|Traded as||NASDAQ: NVDA
S&P 500 Component
|Headquarters||Santa Clara, California, USA|
|Key people||Jen-Hsun Huang
(President & CEO)
|Products||Graphics processing units
Chipsets Video Game Handhelds
Nvidia Corporation (// in-VID-eeə) is an American global technology company based in Santa Clara, California. Nvidia manufactures graphics processing units (GPUs), as well as having a significant stake in manufacture of system-on-a-chip units (SOCs) for the mobile computing market. Nvidia's primary GPU product line labeled "GeForce" is in direct competition with AMD's "Radeon" products. Nvidia also joined the gaming industry with its handheld Nvidia Shield, as well as the tablet market with the Tegra Note 7.
In addition to GPU manufacturing, Nvidia provides parallel processing capabilities to researchers and scientists that allow them to efficiently run high-performance applications. They are deployed in supercomputing sites around the world. More recently, Nvidia has moved into the mobile computing market, where it produces Tegra mobile processors for smartphones and tablets, as well as vehicle infotainment systems. In addition to Advanced Micro Devices, its other competitors include Intel and Qualcomm.
Founders and initial investment
Three people co-founded Nvidia in 1993:
- Jen-Hsun Huang (As of 2013[update] CEO), a Taiwanese-born American, previously Director of CoreWare at LSI Logic and a microprocessor designer at Advanced Micro Devices (AMD).
- Chris Malachowsky, an electrical engineer who worked at Sun Microsystems.
- Curtis Priem, previously a senior staff engineer and graphics chip designer at Sun Microsystems.
Major releases and acquisitions
The autumn of 1999 saw the release of the GeForce 256 (NV10), most notably introducing on-board transformation and lighting (T&L) to consumer-level 3D hardware. Running at 120 MHz and featuring four pixel pipelines, it implemented advanced video acceleration, motion compensation, and hardware sub-picture alpha blending. The GeForce outperformed existing products by a wide margin.
Due to the success of its products, Nvidia won the contract to develop the graphics hardware for Microsoft's Xbox game console, which earned Nvidia a $200 million advance. However, the project drew the time of many of Nvidia's best engineers away from other projects. In the short term this did not matter, and the GeForce2 GTS shipped in the summer of 2000.
In July 2002, Nvidia acquired Exluna for an undisclosed sum. Exluna made software rendering tools and the personnel were merged into the Cg project.
In August 2003, Nvidia acquired MediaQ for approximately US$70 million.
On April 22, 2004, Nvidia acquired iReady, a provider of high performance TCP/IP and iSCSI offload solutions.
December 2004 saw the announcement that Nvidia would assist Sony with the design of the graphics processor (RSX) in the PlayStation 3 game console. In March 2006, it emerged that Nvidia would deliver RSX to Sony as an IP core, and that Sony alone would organize the manufacture of the RSX. Under the agreement, Nvidia would provide ongoing support to port the RSX to Sony's fabs of choice (Sony and Toshiba), as well as die shrinks to 65 nm. This practice contrasted with Nvidia's business arrangement with Microsoft, in which Nvidia managed production and delivery of the Xbox GPU through Nvidia's usual third-party foundry contracts. Meanwhile, in May 2005 Microsoft chose to license a design by ATI and to make its own manufacturing arrangements for the Xbox 360 graphics hardware, as had Nintendo for the Wii console (which succeeded the ATI-based Nintendo GameCube).
In December 2006, Nvidia, along with its main rival in the graphics industry AMD (which had acquired ATI), received subpoenas from the U.S. Department of Justice regarding possible antitrust violations in the graphics card industry.
In April 2009, a court consolidated multiple class action suits into one case, titled The NVIDIA GPU Litigation. NVIDIA agreed to replace faulty chips in or reimburse purchasers who already spent to get their laptop repaired. Nvidia also gave replacement laptops to many users in lieu of making a repair. The replacements and payments were not made until the settlement was finalized in 2011. Users were required to show proof of purchase and mail in their original faulty laptop. The chips were present in a number of Dell and HP laptops, as well as two Apple MacBook Pro models. Although the settlement cost Nvidia millions of dollars, many of the individuals were unhappy with the settlement, and multiple websites and blogs reflected this. The website entitled Fair Nvidia Settlement was one such site.
