another proof of that fact.

Two years ago Olympus used to be a steady leader. But now the tendency shows a decreasing popularity of Olympus. 19.3% versus 31.5% last year called this company the brand of the expiring year.

Nikon has also weakened a little, it attracted only 13.8% of votes, which actually does not close out its chance to rise to the second place next year.

iXBT Brand 2004: Readers' Choice, Digital Video Cameras nomination

Sony is a positive leader on the market of consumer electronics, which equally concerns the market of video cameras as well. 38.7% of all poll participants voted for the Japanese giant and raised it to the top line in this nomination.

Canon also feels confident on the video cameras market, which allowed it to take the second place in our rating, it collected 2205 votes (22.4%)

Panasonic is outscored by Canon only by 0.2%, and so we think that this brand deserves the silver award as well.

iXBT Brand 2004: Readers' Choice, LCD Monitors nomination

Perhaps it would have been strange to see another brand in this place. Samsung monitors have always been deservedly popular due to their praiseworthy image quality and moderate prices. 2943 (27.4%) users think that Samsung is worthy of the "iXBT Brand" title this year.

Joint venture NEC/Mitsubishi offers high quality models under the NEC brand. Our readers already appreciated the quality by raising NEC to the second place from the fourth position last year. 13.8% (1482 votes) – that's a real growth of the brand.

Considering the tight position of LG, Sony and BenQ in the resulting rating, we have this interesting trio on the third place. The three companies scored 10% votes each.

iXBT Brand 2004: Readers' Choice, CRT Monitors nomination

The Korean giant still pays enough attention to the CRT market by offering high quality and inexpensive solutions. Samsung got even a tad more votes in this nomination than for LCD monitors. 2998 votes or 28% voters selected this brand as the leader.

We already got used to seeing NEC/Mitsubishi boxes from the joint venture offering high quality solutions. Technological merger of these companies did only good to the conjoint brand. 2348 votes or 21.9% are a telling argument for the second place, which allows to fight for the first place in the coming year.

Iiyama receives special attention from designers and users making great demands of image quality. 17% voters preferred this brand.

iXBT Brand 2004: Readers' Choice, Ink-Jet Printers nomination

Our poll has not made out a certain leader between HP and Epson. Both companies scored almost 38% votes each. In this connection we award both companies with the silver brand title. Let's hope that the next year will help users feel the advantage of one company over the other.

Epson – a worthy battle. Especially taking into account a considerable (almost 10%) leeway from HP in the last years.

The battle between HP and Epson allowed Canon to consolidate its positions a little by increasing its influence on our readers by 2% to 18.7% in the expiring year.

iXBT Brand 2004: Readers' Choice, Laser Printers nomination

While HP has quite serious competitors on the ink-jet printers market, the leadership of HP in the area of laser printers can hardly be impeached. The company possesses a great number of proprietary designs and impressive experience in this field. 6991 (65.3%) people consider HP laser printers to be the best in 2004.

Samsung has been trying to snap off a piece of the "laser market" from HP for a long time. The larger the better. The Korean company is doing well so far on the market of inexpensive devices for home use. 9.7% readers, which is over 1000 people, consider Samsung the brand of the expiring year.

Considering the minimum difference between Samsung and Canon, the latter is also rewarded with silver. Canon is mostly oriented at inexpensive laser solutions for home and small office use as well. It has helped the company to maintain its rating of the "laser brand" at 10% for three years already.

iXBT Brand 2004: Readers' Choice, Scanners nomination

HP has somewhat weaker positions on the market of scanning devices. That's not the forty percents voted last year (2657 people) – this year almost a third of all participants (3312 people) voted for HP in this nomination.

And again HP is followed by Epson, who is outscored by the leader only by 6%. 2711 people or 26.2% of all voters consider Epson to make the most considerable contribution into the development of scanning industry in 2004. There were only 24.8% such users last year.

