Nvidia CorporationOfficially written as NVIDIA and stylized in the logo as n VIDIA with the lowercase "n" the same height as the uppercase "VIDIA"; formerly stylized as n VIDIA with a large italicized lowercase "n" on products from the mid 1990s to early-mid 2000s. ( ) is an American multinational technology company incorporated in Delaware and based in Santa Clara, California. It designs graphics processing units (GPUs) for the gaming and professional markets, as well as system on a chip units (SoCs) for the mobile computing and automotive market. Its primary GPU product line, labeled "GeForce", is in direct competition with Advanced Micro Devices' (AMD) "Radeon" products. Nvidia expanded its presence in the gaming industry with its handheld Shield Portable, Shield Tablet, and Shield Android TV and its cloud gaming service GeForce NOW.
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, it has moved into the mobile computing market, where it produces Tegra mobile processors for smartphones and tablets as well as vehicle navigation and entertainment systems. In addition to AMD, its competitors include Intel and Qualcomm.
In 1993, the three co-founders believed that the proper direction for the next wave of computing is accelerated or graphics-based computing as this model of computing could solve problems that general-purpose computing fundamentally couldn't. They also observed that video games were simultaneously one of the most computationally challenging problems and would have incredibly high sales volume. The two conditions don't happen very often. Video games became the company's flywheel to reach large markets and funding huge R&D to solve massive computational problems. With only $40,000 in the bank, the company was born. The company subsequently received $20 million of venture capital funding from Sequoia Capital and others. Nvidia initially had no name and the co-founders named all their files NV, as in "next version". The need to incorporate the company prompted the co-founders to review all words with those two letters, leading them to "invidia", the Latin word for "envy". Nvidia went public on January 22, 1999.
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 took many of its 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 December 2000, Nvidia reached an agreement to acquire the intellectual assets of its one-time rival 3dfx, a pioneer in consumer 3D graphics technology leading the field from mid 1990s until 2000. The acquisition process was finalized in April 2002.
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, also a provider of high performance TCP/IP and iSCSI offload solutions. In December 2004, it was announced that Nvidia would assist Sony with the design of the graphics processor (RSX) in the PlayStation 3 game console. On December 14, 2005, Nvidia acquired ULI Electronics, which at the time supplied third-party southbridge parts for to ATI Technologies, Nvidia's competitor. In March 2006, Nvidia acquired Hybrid Graphics. 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.
Forbes named Nvidia its Company of the Year for 2007, citing the accomplishments it made during the said period as well as during the previous five years. On January 5, 2007, Nvidia announced that it had completed the acquisition of PortalPlayer, Inc. In February 2008, Nvidia acquired Ageia, developer of the PhysX physics engine and physics processing unit. Nvidia announced that it planned to integrate the PhysX technology into its future GPU products.
In November 2011, after initially unveiling it at Mobile World Congress, Nvidia released its Tegra 3 ARM Holdings system-on-chip for mobile devices. Nvidia claimed that the chip featured the first-ever quad-core mobile CPU. 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 January 2013, Nvidia unveiled the Tegra 4, as well as the Shield Portable, an Android-based handheld game console powered by the new system-on-chip. On July 29, 2013, Nvidia announced that they acquired PGI from STMicroelectronics.
On May 6, 2016, Nvidia unveiled the first GeForce 10 series GPUs, the GTX 1080 and 1070, based on the company's new Pascal microarchitecture. Nvidia claimed that both models outperformed its Maxwell-based Titan X model; the models incorporate GDDR5X and GDDR5 memory respectively, and use a 16 nm manufacturing process. The architecture also supports a new hardware feature known as simultaneous multi-projection (SMP), which is designed to improve the quality of multi-monitor and virtual reality rendering. Laptops that include these GPUs and are sufficiently thin – as of late 2017, under – have been designated as meeting Nvidia's "Max-Q" design standard.
In July 2016, Nvidia agreed to a settlement for a false advertising lawsuit regarding its GTX 970 model, as the models were unable to use all of their advertised 4 GB of RAM due to limitations brought by the design of its hardware. In May 2017, Nvidia announced a partnership with Toyota Motor Corp. Toyota will use Nvidia's Drive PX-series artificial intelligence platform for its autonomous vehicles. In July 2017, Nvidia and Chinese search giant Baidu, Inc. announced a far-reaching AI partnership that includes cloud computing, autonomous driving, consumer devices, and Baidu's open-source AI framework PaddlePaddle. Baidu unveiled that Nvidia's Drive PX 2 AI will be the foundation of its autonomous-vehicle platform.
