The Nvidia Corporation ( officially: NVIDIA Corporation ) is one of the largest developers of graphics processors and chipsets for personal computers and game consoles. Headquartered in Santa Clara, California.

  • 2.1 graphics chips for PCs
  • 2.2 chipsets for PCs
  • 2.3 graphics chips for consoles
  • 2.4 HPC products (High Performance Computing)
  • 2.5 CPU / SoC chips
  • 2.6 Software
  • 2.7 Tablet PC


The company was founded in January 1993 by Jen -Hsun Huang, Curtis Priem and Chris Malachowsky. With the NV1 (STG -2000) Nvidia brought out in May 1995, one of the first 3D accelerator processors ( GPU). Since this was based on the NURBS technique, he could not prevail on the market, due to incompatibility. Due to this failure was the Nvidia brand relatively unknown until 1997 /98. Change brought the series of Riva PC graphics chips, which established the success of the company.

In January 1999, Nvidia was included in the NASDAQ ( NVDA) and delivered in the same year already the ten millionth graphics chip from. In February 2002, more than 100 million graphics chips had been delivered. Furthermore, Nvidia is cooperating with Sony to develop graphics chips for the PlayStation 3 and other devices. Even if the company is set up by various acquisitions now much wider than in the early years, its market power continues to be based primarily on the series of Geforce graphics chip, which was presented for the first time in 1999.

In December 2006, the U.S. Department of Justice opened a case against Nvidia, for breaches of competition law. A year later, chose the Forbes Magazine Nvidia for outstanding achievements in recent years the company in 2007.

Larger acquisitions

  • On 15 December 2000, Nvidia took its then largest competitors in the graphics chip market, the chip designers and graphic cards pavers 3dfx at the price of about 95 million U.S. $ and has been the market leader in this segment. Besides the acquisition of patents and several employees took advantage of Nvidia the acquisition only to eliminate a competitor. All product lines of 3dfx were stopped immediately.
  • On 4 August 2003, Nvidia took over for the price of about $ 70 million U.S. based company in Santa Clara in 1997 MediaQ, a leading provider of graphics and multimedia processing technology for wireless mobile devices. The main sales areas MediaQ were 2.5G and 3G mobile phones, PDAs, LCD screens and other mobile devices. Among the customers of MediaQ included leading mobile phone and PDA manufacturers such as Mitsubishi, Siemens, Dell, HP, Palm, Philips, Sharp, and Sony.
  • On 14 December 2005, Nvidia acquired at a price of about $ 52 million, the company ULi, one of its biggest competitors in the market for chipsets. Besides the acquisition of patents and several employees took advantage of Nvidia and this acquisition only to eliminate a competitor. All product lines of the acquired company were stopped immediately.
  • On 22 March 2006, Nvidia acquired at a price of approximately U.S. $ 37 million, the Finnish company Hybrid Graphics, a 2D and 3D graphics software developer for mobile devices. Three months later, the two companies brought together out a first Developer Kit for Windows Mobile 5.0 -based mobile phones and PDAs. Hybrid Graphics sales no products to end customers, but focus entirely on sales via the manufacturer.
  • On 6th November 2006, Nvidia acquired at a price of approximately U.S. $ 357 million, the California company Portal Player. Portal Player is a manufacturer of ARM -based CPUs and equipped so that, for example, the first generation of iPods from Apple. Nvidia was the takeover suddenly become one of the largest providers of so-called SoC ( System on a Chip ). Immediately after taking over all portal player product lines were taken off the market and re-released under Nvidia's brand name. Currently Nvidia tries to connect its graphics card technology with the CPU modules and to bring as in the handheld market. The product launched this series called Nvidia Tegra.
  • On 30 November 2007, Nvidia acquired at a price of approximately U.S. $ 88 Million the Mental Images GmbH from Berlin. The Mental Images GmbH was a developer of ray-tracing software, and is now a dependent branch of Nvidia. Result of the acquisition was probably the purchase of knowledge in this area, as ray tracing is regarded as a future key technology in the field of computer ( games ) graphics.
  • On 4 February 2008, Nvidia took its then largest competitors in the physics processor market, the company Ageia. Immediately after taking over all product lines of competitors have been set. Developed by Ageia technology for physics acceleration was integrated Nvidia graphics cards in its driver so that all video cards support hardware- acceleration physics from the Geforce 8 series.