On January 10, 2011, Nvidia signed a six-year cross-licensing agreement with Intel, marking the end of all outstanding legal disputes between these two companies. According to the agreement, Intel agreed to pay Nvidia $1.5 billion in licensing fees in five annual installments.
On February 15, 2011, Nvidia announced and demonstrated the first quad-core processor for mobile devices at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. It was announced that the chip was expected to ship with many tablets to be released in the second half of 2011, and the chip, dubbed the Tegra 3, was released on November 9, 2011.
On July 29, 2013, NVIDIA Corporation announced that they acquired PGI from STMicroelectronics.
On January 6, 2013, Nvidia introduced at CES 2013, the Tegra 4 mobile processor (codename "Wayne"), containing 72 GPU cores, a Quad-core ARM Cortex-A15 CPU core, and LTE capability among its features.
On February 19, 2013, Nvidia announced the Tegra 4i (codename "Project Grey"), its first fully integrated 4G LTE mobile processor, featuring 5 times more GPU cores than Tegra 3, 1080p HD support, and Nvidia Chimera Computational Photography Architecture.
On January 6, 2014 Nvidia introduced at CES 2014, the Tegra K1 mobile processor (codename "Logan"), containing 192 GPU cores and a Quad ARM Cortex-A15 MPCore R3 + low power companion core (32-bit) or Dual-core Project Denver (64-bit). As of February 2014, Nvidia claims that the Tegra K1 outperforms both the Xbox 360 and the PS3 hardware.
Sales and market trends
According to a survey conducted by market watch firm Jon Peddie Research, Nvidia shipped an estimated 33 million graphics chips in the first quarter of 2010, for a market share of 31.5%. AMD and Intel shipped an estimated 25.15 million units (24.0% market share) and an estimated 45.49 million units (43.5% market share) respectively. Nvidia's year-to-year growth was 41.9%.
In August 2011, Nvidia predicted the growth of its revenues would be 4% to 6%, instead of 4%, as analysts said.
In September 2011, Nvidia forecast strong sales for 2013 in the region of $4.75bn to $5bn, which surpasses analysts expectations of $4.45bn.
Nvidia's product portfolio includes graphics processors, wireless communications processors, PC platform (motherboard core logic) chipsets, and digital media player software. Some of Nvidia's product families are:
- GeForce, the gaming graphics processing products for which Nvidia is best known.
- Quadro computer-aided design and digital content creation workstation graphics processing products.
- Tegra, a system on a chip series for mobile devices.
- Tesla, dedicated general purpose GPU for high-end image generation applications in professional and scientific fields.
- nForce, a motherboard chipset created by Nvidia for AMD Athlon and Duron microprocessors.
- The GPU of the original Xbox.
- The GPU of the PlayStation 3, RSX 'Reality Synthesizer.
Free and open-source software support
Until 23 September 2013 Nvidia has not published any documentation for its hardware, meaning that programmers could not write appropriate and effective free and open-source device driver for Nvidia's products without resorting to (clean room) reverse engineering.
Instead, Nvidia provides its own binary GeForce graphics drivers for X.Org and a thin open-source library that interfaces with the Linux, FreeBSD or Solaris kernels and the proprietary graphics software. Nvidia also provided but stopped supporting an obfuscated open-source driver that only supports two-dimensional hardware acceleration and ships with the X.Org distribution.
The proprietary nature of Nvidia's drivers has generated dissatisfaction within free-software communities. Some Linux and BSD users insist on using only open-source drivers, and regard Nvidia's insistence on providing nothing more than a binary-only driver as wholly inadequate, given that competing manufacturers (like Intel) offer support and documentation for open-source developers, and that others (like AMD) release partial documentation and provide some active development.
