Coordinates: 37°22′14.62″N 121°57′49.46″W / 37.3707278°N 121.9637389°W / 37.3707278; -121.9637389

Nvidia Corporation
Type Public company
Industry Specialized semiconductors
Founded 1993
Founder(s) Jen-Hsun Huang
Chris Malachowsky
Curtis Priem
Headquarters Santa Clara, California, USA
Area served Worldwide
Key people Jen-Hsun Huang (President, CEO)
Products Graphics processing units
Revenue increase US$3.326 billion (2010)
Operating income decrease $98.945 million (2010)
Net income decrease $67.987 million (2010)
Total assets increase $3.586 billion (2010)
Total equity increase $2.665 billion (2010)
Employees 6,029 (2010)
Website nvidia.com
Nvidia headquarters in Santa Clara

Nvidia (NASDAQNVDA; play /ɪnˈvɪdiə/ in-vid-ee-ə)[1] is an American global technology company based in Santa Clara, California. The company invented the graphics processing unit (GPU) in 1999.[2] GPUs drive the computer graphics in games and in applications used by professional designers. Their parallel processing capabilities provide researchers and scientists with the ability to efficiently run high-performance applications, and they are deployed in supercomputing sites around the world.[3][4] More recently, Nvidia has moved into the mobile computing market, where its processors power phones and tablets, as well as auto infotainment systems.[5][6][7] Its competitors include Intel, AMD and Qualcomm.


Graphics-card families

Nvidia's product portfolio includes graphics processors, wireless communications processors, PC platform (motherboard core logic) chipsets, and digital media player software. The community of computer users arguably has come to know Nvidia best for its GeForce product line, which consists of both a complete line of discrete graphics chips found in AIB (add-in board) video cards and core graphics technology used in nForce motherboards, Microsoft's original Xbox game console, and Sony's PlayStation 3 game console.

The following are the most notable product families produced by Nvidia:

Company history

Founders and initial investment

Three people co-founded Nvidia in 1993:[8]

The founders gained venture capital funding from Sequoia Capital.[9]

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 2000, Nvidia acquired the intellectual assets of its one-time rival 3dfx, one of the biggest graphics companies of the mid- to late-1990s.[10]

In July 2002, Nvidia acquired Exluna for an undisclosed sum. Exluna made software rendering tools and the personnel were merged into the Cg project. [11]

In August 2003, Nvidia acquired MediaQ for approximately $70million.[12]

On April 22, 2004, Nvidia acquired iReady, a provider of high performance TCP/IP and iSCSI offload solutions.[13]

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 will 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 contrasts 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, Microsoft chose[when?] to license a design by ATI and to make its own manufacturing arrangements for the Xbox 360 graphics hardware, as has Nintendo for the Wii console (which succeeds the ATI-based Nintendo GameCube).

On December 14, 2005, Nvidia acquired ULI Electronics, which at the time supplied third-party southbridge parts for chipsets to ATI, Nvidia's competitor.[14]

In March 2006, Nvidia acquired Hybrid Graphics[15]

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.[16]

Forbes magazine named Nvidia its Company of the Year for 2007, citing the accomplishments it made during the said period as well as during the previous 5 years.[17]

On January 5, 2007, Nvidia announced that it had completed the acquisition of PortalPlayer, Inc.[18]

In February 2008, Nvidia acquired Ageia Technologies for an undisclosed sum. "The purchase reflects both companies' shared goal of creating the most amazing and captivating game experiences," said Jen-Hsun Huang, president and CEO of Nvidia. "By combining the teams that created the world's most pervasive GPU and physics engine brands, we can now bring GeForce-accelerated PhysX to twelve million gamers around the world."[19] (The press-release made no mention of the acquisition-cost nor of future plans for specific products.)

In April 2009, a court consolidated multiple class action suits into one case, titled The Nvidia GPU Litigation.[20] 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 [21] was one such site.

