If there is one person who has the most influence on the hardware purchase decisions of a PC gamer, it's id Software's lead programmer John Carmack. The game engines he designed for titles like the Doom and Quake series have helped to push the idea of the 3D graphics accelerator card in PCs. For a time in the late 1990s and early 2000s Carmack helped to shape how the PC hardware industry developed their graphics chips and drivers because gamers wanted to play id's games at fast frame rates and high resolutions.
While id's influence on the PC hardware and graphics industry have lost some of their luster (due in part to id not releasing a new game for over six years) that may change with the release of Rage in September. id's first person shooter will be the debut of Carmack's next major graphics engine (id tech 5) and its visuals are already blowing people away at press events.
PC Gamer recently chatted with Carmack and asked him a simple question, "If you were to buy a graphics card right now, what would you get?". In typical Carmack fashion the answer was long, detailed and, ultimately, non-specific. While he admitted that id has had more development time with Nvidia-based cards he added, "You almost can’t make a bad decision with graphics cards nowadays. Any of the add-in cards from AMD or Nvidia are all insanely powerful."
He also talked about the integrated graphics chip business which usually can't handle running high end PC games like Rage. However that could change as well. Carmack says, "To some degree, it seems almost inevitable where the world of multi-hundred-dollar add-in cards are doing something that’s being done pretty well by an on-die chip. Not right now, maybe not next year, but it’s hard to imagine a world five years from now where you don’t have competent graphics on every CPU die."