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Despite of relatively disappointing results revealed by market analysts on Tuesday, Nvidia Corp., the world’s largest designer of graphics processing units (GPUs), is reportedly boosting production orders at its two main manufacturing partners Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. and United Microelectronics Corp.

Throughout the Q1 2008 Nvidia contracted TSMC to make 50 thousand wafers using 65nm process technology, whereas UMC landed orders for 7 – 9 thousand of wafers from the graphics chip developer. Citing anonymous market watchers, China Economic News Service reports that in Q2 2008 the fabless semiconductor designer will order 60 thousand wafers from TSMC and 10 – 12 thousand wafers from UMC.

Depending on chip’s die area, one 300mm wafer can fit from about 100 very high-end to 800 entry-level die candidates. It is unclear which chips Nvidia ordered to make. However, keeping in mind that the company’s chipset market share is likely to be decreasing due to aggressive promotion of own-brand core-logic sets by Advanced Micro Devices and Intel Corp., the proportion of graphics processing units is rising within Nvidia’s product mix.

During the first quarter of 2008 approximately 24.4 million discrete graphics cards for desktop computers were sold, a decline of 22.9% from Q4 2007, according to estimates by Jon Peddie Research. Nvidia’s partners reportedly shipped 15.86 million standalone GeForce graphics cards for desktops, whereas partners of ATI, graphics product group of AMD, supplied about 8.54 million Radeon-branded desktop add-in boards. According to very rough estimates, Nvidia also supplied about 6 million discrete graphics processors for notebooks, whereas ATI shipped only about 2.5 million of standalone graphics chips for mobile systems.

In total, Nvidia supposedly shipped 21.86 million of various discrete GPUs throughout Q1 2008, whereas its arch-rival ATI apparently supplied only about 11 million standalone graphics processors.

But despite of substantial declines on the market of discrete graphics adapters and relative weakness of the market, Nvidia’s substantial boosting of orders both at TSMC and UMC may either be an indicator that the market of GPUs will skyrocket in the second half of the year, or Nvidia believes that it will continue to capture market share from AMD’s ATI.

Nvidia did not comment on the news-story.


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