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NVIDIA reports another bad quarter

It's been a rough year for NVIDIA. Typically, the graphics giant is one of the most profitable companies in the technology industry. That all changed in 2008 with NVIDIA seeing one of its first quarterly losses in a very long time.

NVIDIA's first loss in 2008 was due in part to a onetime charge it took related to the repair and replacement of faulty GPUs in notebooks form some of the biggest computer makers around including Dell and HP.

NVIDIA announced its Q3 fiscal 2009 financials this week and reported a significant 20% reduction in quarterly revenue compared to the same quarter in fiscal 2008. NVIDIA took a one-time charge of $8.3 million related to the layoff of 360 employees globally. The pre-tax charge was to cover the cost of severance and related expenses.

Jen-Hsun Huang, NVIDIA President and CEO said in a statement, "We made good progress on multiple fronts during the quarter. Improving gross margin while managing operating expenses enabled us to significantly improve our operating fundamentals. We transitioned our performance segment GPUs to 55 nanometers and are now poised to recapture lost share.”

“We entered the fastest growing segment of the PC market with our first notebook chipset for Intel processors, and delivered on several exciting new growth initiatives -- 3-way SLI for the Intel Core i7 processor platform, Quadro CX for Adobe CS4 creative professionals and the Tesla supercomputing processor."

For the three-month period ending on October 26, NVIDIA's profits sank by a 74% to $61.7 million, working out to 11 cents per share. In the same quarter last year, NVIDIA turned a tidy $235.7 million in profit.

NVIDIA has big expectations for its 9400M notebook GPU that it believes could capture as much as 30% of the notebook market. At this point NVIDIA has to be hoping the new GPU will help pull it back into its past financial performance.

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Lack of confidence
By SavagePotato on 11/7/2008 11:43:06 AM , Rating: 5
For me Nvidia represents a lack of consumer confidence. I previously owned three generations of Nvidia graphics cards in a row since the days of my ati 9700 pro. The 6600gt, the 7900gtx, and the 8800gts 512. As well I previously owned Nvidia based chipsets for my Athlon based computers.

When Vista came out I nagging problems with my Nvidia chipset which at the time seemed expected, that is till I switched to an Intel chipset and saw how a proper chipset with proper drivers performed even at the same early days of Vista.

Add to all this the stats released by Microsoft revealing what an absurd number of Vista blue screens were actually caused by Nvidia drivers. My p965 system at home has never so much as hinted at a blue screen despite a highly overclocked processor, however my little nvidia board at work despite working fine for a long time actually randomly bluescreened, the Vista solution database was actually able to identify the nvidia storage driver as the problem and suggest a driver update. With my enthusiast class Athlon board I actually had raid corruption in Vista that went away with the Intel raid controller, on the same disks.

Drivers were something I already had a grudge with Nvidia for since I waited over 6 months from the time I got my 8800gts 512 till nvidia finally released a new whql driver for it that wasn't a beta aimed at improving crysis fps for benchmarking reviews.

Having read the news about Nvidias defective 8xxx series notebook parts and the way their ceo has been stepping on his own tongue lately, has led me to lose alot of confidence in their product. All this combined to the point I would go out of my way to not get a notebook computer especially with Nvidia hardware in it.

I have been enjoying the monthly release schedule of drivers for my newly purchased and very impressive ati 4870x2 without looking back at all at Nvidia.

Based on how their financial situation is doing, perhaps there are a few more former Nvidia customers in my position.

RE: Lack of confidence
By AssBall on 11/7/2008 12:04:53 PM , Rating: 5
...perhaps there are a few more former Nvidia customers in my position.

I'd wager there are! After having both an AGP and a PCI-X 6800GT die on me, and fighting with my 7600GT drivers and screen defects, I had zero qualms switching to AMD HD3850's for my next upgrade. I've been really happy with them since.

RE: Lack of confidence
By Cypherdude1 on 11/13/2008 11:10:55 AM , Rating: 2
The bad drivers issue is nothing new to nVidia. nVidia has been writing bad drivers for a long time. I have a perfectly good but older video card I was forced to remove because nVidia has really lousy drivers for WinXP.

I was forced to buy an ATI video card and I lost $170 (!!!) because of nVidia's lousy drivers! ATI definitely writes better drivers. While nVidia does have the only 4-monitor video card, the Quadro NVS 450, I would only use it on a 32-bit XP Pro system.

nVidia also writes poor BIOS and drivers for their 700 series chipsets. Google for video problems and you'll find them. Here's a thread for a large number of (un)satisfied customers. There are 58 pages and over 1700 posts. B ^D

These driver problems seem to highlight a minimalist philosophy regarding drivers at nVidia.

RE: Lack of confidence
By kilkennycat on 11/7/2008 12:24:15 PM , Rating: 2
Having read the news about Nvidias defective 8xxx series notebook parts and the way their ceo has been stepping on his own tongue lately, has led me to lose alot of confidence in their product. All this combined to the point I would go out of my way to not get a notebook computer especially with Nvidia hardware in it.

