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Nvidia

Nvidia (NASDAQ: NVDA, pronounced /ɪnˈvɪ.di.ə/) is a multinational corporation specializing in the manufacture of graphics-processor technologies for workstations, desktop computers, and mobile devices. Based in Santa Clara, California, the company has become a major supplier of integrated circuits (ICs) used for personal-computer motherboard chipsets, graphics processing units (GPUs), and video-game consoles.

Notable Nvidia product lines include the GeForce series for gaming and the Quadro series for graphics processing on workstations, as well as the nForce series of integrated motherboard chipsets.

Company history

Jen-Hsun Huang (the present CEO), Curtis Priem, and Chris Malachowsky co-founded the company in 1993 with venture-capital funding from Sequoia Capital. [2]

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.

On December 14, 2005, Nvidia acquired ULI Electronics, which at the time supplied third-party Southbridge parts for chipsets to ATI, Nvidia's competitor. In March 2006, Nvidia acquired Hybrid Graphics[3] and on January 5, 2007, it announced that it had completed the acquisition of PortalPlayer, Inc.[4]

In December 2006 Nvidia, along with its main rival in the graphics industry AMD (which acquired ATI), received subpoenas from the Justice Department regarding possible antitrust violations in the graphics card industry.[5]

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.[6]

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."[cite this quote] (The press-release[citation needed] made no mention of the acquisition-cost nor of specific products.)

The company's name combines an initial n — a letter usable as a pronumeral in mathematical statements — and the root of video— which comes from Latin videre, "to see", thus implying "the best visual experience"[citation needed] or perhaps "immeasurable display".[original research?] The name NVIDIA suggests "envy" (Spanish envidia or in Latin, Italian, or Romanian invidia); and Nvidia's GeForce 8 series product uses the slogan "Green with envy". The company-name appears entirely in upper-case ("NVIDIA") in company technical documentation.

Products

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 knows Nvidia best for its "GeForce" product-line, which not only offers a complete line of "discrete" graphics chips found in AIB (add-in-board) video cards, but also provides a core-technology in both the Microsoft Xbox game console and nForce motherboards.

In many respects Nvidia resembles its competitor ATI: Both companies began with a focus in the PC market and later expanded their activities into chips for non-PC applications. Nvidia does not sell graphics boards into the retail market, instead focusing on the development of GPU chips. Since Nvidia is a fabless semiconductor company, chip manufacturing is provided under contract by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, Ltd. (TSMC). As part of their operations, both ATI and Nvidia create "reference designs" (circuit board schematics) and provide manufacturing samples to their board partners. Manufacturers of Nvidia cards include BFG, EVGA, Foxconn, and PNY. XFX, ASUS, Gigabyte Technology, and MSI exemplify manufacturers of both ATI and Nvidia cards.

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 be responsible for manufacturing 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 is a departure from 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 has chosen to license a design by ATI and make their own manufacturing arrangements for Xbox 360's graphics hardware, as has Nintendo for their Wii console to succeed the ATI-based GameCube.)

On February 4, 2008, Nvidia announced plans to acquire physics software producer AGEIA, whose PhysX physics engine program forms part of hundreds of games shipping or in development for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii, and gaming PCs.[7] This transaction completed on February 13, 2008[8] and efforts to integrate PhysX into the GeForce 8800's CUDA system began. [9] [10]

On June 2, 2008 Nvidia officially announced its new Tegra product-line.[11] These "computers on a chip" integrate CPU (ARM), GPU, northbridge, southbridge and primary memory functionality onto a single chip. Commentators[who?] opine that Nvidia will target this product at the smart-phone and mobile Internet device sector.

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