While NVIDIA still holds a tenuous grip on the highest
end offerings, with its GeForce GTX 280 GPU, this might soon slip,
depending on the performance of AMD's dual processor 4870 X2 (R700) card,
likely coming in Q3 2008. Meanwhile, NVIDIA faces challenges
from Intel in its low-end and laptop graphics offerings, and from AMD's
PUMA chipset/graphics package in the laptop market.
The economic repercussions
of NVIDIA's slippage are already visible. NVIDIA announced yesterday
that it was going to turn in revenue of $875 million to $950 million for Q2
2008, which ends July 27. This is significantly
lower than the current analyst expectations of $1.1 billion.
That was not the end of the bad news from NVIDIA either. It announced
that it was facing a massive recall, due to overheating GPUs in notebook
computers. NVIDIA reported higher than average failures in both the
laptop GPUs and in laptop chipsets.
NVIDIA said that the chips and their packaging were made with materials that
proved to be too "weak". NVIDIA passes the blame to notebook
manufacturers, which it says contributes to the problem. Typically
notebooks have poorer ventilation and components concentrated in a smaller
space than desktop computers.
The result of the recalls is that NVIDIA will be taking a onetime charge of
$150M USD to $200M USD to cover the damages. It plans to use the money to
repair or replace defective parts. It also hopes to collect part of the
money from insurers it uses. However, it has acknowledged its problems
and switched the materials it uses.
The news has resulted in NVIDIA taking a beating on the stock market, sliding over
quote: Diamond “Unlocked” Radeon HD 4870 XOC Black Edition graphics card comes with graphics processing unit clocked at 800MHz and 512MB of GDDR5 memory operating at 4400MHz, up from 750MHz/3600MHz on reference design ATI Radeon HD 4870 graphics adapter. Moreover, according to Diamond Multimedia, the firmware of the board was modified and the board can be overclocked even further and can leave behind the current flagship Nvidia, the GeForce GTX 280.“The firmware was custom designed to enable end users to go beyond the normal over clocked speeds and allow them to push their cards for higher performance via the Catalyst Control Center. The GPU’s custom firmware has been unlocked to push cards to GPU settings of up to 950MHz and Memory of up 1200MHz,” said Mr. Gastelum.