Nvidia officially released the Nvidia Quadro GV100 on March 27, 2018. News Archive | NVIDIA Newsroom Nvidia officially released RTX 2080GPUs September 27, 2018. In 2018, Google announced that Nvidia's Tesla P4 graphic cards would be integrated into Google Cloud service's artificial intelligence.
On March 11, 2019, Nvidia announced a deal to buy Mellanox Technologies for $6.9 billion to substantially expand its footprint in the high-performance computing market. In May 2019, Nvidia announced new RTX Studio laptops. The creators say that the new laptop is going to be seven times faster than a top-end MacBook Pro with a Core i9 and AMD's Radeon Pro Vega 20 graphics in apps like Maya and RedCine-X Pro. In August 2019, Nvidia announced Minecraft RTX, an official Nvidia-developed patch for the game adding real-time DXR raytracing exclusively to the Windows 10 version of the game. The whole game is, in Nvidia's words, "refit" with path tracing, which dramatically affects the way light, reflections, and shadows work inside the engine.
In May 2020, Nvidia's top scientists developed an Open source ventilator in order to address the shortage resulting from the global coronavirus pandemic. On May 14, 2020, Nvidia officially announced their Ampere GPU microarchitecture and the Nvidia A100 GPU accelerator. NVIDIA’s New Ampere Data Center GPU in Full Production | NVIDIA Newsroom NVIDIA A100 | NVIDIA In July 2020, it was reported that Nvidia was in talks with SoftBank Group to buy Arm Holdings, a UK-based chip designer, for $32 billion.
In October 2020, Nvidia announced its plan to build the most powerful computer in the United Kingdom in Cambridge. Named Cambridge-1, the computer will employ AI to support healthcare research, with an expected completion by the end of 2020, at a cost of approximately £40 million. According to Jensen Huang, "The Cambridge-1 supercomputer will serve as a hub of innovation for the UK, and further the groundbreaking work being done by the nation’s researchers in critical healthcare and drug discovery."
For the Q2 of 2020, Nvidia reported sales of $3.87 billion, which was a 50% rise from the same period in 2019. The surge in sales was a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and people's higher demand for computer technology. According to the financial chief of the company, Colette Kress, the effects of the pandemic will "likely reflect this evolution in enterprise workforce trends with a greater focus on technologies, such as Nvidia laptops and virtual workstations, that enable remote work and virtual collaboration."
Instead, Nvidia provides its own binary file GeForce graphics drivers for X.Org and an open-source library that interfaces with the Linux kernel, 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 Community. 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 inadequate, given that competing manufacturers such as Intel offer support and documentation for open-source developers and that others (like AMD) release partial documentation and provide some active development. An overview of graphic card manufacturers and how well they work with Ubuntu Ubuntu Gamer, January 10, 2011 (Article by Luke Benstead)
Because of the closed nature of the drivers, Nvidia video cards cannot deliver adequate features on some platforms and architectures given that the company only provides x86/x64 and ARMv7-A 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.
In 2014, with Maxwell GPUs, Nvidia started to require firmware by them to unlock all features of its graphics cards. Up to now this state did not change and makes writing open-source drivers difficult. NVIDIA Begins Requiring Signed GPU Firmware Images, slashdot, 2014-09-27. Linux-Firmware Adds Signed NVIDIA Firmware Binaries For Turing's Type-C Controller, phoronix, 2019-02-13. The Open-Source NVIDIA "Nouveau" Driver Gets A Batch Of Fixes For Linux 5.3, phoronix, 2019-07-19.
In May 2018, researchers at the artificial intelligence department of Nvidia realized the possibility that a robot can learn to perform a job simply by observing the person doing the same job. They have created a system that, after a short revision and testing, can already be used to control the universal robots of the next generation. In addition to GPU manufacturing, Nvidia provides parallel processing capabilities to researchers and scientists that allow them to efficiently run high-performance applications. "Robot see, robot do: Nvidia system lets robots learn by watching humans" New Atlas, May 23, 2018