Nvidia Corp. will finally start selling its highly-anticipated GeForce GTX 400-series graphics cards as well as other products based on the code-named Fermi architecture and GF100 (NV60, G300, GT300) graphics processing unit (GPU) in the first quarter of fiscal 2011, it looks like mass availability of appropriate products is only expected in Q2 of FY 2011.
“Q2 [of FY 2011] is going to be the quarter when Fermi is hitting the full stride. It will not just be one Fermi product, there will be a couple of Fermi products to span many different price ranges, but also the Fermi products will span GeForce Quadro and Tesla. So, we are going to be ramping now on Fermi architecture products through Q2 and we are building a lot of it. I am really excited about the upcoming launch of Fermi and I think it will more than offset the seasonality that we usually see in Q2,” said Jen-Hsun Huang, chief executive officer of Nvidia, during the most recent conference call with financial analysts.
Earlier the head of Nvidia said that the company would ramp up production of Fermi-based chips in Q1 FY2011. Nvidia’s first quarter of fiscal year 2011 began on the 31st of January, 2010, and will likely end on the 30th of April, 2010; the Q2 of FY 2011 will last from May till late July, 2010. At present many observers suggest that Nvidia will launch the GeForce GTX 470 and GTX 480 graphics cards in March or April, but it looks like the products will not be available in truly mass quantities right after the launch.
Nvidia’s chief executive officer did not provide any concrete timeframes for the transition of the whole lineup to the new Fermi architecture, but said that since the owners of mainstream and entry-level graphics cards hardly demand new functionality, it is not crucial for Nvidia to update currently available “fabulous” graphics chips. In addition, the speed of the transition depends on the supply of 40nm chips by TSMC.
“All of that just depends on 40 nm supply and we are trying to finesse it the best we possibly can. For the entry-level products, the truth is that the new architectures […] are probably not extremely well appreciated anyhow. People, who buy the new architectures, tend to be early adopters and they tend to be the game enthusiasts, workstation designers or creative artists or – there are very specific reasons why it really enhances their experience. Our current-generation GPUs are fabulous and all the things that mainstream consumers would use their computer for. […] I think the mainstream GPUs are really fabulous and has been enhanced recently with some really great features and so my sense is that they are going to continue to do quite nicely in the marketplace. Then we will just transition as fast as we can,” said Mr. Huang.
In the fourth quarter of FY 2010 Nvidia posted revenue of $982.5 million. Sales of GPUs accounted for 58.3% of sales, or $572.9 million.