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Graphics and A.I. chip maker Nvidia reported second-quarter earnings that beat Wall Street’s expectations by a handy margin.
Nvidia’s results are a bellwether for the PC industry, as the company is one of the largest makers of graphics chips. Its results are also indicators of the health of sectors such as PC gaming hardware, graphics-enhanced data center computing, deep learning, and car computing.
The general PC market isn’t growing like it once did, but Nvidia has embraced other markets, including gaming, professional visualization, data centers, and automotive electronics.
The Santa Clara, California-based company reported non-GAAP earnings of 53 cents a share on revenue of $1.43 billion.
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Analysts expected Nvidia to report second-quarter revenue of $1.35 billion, according to a Thomson Reuters survey. Earnings per share were forecast to rise to 37 cents from 5 cents a year ago.
Nvidia has an estimated 81 percent share of the discrete graphics card market, according to Jon Peddie Research. Nvidia’s stock is rising at $61 a share in after-hours trading. Nvidia’s outlook for the third fiscal quarter is revenue of $1.68 billion and gross profit margins of 58 percent.
“Strong demand for our new Pascal-generation GPUs and surging interest in deep learning drove record results,” said Jen-Hsun Huang, chief executive of Nvidia, in a statement. “Our strategy to focus on creating the future where graphics, computer vision and artificial intelligence converge is fueling growth across our specialized platforms — Gaming, Pro Visualization, Datacenter and Automotive.”
He added, “We are more excited than ever about the impact of deep learning and AI, which will touch every industry and market. We have made significant investments over the past five years to evolve our entire GPU computing stack for deep learning. Now, we are well positioned to partner with researchers and developers all over the world to democratize this powerful technology and invent its future.”
Nvidia grew up as a PC graphics chip company, and it is the last stand-alone maker of such chips, in competition with microprocessor makers Intel and AMD. But Huang has dedicated most of the time in Nvidia’s recent press conferences to Nvidia’s attempts to create supercomputers for cars, which could fuel innovations such as dashboard electronics, infotainment systems, and self-driving cars. He also recently announced its new consumer PC graphics chips based on its Pascal architecture.
The company recently unveiled the graphics processing units (GPUs) at a live event in Austin, Texas. The Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 and 1070 GPUs represent the newest generation of graphics for consumer computers, and they come at a time when 3D graphics is being pushed to its limit by virtual reality headsets.
The consumer GPUs come after Nvidia unveiled the very first Pascal-based GPU, the P100, which was targeted at deep learning neural networks. Pascal is a new master design, dubbed an architecture, for a whole generation of chips that also come with a new manufacturing process. The process, based on the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing’s 16 nanometer FinFET node technology, represents a new spin of Moore’s Law, or the prediction that the number of transistors on a chip doubles every couple of years. This process will enable chips that are faster, smaller, and cheaper than previous generations.
The previous generation of chips used the 28-nanometer TSMC process that has been available to Nvidia and rival Advanced Micro Devices since 2012. With the new process, Nvidia was able to create the P100 with 15 billion transistors on a single chip.
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