Skip to main content

Nvidia is ‘no longer a graphics company’

It’s no secret that Nvidia has quickly morphed into an AI company. Although it creates some of the best graphics cards for PC gamers, the company’s supercomputing efforts have catapulted it into being a trillion-dollar company, and that transformation was spurred on by the monumental rise of ChatGPT. That shift, from a graphics company to an AI company, was intentional choice by Nvidia’s CEO Jensen Huang.

In a moment of saying the quiet part out loud, Greg Estes, the vice president of corporate marketing at Nvidia, said: “[Jensen] sent out an email on Friday evening saying everything is going to deep learning, and that we were no longer a graphics company. By Monday morning, we were an AI company. Literally, it was that fast.”

NVIDIA CEO Jensen Huang on stage.

Estes shared this bit of internal restructuring with The New Yorker in a story that chronicles the history of Nvidia, the rise of AI, and the many times in which Nvidia’s CEO has bet the company on new business ventures. According to the article, the unofficial corporate motto of Nvidia is “our company is 30 days from going out of business,” which refers to the big gambles it has made on everything from coining the term “GPU” to its revolutionary CUDA product stack.

The email where Huang declared Nvidia an AI company came after the development of AlexNet. Alex Krizhevsky and his research partner, Ilya Sutskever, were among the first to use Nvidia graphics cards to train an AI model, which they called AlexNet. Krizhevsky was quickly snatched up by Google, and Sutskever is currently the chief scientist of OpenAI, the company behind ChatGPT. In an interview for the story, Sutkever said, “GPUs showed up and it felt like a miracle.”

Nvidia bet on CUDA in 2006, and although it has seen a rise in popularity since, it hit a fever pitch with the development of ChatGPT. Thousands of Nvidia GPUs were behind the model that built ChatGPT, and almost overnight, Nvidia had thousands of new customers looking to capitalize on the AI revolution. It has made Nvidia one of the most valuable tech companies in the world, sitting only slightly behind Amazon and Alphabet (Google).

Given that context, it makes sense why Nvidia is less interested in being a graphics company than it once was. We’ve certainly seen that reflected in some products Nvidia has released, though. Graphics cards like the RTX 4060 Ti radiate apathy, with high pricing and disappointing performance gains, while halo products like the RTX 4090 showcase massive performance improvements for an equally massive price.

NVIDIA ACE for Games Sparks Life Into Virtual Characters With Generative AI

Nvidia’s investment in AI has paid off in some ways for PC gamers, though. Its DLSS 3.5 tech, which applies AI to frame generation, upscaling, and ray tracing, has provided a massive boost to visual quality and performance in games like Cyberpunk 2077. Nvidia’s ACE tool, which hasn’t made its way into any games yet, is said to drive characters in games entirely by AI, generating new lines of dialogue, facial animations, and audio.

The focus on AI leaves room for the competition, however. Intel is now focusing on creating budget GPUs, and that’s an area where Huang doesn’t seem comfortable. In an interview with The New Yorker, Huang said, “I don’t go anywhere near Intel. Whenever they come near us, I pick up my chips and run.”

There’s also AMD, which takes a back seat to Nvidia’s high-end GPUs, but is still its fiercest competitor. Huang says that’s not the case, telling The New Yorker that “we’re not very competitive.” The article points out that Nvidia employees can pull the relative market share of Nvidia and AMD graphics cards out from memory.

Editors' Recommendations

Jacob Roach
Senior Staff Writer, Computing
Jacob Roach is a writer covering computing and gaming at Digital Trends. After realizing Crysis wouldn't run on a laptop, he…
CableMod’s adapters damaged up to $74K worth of Nvidia GPUs
Melted 12VHPWR connector made by CableMod for the RTX 4090.

CableMod's adapters were meant to fix the problem of melting connectors on Nvidia's top GPU, the RTX 4090, but it appears that things didn't go as planned. The Consumer Product Safety Commission has posted a notice that the CableMod 12VHPWR angled adapters are being recalled due to fire and burn hazards. More than 25,300 adapters are to be returned, and the affected customers are eligible for a full refund.

The connectors on the RTX 4090 have been melting ever since the GPU hit the shelves in late 2022, and so far, the only fix seems to lie in careful installation and picking the right PC case that can accommodate this monstrous card. CableMod's angled adapters showed a lot of promise, at least initially. Seeing as bending the cable can contribute to the overheating, an angled adapter should have been just the fix -- but unfortunately, the melting continued, even with the use of CableMod's solution.

Read more
Nvidia just fixed a major issue with its GPUs
The Nvidia RTX 4080 Super on a pink background.

If you've been unhappy with the performance of your graphics card lately, you might want to check out Nvidia's latest beta driver. This is a hotfix driver, which is pretty unusual for Nvidia, but it can be helpful if you've been dealing with micro-stuttering, both in games and on the desktop. The update addresses four issues in total, but to get it, you'll have to dig a little deeper than the standard path of updating your drivers.

Nvidia typically bundles bug fixes with its usual Game Ready drivers, as urgent hotfixes tend to be few and far between. However, this time, Nvidia chose not to wait any longer and pushed four updates for its GPU range. The new driver version, 551.46, may fix annoying stuttering issues.

Read more
GPU prices and availability (Q1 2024): How much are GPUs today?
An AMD Radeon RX 6500XT placed on a motherboard.

The GPU shortage is over, and gamers around the world can breathe a sigh of relief. For those in the market for one of the best graphics cards, we looked closely at graphics card prices and availability to determine where the GPU market is headed and the best time to buy.

If you're looking for a cheap GPU deal, now is the time to buy. Cards from AMD and Nvidia usually hover around the recommended list price, but some models are actually priced well below that, and the same goes for Intel GPUs.

Read more