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NVIDIA’s huge day

Scott Wasson
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Yesterday was as positive a news day for NVIDIA as any company could expect. Of course, the GeForce line of chips has carved a massive swath of destruction through the high-end and middle segments of the PC market over the past year, so some good news from NVIDIA should come as no surprise. Among the news items:

  • Both of the chips NVIDIA is supplying for the Microsoft Xbox game console are ready for production:

    The first processor, the XGPU, a fully programmable 3D processor, contains more than 60 million transistors. This awesome amount of computing horsepower is dedicated to one goal—create stunning, never-before-seen imagery. The second processor, the MCPX, is based on two powerful DSPs with 4 billion operations per second dedicated to 3D audio and network processing. The MCPX performs the processing for broadband networking functions, high-speed peripherals, and is the most sophisticated audio processor ever built. The MCPX will enable Xbox to process 64 channels of positional 3D audio.

    At 60 million transistors, the graphics chip is bigger than either a Pentium 4 or Athlon. The chips will be produced by TSMC, both on a .15-micron fab process.

  • The company announced darn-near gaudy revenue and profit numbers for the fourth quarter of 2000 and for the year. “For the fourth quarter of fiscal 2001, revenues increased to $218.2 million, compared to $128.5 million for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2000, an increase of 70 percent. . . . Revenues for the year ended January 28, 2001, were $735.3 million, an increase of 96 percent compared to revenues of $374.5 million for the year ended January 30, 2000.” I suppose that means quite a few of you all have slapped down the $400 or so to pick up a GeForce2 Ultra, eh? Even in a weak PC market, NVIDIA did very well.

  • With that Xbox GPU being completed and released to fabrication, you may be wondering about the status of the NV20, apparently destined to be called the GeForce3. Don’t hold your breath. Unless you can hold your breath for nearly a fortnight. Which, in the grand scheme, ain’t too long at all.

And while we’re at it, don’t miss this article examining the transform and lighting performance of the GeForce line. Definitely worth a read.

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