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4. Nvidia: DirectX 11 Will Not Catalyze Sales of Graphics Cards

Sometimes it is better to be tightlipped rather than talkative, even if you are public relations executive. Mike Hara, vice president of investor relations at Nvidia said at a technology conference that DirectX 11 would not catalyze sales of graphics cards. The quote immediately became the quote of the year in the computer graphics industry.

Michael W. Hara

“DirectX 11 by itself is not going be the defining reason to buy a new GPU. It will be one of the reasons. This is why Microsoft is in work with the industry to allow more freedom and more creativity in how you build content, which is always good, and the new features in DirectX 11 are going to allow people to do that. But that no longer is the only reason, we believe, consumers would want to invest in a GPU,” said Mike Hara.

Nvidia was days before facing the rival ATI (graphics business unit of Advanced Micro Devices) was set to start selling its ATI Radeon HD 5800-series graphics cards, which were not only DirectX 11-compliant, but were also the fastest single-chip graphics solutions in the world. But performance was not important anymore, said the vice president. What mattered, according to him, was Nvidia’ stereo 3D Vision (which is compatible with four computer displays [only two of which are on sale] and a number of high-end DLP HDTVs) technology as well as Nvidia PhysX-based visual effects in several games.

“Graphics industry, I think, is on the point that microprocessor industry was several years ago, when AMD made the public confession that frequency does not matter anymore and it is more about performance per watt. I think we are the same crossroad with the graphics world: framerate and resolution are nice, but today they are very high and going from 120fps to 125fps is not going to fundamentally change end-user experience. But I think the things that we are doing with Stereo 3D Vision, PhysX, about making the games more immersive, more playable is beyond framerates and resolutions. Nvidia will show with the next-generation GPUs that the compute side is now becoming more important that the graphics side,” concluded Mr. Hara.

In the end it transpired that DirectX 11 was still a catalyst to sell graphics cards: ATI sold 800 thousand of DX11 graphics processing units as of mid-December, 2009.

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