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Nvidia says Geforce Grid could hurt desktop GPU sales

Looks at the bigger picture
Thu May 17 2012, 14:50

CHIP DESIGNER Nvidia has acknowledged that its Geforce Grid cloud rendering technology could take sales away from its discrete graphics business.

Earlier this week Nvidia announced its Geforce Grid cloud rendering technology that will allow firms to stream games to a wide range of devices including smartphones and tablets. Subsequently the green goblin admitted that games streaming could cut into sales of its traditional desktop GPU products.

Phil Eisler, GM for Cloud Gaming and 3D Vision at Nvidia said, "There's some possibility for [product cannibalisation], but we also think Geforce Grid extends the market for Geforce. When you think about it, it is really taking Geforce gaming to a larger variety of tablets. Certainly of the Apple products, it is possible to experience Geforce gaming, [and] we can also get to all the [internet] TVs in the world."

Although Nvidia could experience product cannibalisation, one could argue whether that would happen anyway, as increasingly gamers are forced to move from PCs onto consoles, thanks to games developers ignoring the PC as a primarily development environment. However Eisler said that some gamers will remain on the PC due to its performance benefits in terms of latency.

According to Eisler, the total system latency including render and display times on a PC is still half that of current generation consoles. During Eisler's presentation he said that games streamed through the Geforce Grid will have latencies similar to those of consoles, excluding the network latency, which is an impressive feat but one that still has significantly higher latency than local PC gaming.

Eisler confirmed that Nvidia's Geforce Grid system uses the firm's GK104 GPU found in its Tesla K10 GPGPU accelerator boards. He said the setup typically results in the cards using 75W per game instance.

Despite Nvidia managing to take the desktop GPU performance crown with its Kepler architecture, the most significant win could come in the datacentre from both high performance computing and cloud rendering farms. And past history has shown with embedded graphics that Nvidia doesn't mind abandoning successful product lines in favour of entering growth markets. µ


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