Because of the closed nature of the drivers, Nvidia video cards cannot deliver adequate features on some platforms and architectures given that Nvidia only provides x86/x64 driver builds. As a result, support for 3D graphics acceleration in Linux on PowerPC does not exist, nor does support for Linux on the hypervisor-restricted PlayStation 3 console.
Some users claim that Nvidia's Linux drivers impose artificial restrictions, like limiting the number of monitors that can be used at the same time, but the company has not commented on these accusations.
On February 14, 2002, the company restated the financial statements for the first three quarters of fiscal year 2002 and for the fiscal years 2001 and 2000 on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended January 27, 2002 filed on May 14, 2002. The adjustments to revenue reflected an adjustment in the recording of deferred revenues and in the accrual of a certain customer program. Adjustments to cost of revenues reflected primarily the recording of manufacturing costs, as well as the timing of inventory write-downs. Adjustments to operating expenses reflect primarily the timing of the recording of accruals.
- "NVIDIA CORP 2014 Annual Report Form (10-K)" (XBRL). United States Securities and Exchange Commission. March 13, 2014.
- "NVIDIA CORP 2015 Q1 Quarterly Report Form (10-Q)" (XBRL). United States Securities and Exchange Commission. May 21, 2014.
- YouTube – Nvidia: The Way It's Meant To Be Played
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- Williams, Elisa (April 15, 2002). "Crying wolf". Forbes. Retrieved 2009-08-10. "Huang, a chip designer at AMD and LSI Logic, cofounded the company in 1993 with $20 million from Sequoia Capital and others."
- Kanellos, Michael. "Nvidia buys out 3DFX". News.cnet.com. Retrieved 2010-11-09.
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- The Register Hardware news: Nvidia acquires Hybrid Graphics
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- Brian Caulfield (January 7, 2008). "Shoot to Kill". Forbes. Retrieved 2007-12-26.
- Press Release: Nvidia acquires PortalPlayer, dated January 5, 2007.
- "Nvidia to Acquire AGEIA Technologies". Nvidia.com. Retrieved 2010-11-09. (The press-release made no mention of the acquisition-cost nor of future plans for specific products.)
- "Nvidia Settlement". nvidiasettlement.com. Retrieved 2011-07-28.
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- "Intel to Pay Nvidia Technology Licensing Fees of $1.5 Billion". Retrieved 2011-01-10.
- "Nvidia Quad Core Mobile Processors Coming in August". PCWorld. Retrieved 2011-02-15.
- "Nvidia Quad-Core Tegra 3 Chip Sets New Standards of Mobile Computing Performance, Energy Efficiency". 2011-11-09.
- "Cambridge coup as Icera goes to Nvidia for £225m". Business Weekly. May 9, 2011. Retrieved May 10, 2011.
- "Nvidia to Acquire Baseband and RF Technology Leader Icera". Nvidia. Retrieved May 10, 2011.
- "NVIDIA Introduces World's Fastest Mobile Processor". Nvidia Corporation. January 6, 2013. Retrieved February 19, 2013.
- "NVIDIA Introduces Its First Integrated Tegra LTE Processor". Nvidia Corporation. February 19, 2013. Retrieved February 19, 2013.
- BBC. "CES 2014: Nvidia Tegra K1 offers leap in graphics power". Retrieved January 6, 2014.
- "Jon Peddie Research Announces First quarter Shipments of PC Graphics". Business Wire. April 26, 2010. Retrieved 2010-04-28.
- DON CLARK, Wall Street Journal. "Nvidia's Profit, Share Price Rise." Aug 12, 2011. Retrieved August 12, 2011.
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- "Nvidia Offers to Release Public Documentation on Certain Aspects of Their GPUs". 2013-09-23. Retrieved 2013-09-24.
- X.Org Wiki – nv
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- An overview of graphic card manufacturers and how well they work with Ubuntu[dead link] Ubuntu Gamer, January 10, 2011 (Article by Luke Benstead)
- Nvidia Unix Drivers Portal
- Nvidia Removed Linux Driver Feature Due to Windows
- "drm/nouveau: initial support for GK20A (Tegra K1)". 2014-01-31.
- "NVIDIA CORP".
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