Mustek is inexpensive and functional. These characteristics of Mustek scanners allowed this company to gain 13.4% iXBT.com readers.

iXBT Brand 2004: Readers' Choice, Mice nomination

Logitech with its reliable, functional and stylish mice gained 6333 users (55.5%). Though this brand has lost some of its popularity percentagewise, this company is obviously growing its presence and reputation on the market. And we are glad to congratulate this company with another "iXBT brand" 2004 title.

Mice are consumable devices as a rule, few people can afford to spend dozens of dollars for a new "rodent". A4Tech with its inexpensive but reliable solutions deserves its 14.1% votes. The company moved one line up in comparison with the last year.

And, correspondingly, Genius moved one line down, giving up its place to A4Tech. Perhaps the times of "Genius is Brand #1 in the world" are gone. Only 11.9% of voters selected Genius as their favorite.

iXBT Brand 2004: Readers' Choice, Keyboards nomination

Besides its successful mice models, Logitech manufactures keyboards equally successful in all respects. Over a third of our readers (38.3%) preferred this manufacturer. Logitech demonstrates noticeable growth in this nomination compared to previous years.

Genius is doing much better on the keyboard front than in the previous nomination. 13.2% of poll participants voted for Genius, which allowed this company to rise to the second line in comparison with the previous year.

A year ago just two votes allowed Mitsumi to take the second line. This year Mitsumi lost its advantage and was outscored by Genius by almost 1.5%.

iXBT Brand 2004: Readers' Choice, Handheld Computers/PDA nomination

The merger of HP with another giant, Compaq, with its successful iPaq solutions, allowed HP to expand and enhance its series of handhelds under its own brand. Thus the company gained considerable number of votes from 16.6% last year to 38.2% this year (3690 votes).

Two years ago ASUS presented its first handhelds on CeBIT. No one thought at that time that this company would seriously press palmOne in our poll and would take the second place with its 17.5% of readers' votes. As a result it gets the silver brand.

palmOne and handhelds have been practically synonyms for a long time. Solutions from this manufacturer had a lot of advantages at that time: they were widely spread on the market at various prices. But even a year ago we noted almost a 10% drop in the "popularity index" of this brand. As a result, only 13.3% of voters selected palmOne this year.

iXBT Brand 2004: Readers' Choice, Analog Modems nomination

Modems are probably the most conservative industry and ZyXEL continues to offer analog solutions for the Russian market. That's why it has won in this nomination, in our opinion. ZyXEL gained 4391 votes of our readers – this is over forty percents of all voters.

U.S.Robotics modems have been a high quality standard in Russia for a long time. Plenty of firmware versions, detailed documentation and command descriptions allowed to configure these modems properly even in the worst phone lines with step-by-step exchange. Times change, but U.S.Robotics modems are still selling well. 26.3% of our readers would like to see this company as a brand of the year in this nomination.

Production of this company provokes only smiles in most people. Nevertheless, Acorp modems are of a high quality. Fortunately, these modems are based on a good chipset. 13.5% – that's even an increase compared to 2003.

iXBT Brand 2004: Readers' Choice, Notebooks nomination

ASUSTeK has been fighting for the first line in our rating for three years, gradually improving its rating. This year the company gained its end – a quarter of voters has preferred this Taiwanese manufacturer, which allowed ASUS to take the first place with its 2452 votes.

Toshiba's positions have been pressed by ASUS. The eminent company had to content itself with just 16.7% of votes, while last year Toshiba confidently gained 29%.

The third place is shared by HP and iRU, who got 7.9% of votes each. One should note an obvious success of both companies, who replaced RoverBook and IBM.

iXBT Brand 2004: Readers' Choice, Mobile Phones Manufacturer nomination

Nokia has been one of the Russian market leaders for a long time. Constantly updating phone line, plenty of available functions, stylish design – these are far from all peculiarities that were taken into account by the 30% of Nokia voters.

Another large player on the mobile market – Siemens – also has an impressive number of fans. Devices from this manufacturer are no less interesting and elegant, but only for 21% of voters, which is enough only for silver.

19% gained by Sony Ericsson bring this company to the third place and bronze "iXBT Brand".

December 7, 2004

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