Correction. The notebook chipset with the faulty bond material was previous to the 8xxx series.

Also, HP was the company that took the biggest hit from the bond-material failures. However, they and several other companies, (including Apple !) have just announced a series of Intel-processor notebooks based on the nVidia 9400M chipset. Apparently instantly taking 20% of Intel's notebook chipset market in the process. Seems as if nVidia has somehow overcome Apple's traditional 3rd-party caution and HP's previous bad experience.....

RE: Lack of confidence
By SavagePotato on 11/7/2008 12:37:02 PM , Rating: 2
Doesn't overcome my lack of consumer confidence.

I still won't buy one of those notebooks simply because it has Nvidia parts in it. No thanks.

RE: Lack of confidence
By AlexWade on 11/7/2008 3:58:37 PM , Rating: 2
My opinion of NVidia has taken a huge plunge. I used to want them for everything because it everything worked well, the chipsets, the graphics, everything. Now, NVidia drivers are sorry and inferior. I discovered that NVidia drivers are the reason behind tons of BSOD. Until NVidia gets on the ball with drivers, I'm going Intel or AMD chipset, AMD graphics.

RE: Lack of confidence
By Lakku on 11/7/2008 6:13:49 PM , Rating: 2
nVidia chipsets and drivers are bad, but don't think switching to AMD for graphics will be a lot better, if any. They both have issues with certain things and AMD has certainly been releasing a lot of hot fixes for every new game coming out. And while it effects very few of the PC population, Crossfire is still far behind SLi, all of which is in the drivers for the most part, in terms of usability and how often it works on any given game. But to each his own I suppose, I will never own an nVidia chipset for a desktop again, but I will also probably never use an AMD/ATi graphics card again either.

RE: Lack of confidence
By teldar on 11/9/2008 8:38:32 AM , Rating: 2
I don't know that their hotfixes are about stability. The initial post was regarding stability.

The hotfixes are more about performance for the TWIMTBP games that are coded for nvidia cards.

RE: Lack of confidence
By Ihmemies on 11/7/2008 4:20:37 PM , Rating: 3
I've also had horrible experience with nvidia recently. Everything was fine and dandy when I tried nothing hardcore with my pc - like creating a raid array.

Well.. Nforce4's raid support plain sucks. Also my 7800GTX gave up the smoke after 3½ years of use. Drivers haven't bought much happiness either after nvidia moved to the horrible .NET control panel.

My next buy will not include nvidia parts. I don't know if grass is greener on other side of the fence, but I'll never know without trying.

RE: Lack of confidence
By psyph3r on 11/7/2008 4:43:44 PM , Rating: 2
I had been pure nvidia since the geforce 3. with all the troubles lately, i bypassed the 9800 for the 4870 and a 790FX. I'm very happy with the results after 6 months

RE: Lack of confidence
By RockinZ28 on 11/7/2008 7:31:41 PM , Rating: 2
Shrug, mines been fine. Cheaper nForce6 650i board, raid 0 raptors, dual boot Xp Pro 32 and Vista64.
E6600 @ 3.4ghz, ddr2-800 @ 1000mhz.
Gone through a 7900gs, using a 8800gts 512, and am planning another gfx upgrade very soon. Never had any bsod or stability issues, though I did add a Tuniq 120, and better NB and SB heatsinks and fans.

RE: Lack of confidence
By Bigjee on 11/9/2008 3:25:01 PM , Rating: 2
Having read the news about Nvidias defective 8xxx series notebook parts and the way their ceo has been stepping on his own tongue lately, has led me to lose alot of confidence in their product. All this combined to the point I would go out of my way to not get a notebook computer especially with Nvidia hardware in it.

Just the 84XX and 86XX products. The 8800GTS G92 product you own does not suffer from the same defects. Most products effected are for the Laptop variants. I have been using Nvidia for a long time also (7950gt, 6600 GT, and the 8800 GTS G92) and they have all served me well. When the 8800 GTS was launched there was no worthy competitor (ATi especially ) that had a high end card to match the performance. The Ultra and 8800 GTX were king at the time. Now when the 4800 series is launched you shouldn't bash Nvidia for being a low quality manufacturer and having bad customer support.

And now with the 9400M (i've read reviews on MB's and MBP's and everyone is very happy with their 9600 and 9400 cards/chipsets. There are no driver issues or blue screening.

Don't get me wrong no manufacturer is perfect. But Nvidia still has me as a customer. I will continue to buy their products for as long as they are good.

"Game reviewers fought each other to write the most glowing coverage possible for the powerhouse Sony, MS systems. Reviewers flipped coins to see who would review the Nintendo Wii. The losers got stuck with the job." -- Andy Marken
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