On January 10, 2011, Nvidia signed a six-year cross-licensing agreement with Intel which marks the end of all outstanding legal disputes between these two companies. According to the agreement Intel will pay Nvidia $1.5 billion in licensing fees payable in five annual installments.[22]

On February 15, 2011, Nvidia announced and demonstrated the first quad-core processor for mobile devices at the at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. This chip is expected to ship with many tablets to be released in the second half of 2011.[23]

In May 2011, it was announced that Nvidia had agreed to acquire Icera, a baseband chip making company in the UK, for $367 million in cash.[24][25]

Documentation and drivers

Nvidia does not publish the documentation for its hardware, meaning that programmers cannot write appropriate and effective open-source drivers for Nvidia's products (compare Graphics hardware and FOSS). 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 supports an obfuscated open-source driver that only supports two-dimensional hardware acceleration and ships with the X.Org distribution. Nvidia's Linux support has promoted mutual adoption in the entertainment, scientific visualization, defense and simulation/training industries, traditionally dominated by SGI, Evans & Sutherland, and other relatively costly vendors.[citation needed]

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 ATI) release partial documentation and provide some active development.[26][27]

Because of the closed nature of the drivers, Nvidia video cards do not deliver adequate features on some platforms and architectures (However this is credited[by whom?] to be due to lack of the proper kernel API needed for implementation). Support for three-dimensional graphics acceleration in Linux on the PowerPC does not exist; nor does support for Linux on the hypervisor-restricted PlayStation 3 console. While some users accept the Nvidia-supported drivers, many users of open-source software would prefer better out-of-the-box performance if given the choice.[28]

However, the performance and functionality of the binary Nvidia video card drivers surpass those of open-source alternatives[citation needed] following VESA standards.

Sales and market trends

According to a survey conducted by market watch firm Jon Peddie Research,[29] Nvidia shipped an estimated 33.00 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.[30]

In September 2011, Nvidia forecast strong sales for 2013 in the region of $4.75bn to $5bn, which surpasses analysts expectations of $4.45bn.[31]

