By Noel Randewich
SAN JOSE, California, March 19 Nvidia Corp
unveiled a server product on Tuesday that allows
low-end computers to perform graphics-intensive tasks, the
chipmaker's latest foray into new markets as its traditional PC
market loses steam.
As consumers increasingly choose tablets and smartphones
over personal computers, Nvidia has been looking for areas to
apply its graphics chip expertise, including enterprise
computing, mobile devices and hand-held game devices.
Chief Executive Jen-Hsun Huang said the new product, called
the GRID Virtual Computing Appliance, would give small- and
medium-sized companies access to sophisticated graphics
computing power for tasks like image processing without the need
for top-tier PCs.
"It's as if you have your own virtual high-end PC under your
desk," Huang said during a presentation at an industry event in
San Jose, California.
The product is made up of a server rack filled with Intel
Corp's Xeon central processors, memory chips and
several of Nvidia's high-end graphics processors.
It is aimed at companies with limited IT infrastructure and
will be priced starting at $24,900, plus $2,400 a year for a
Nvidia is partnering with enterprise technology companies
like Hewlett-Packard Co, International Business Machines
Corp and Dell Inc to sell a more sophisticated
virtual graphics product for larger companies.
At the event, Nvidia also announced upcoming Tegra mobile
processors, including one codenamed Logan expected to be
launched in 2014. Another, codenamed Parker, will be 10 times as
powerful as current chips when it is released in 2015, Nvidia
Nvidia has met some success with its Tegra mobile chips in
tablets, but the company, best-known for its high-end PC
graphics chips used by gamers, faces stiff competition from
In a presentation to analysts later on Tuesday, Huang said
Microsoft's launch of its Windows RT operating system last year
fell short of his expectations.
Microsoft's own Surface brand tablet, which runs Windows RT
and uses Nvidia's Tegra processors, has not captured customers'
imaginations since its launch last October.
"Windows RT is disappointing to us because we expected it to
have sold more than we did," Huang said. "Everyone expected it
to have sold more than it did."
Gartner estimates that Microsoft sold fewer than 900,000
Surface tablets in the fourth quarter, which is a fraction of
the 23 million iPads sold by Apple Inc. Microsoft has
not released its own figures but has not publicly disputed
The graphics server products unveiled by Nvidia on Tuesday
follow other recently announced ventures beyond PCs and tablets.
In January, Nvidia showed off a different cloud server and
software product called the Nvidia Grid, designed to remotely
handle graphics computations for video games instead of on
consoles like the Xbox in game-players' living rooms.
Nvidia also plans in the second quarter to start shipping a
new hand-held gaming device with its upcoming Tegra 4 processor
and a built-in screen. The device, referred to as Project
Shield, runs Android games currently found on smartphones and
tablets and can also stream video games from PCs.
The company has also been promoting its graphics chips to be
used in supercomputers for tasks they specifically excel at,
like climate prediction, physics simulations and oil
Nvidia's stock closed down 0.6 percent at $12.47 on Nasdaq.