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NVIDIA Corporation Is Betting Big on the Data Center

Image credit: NVIDIA.

During the last decade or so, graphics specialist NVIDIA (NASDAQ:NVDA) has worked to find new use cases for its graphics processors beyond the large (and lucrative) market for PC gaming. Not all of the adjacent markets that the company has pursued ultimately bore fruit (see: smartphones and tablets), but several have. One really important one that's starting to get incredibly exciting for the company is the market for high-performance accelerators targeted at data centers.

Historically, NVIDIA has addressed this market by taking graphics processors that were also designed for gaming, professional visualization, and other markets, and -- with a lot of software and ecosystem work on top -- repurposing them for data centers. However, with the company's recently announced Tesla P100 accelerator, which is based on a chip that the company refers to as GP100, it's clear that the data center has become a first-class citizen in terms of the company's chip development. Allow me to explain.

GP100 is a fairly radical departure from GP102

NVIDIA's top graphics processor for data-center applications is the GP100 that I mentioned above. Historically, the very highest end in a given NVIDIA graphics processor lineup would be very large, very expensive to manufacture, and come packed with both a lot of single-precision computing capability, which is useful for games, as well as double-precision computing capability -- which is not useful for games, but helpful for many tasks...


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