See also


  1. ^ YouTube - NVIDIA: The Way It's Meant To Be Played
  2. ^ NVIDIA. "NVIDIA Launches the World's First Graphics Processing Unit: GeForce 256". http://www.nvidia.com/object/IO_20020111_5424.html. Retrieved 14 September 2011. 
  3. ^ Clark, Don. "J.P. Morgan Shows Benefits from Chip Change". WSJ Digits Blog. http://blogs.wsj.com/digits/2011/08/04/j-p-morgan-shows-benefits-from-chip-change/?mod=google_news_blog. Retrieved 14 September 2011. 
  4. ^ "Top500 Supercomputing Sites". Top500. http://www.top500.org/. Retrieved 14 September 2011. 
  5. ^ Burns, Chris. "2011 The Year of NVIDIA dominating Android Superphones and tablets". SlashGear. http://www.slashgear.com/2011-the-year-of-nvidia-dominating-android-superphones-and-tablets-03168784/. Retrieved 14 September 2011. 
  6. ^ "Tegra Super Tablets". NVIDIA. http://www.nvidia.com/object/tegra-supertablets.html. Retrieved 14 September 2011. 
  7. ^ "Tegra Super Phones". NVIDIA. http://www.nvidia.com/object/tegra-superphones.html. Retrieved 14 September 2011. 
  8. ^ "Company Info". Nvidia.com. http://www.nvidia.com/page/companyinfo.html. Retrieved 2010-11-09. 
  9. ^ Williams, Elisa (2002-04-15). "Crying wolf". Forbes. http://www.forbes.com/global/2002/0415/032_print.html. 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." 
  10. ^ Kanellos, Michael. "Nvidia buys out 3DFX". News.cnet.com. http://news.cnet.com/Nvidia-buys-out-3dfx-graphics-chip-business/2100-1040_3-249993.html. Retrieved 2010-11-09. 
  11. ^ Becker, David. "Nvidia buys out Exluna". News.cnet.com. http://news.cnet.com/Nvidia-buys-software-company/2100-1040_3-945553.html. Retrieved 2010-11-09. 
  12. ^ "Nvidia acquired MediaQ". Mediaq.com. http://www.mediaq.com/page/home.html. Retrieved 2010-11-09. 
  13. ^ "Press Release". Nvidia.com. 2004-04-22. http://www.nvidia.com/object/IO_12881.html. Retrieved 2010-11-09. 
  14. ^ "Nvidia acquires ULI Electronics". Nvidia.com. http://www.nvidia.com/object/IO_28250.html. Retrieved 2010-11-09. 
  15. ^ The Register Hardware news: Nvidia acquires Hybrid Graphics
  16. ^ "Justice Dept. subpoenas AMD, Nvidia". New York Times. 2006-12-01. Archived from the original on 2006-12-08. http://web.archive.org/web/20061208175421/http://news.zdnet.com/2100-9584_22-6140041.html. 
  17. ^ Brian Caulfield (2008-01-07). "Shoot to Kill". Forbes. http://www.forbes.com/forbes/2008/0107/092.html. Retrieved 2007-12-26. 
  18. ^ Press Release: Nvidia acquires PortalPlayer, dated January 5, 2007.
  19. ^ "NVIDIA to Acquire AGEIA Technologies". Nvidia.com. http://www.nvidia.com/object/io_1202161567170.html. Retrieved 2010-11-09. 
  20. ^ "Nvidia Settlement". nvidiasettlement.com. http://www.nvidiasettlement.com/. Retrieved 2011-07-28. 
  21. ^ "Fair Nvidia Settlement". fairnvidiasettlement.com. http://www.fairnvidiasettlement.com/. Retrieved 2011-07-28. 
  22. ^ "Intel to Pay NVIDIA Technology Licensing Fees of $1.5 Billion". http://pressroom.nvidia.com/easyir/customrel.do?easyirid=A0D622CE9F579F09&version=live&releasejsp=release_157&xhtml=true&prid=706607. Retrieved 2011-01-10. 
  23. ^ "Nvidia Quad Core Mobile Processors Coming in August". PCWorld. http://www.pcworld.com/article/219768/nvidia_quad_core_mobile_processors_coming_in_august.html. Retrieved 2011-02-15. 
  24. ^ "Cambridge coup as Icera goes to NVIDIA for £225m". Business Weekly. May 9, 2011. http://www.businessweekly.co.uk/hi-tech/11782-cambridge-coup-as-icera-goes-to-nvidia-for-p225m. Retrieved May 10, 2011. 
  25. ^ "NVIDIA to Acquire Baseband and RF Technology Leader Icera". Nvidia. http://pressroom.nvidia.com/easyir/customrel.do?easyirid=A0D622CE9F579F09&version=live&prid=753498&releasejsp=release_157&xhtml=true. Retrieved May 10, 2011. 
  26. ^ "X.org, distributors, and proprietary modules". Linux Weekly News. Eklektix. 2006-08-14. http://lwn.net/Articles/195351/. Retrieved 2008-11-03. 
  27. ^ An overview of graphic card manufacturers and how well they work with Ubuntu Ubuntu Gamer, January 10, 2011 (Article by Luke Benstead)
  28. ^ "''LinuxQuestions.org'' 20 September 2007". Linuxquestions.org. http://www.linuxquestions.org/questions/linux-software-2/poll-do-you-install-foss-over-proprietary-585895/. Retrieved 2010-11-09. 
  29. ^ "Jon Peddie Research Announces First Quarter Shipments of PC Graphics". Business Wire. 2010-04-26. http://www.businesswire.com/portal/site/google/permalink/?ndmViewId=news_view&newsId=20100426006529&newsLang=en. Retrieved 2010-04-28. 
  30. ^ DON CLARK, Wall Street Journal. "Nvidia's Profit, Share Price Rise." Aug 12, 2011. Retrieved Aug 12, 2011.
  31. ^ http://www.investoo.co.uk/nvidia-shares-up-11-percent-on-5bn-sales-forecast/

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