Sales and profit development

Because Nvidia outsources its entire chip production since the beginning of the business to external partners like TSMC or UMC (and thus must not maintain our own chip factories ), it was possible to place in the early years of an extreme growth rate of the day.

This growth was held back until the end of 2002 ( Nvidia fiscal year 2003), as ATI brought an incredibly powerful graphics chip on the market with the R300. Since mid-2005 ( Nvidia 2006 financial year ) Nvidia is growing at a much broader product portfolio since back at high speed and at enormous profit margins, with the main driver of sales are still the graphics cards.

With the introduction of DirectX 10 -capable GeForce 8 - series in 2006 /07 ( Nvidia 2007/ 08) Nvidia experienced another growth spurt, since AMD's competitor ATI Radeon HD 2000 series late and also could not successfully position against the Nvidia cards appear in high-end and performance segment. Re setbacks, the company had in the years 2008 and 2009 ( Nvidia 2009/ 10) to accept, mainly caused by the overall decline in selling graphics cards because of the economic crisis. There was also a growing competition from the powerful Radeon HD 4000 series of long-time rival AMD, as well as a sharp decline in market share in the chipset industry. In fiscal year 2010/ 11, the late introduction of DirectX 11 -capable GPUs dampened growth. The evolution of the Fermi platform and the Tegra processors for the smartphone market brought revenue and earnings growth in 2011 and 2012.


Graphics chips for PCs

  • Nvidia NV1
  • Nvidia Riva
  • Nvidia Vanta
  • Nvidia Geforce
  • Nvidia Geforce M (for notebooks)
  • Nvidia GeForce Go ( for notebooks )
  • Nvidia GoForce ( for mobile phones)
  • Nvidia Quadro ( for workstations )

Chipsets for PCs

As of June 2001 offered Nvidia also chipsets for motherboards. These were sold under the brand name nForce. The end of 2005, the chipset maker ULi Electronics was also taken. Nvidia offered chipsets for AMD and Intel platforms, mainly to provide a basis for the multi-GPU technology Scalable Link Interface (SLI ) to possess. In November 2011, CEO Jen -Hsun Huang announced that Nvidia had stopped production of chipsets and will instead focus on the production of SoCs.

  • Nvidia nForce
  • Nvidia nForce2
  • Nvidia nForce3
  • Nvidia nForce4
  • Nvidia nForce 500
  • Nvidia nForce 600
  • Nvidia nForce 700

Criticism: General were the drivers from Nvidia as a weak point of the chipsets. Above all, the IDE drivers gave problems more often. Also the drivers for the sound Storm took a while until it worked perfectly. According to an article from ZDNet caused in spring 2007 Nvidia drivers about 30% of Windows Vista crashes. Given the number of " units " in a chipset is difficult to assess whether this is a rather high or rather low proportion.

Another point of criticism is the large heat generation particularly the nForce4 chipsets.

Graphics chips for consoles

  • Microsoft Xbox
  • Sony PlayStation 3

HPC products (High Performance Computing)

  • Nvidia Tesla

CPU / SoC chips

  • Nvidia Tegra


  • CUDA
  • Mental Ray
  • Nvidia Gelato
  • GeForce Experience

Tablet PCs

In September 2013 it was announced that Nvidia will release a tablet computer specially developed under the name Tegra note. The note is the Tegra processor Tegra 4 have to have a 7- inch display and be equipped with a 5 megapixel camera on the back.

GPU Technology Conference

Under the title GPU Technology Conference NVIDIA hosting a house show, to be presented at the regular new technologies. The precursor of this house exhibition was the NVision, for the first time took place in the fall of 2008, but was canceled due to cost reasons. Nvidia wants to address with this house exhibition primarily to professional visitors such as engineers, scientists and journalists.


For the origin of the company name, there are two main assumptions: