Nvidia is best known for developing the GeForce graphics card. © Andrea Warnecke/dpa-tmn/dpa
Nvidia is best known among gamers for its GeForce graphics cards. The products of the chip giant can not only be found in gaming PCs.
California – Every gamer probably knows the chip manufacturer Nvidia because of its GeForce player graphics cards. After all, such a graphics card is the heart of every gaming PC, and those from the Californian processor developer are among the best in the world. Away from the gaming scene, however, many have never heard of the manufacturer. According to its own statements, the semiconductor giant is becoming more and more part of the automotive industry. Nvidia chips are installed in numerous modern vehicles, for example to drive the autonomous driving revolution.
|April 5, 1993|
|Jensen Huang (President and CEO), Chris Malachowsky and Curtis Priem|
|Semiconductor industry, microelectronics, information technology|
|Santa Clara, California (USA)|
|GeForce graphics cards (GTX, RTX), Tegra processor|
|$26.91 billion (as of July 2022)|
|AMD, Dell, Samsung|
Although Nvidia specializes in the production of graphics chips (GPUs), the company’s sales do not only live from gaming. It will also be influenced by developments in artificial intelligence, 5G communication technology and, as already mentioned, self-driving cars.
According to the stock exchange, sales of 26.9 billion US dollars are forecast for 2022. In addition to many offices in the United States, the company has locations in Canada, Brazil, India, China, Japan, the Middle East, Australia and Europe, among others. In Germany there are locations in Berlin, Stuttgart, Munich and Würselen.
Nvidia: Founders had a good nose for the gaming trend
The IT company Nvidia was founded in April 1993 by Jensen Huang, Chris Malachowsky and Curtis Priem. The former is now the company’s CEO. At the time, the three were convinced that PCs would one day be found in all households, not just in companies or business people.
They focused on graphics cards, especially those that power video games. Because they suspected the greatest growth in this area, the company writes on its website. Nvidia is headquartered in the US state of California.
GeForce: Nvidia makes big breakthrough with graphics card and lands deal for Xbox
However, the GPU market was highly competitive when Nvidia entered the scene in the early 1990s. Only with the development of the GeForce graphics chips in 1999 was the manufacturer able to stand out from the rest. The graphics card supported many of the video games available at the time and delivered more advanced 3D graphics and lighting techniques than the competition. A year later came the next big success: Microsoft had the graphics processors for its first games console, the Xbox, supplied by Nvidia.
With the big break, the chip giant started buying up smaller companies. The plan was obviously, especially at the beginning, to eliminate as many competitors as possible from the market and to strengthen one’s own influence. The start was made in December 2000 by the graphics card manufacturer 3Dfx. Numerous other companies followed over the years.
Deals worth millions: takeovers of Nvidia
- 3Dfx (2000) for approximately $120 million
- MediaQ (2003) for approximately $70 million
- ULI Electronics (2005) for approximately $52 million
- Hybrid Graphics (2006) for approximately $37 million
- PortalPlayer (2006) for approximately $57 million
- Mental Images (2007) for approximately $88 million
- Ageia (2008) for an undisclosed sum
- Mellanox Technologies (2019) for approximately $6.8 billion
In 2019, Nvidia acquired Israeli network specialist Mellanox for around $7 billion. In 2020, the chip group announced the acquisition of the Arm Group for around 40 billion US dollars. That would have been the largest acquisition in the company’s history, but as was later reported in numerous media, the deal fell through in early 2022.
Sony, Tesla and Amazon: Known customers of Nvidia
Due to the takeover strategy and the fact that Nvidia has outsourced its entire chip production to external partners such as TSMC or UMC since the beginning of its business activities, the company shone with enormous growth in the early years. Fortune Magazine even named Nvidia the fastest growing company in the US in 2002. And Forbes also named the US company 2007 as company of the year.
Biggest milestones in Nvidia history
- 1993: The company was founded by Jensen Huang, Chris Malachowsky and Curtis Priem.
- 1995: Nvidia launches first product (NV1)
- 1997: Launch of RIVA 128
- 1999: Nvidia invents graphics processor (GeForce 256)
- 2000: Nvidia supplies graphics processors for Xbox
- 2002: Fortune Magazine named Nvidia the fastest growing company in the United States
- 2005: Nvidia develops processor for the Sony Playstation 3
- 2007: Forbes names Nvidia Company of the Year
- 2008: Nvidia launches Tegra mobile processor
- 2010: Nvidia Tesla graphics processors drive the world’s fastest supercomputer
- 2019: Advances in HPC, data center and autonomous vehicles
Mergers with car brands followed over the years and also a contract with Sony for the Playstation 3 and with Nintendo for the Switch. The company, which was initially known primarily for the graphics processors of the GeForce product range for PCs, today also develops hardware solutions and software and is networked in many industries.
In addition to private individuals, Nvidia serves well-known customers such as Amazon, Tesla, Facebook and Baker Hughes. Partnerships exist, for example, with software companies such as VMWare and Adobe as well as automobile manufacturers such as BMW.
Graphics cards from Nvidia: Vote!
Known products from Nvidia
For the average end user, Nvidia sells its graphics processors under the GeForce brand name. In this area there was also the GeForce line Nvidia Quadro, modified for professional graphics processing products such as CAD (Computer-Aided Design). The brand has been retired and replaced with the RTX line.
Things are different with the new generations of products that are manufactured for companies. These are always named after a famous scientist, such as Tesla, Turing or Maxwell. The chip giant has also been trying its hand at the console market since 2013: first with the mobile console Nvidia Shield Portable, later with a tablet PC, the Nvidia Shield Tablet.
GeForce Now: Nvidia’s cloud gaming service
Nvidia also serves people who neither own a gaming PC nor a games console and still want to gamble. With the GeForce Now game streaming service, you can play the latest games regardless of your hardware. The games are hosted on a remote server and can then be streamed over the Internet. Current games can also be played on Chromebooks, Macs and smartphones. Unlike many other providers of these so-called cloud gaming services, Nvidia’s GeForce Now comes on a free plan. This gives you access to your own games on Steam, Epic Games Store, EA’s Origin or Ubisoft Connect.