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NVIDIA Corp.’s general manager for platform division, Drew Henry recently said in an interview that the company had shipped approximately two million of chipsets that supported the company’s multi-GPU SLI technology that allows two graphics cards to work in parallel and achieve higher performance. The claim reflects a relative success in the adoption of the multi-GPU tech, as by late April the company had shipped about 750 thousand of the nForce4 SLI.

“Since NVIDIA’s SLI line was launched in 2004, we have sold about two million SLI-ready nForce4 chipsets and six million GeForce-series graphics chips to date. The SLI segment accounts for 20-25% of NVIDIA’s total chipset shipments,” Drew Henry said in an interview with DigiTimes web-site.

According to Mr. Henry, the nForce4-series chipsets command 90% share in the market of discrete chipsets for processors by Advanced Micro Devices. Currently, 45% of the total number of AMD-based personal computers (PCs) that are sold have integrated chipsets, whereas 55% ship with discrete chipsets, he indicated. At this point NVIDIA supplies only discrete core-logic products for AMD-based PCs, whereas ATI, SiS and VIA sell both integrated and discrete chipsets. The source of the figures Mr. Henry provided is unclear, but it is highly likely that he was talking only about desktop chipsets sales, not all AMD-compatible core-logic sales that would include mobile components as well.

AMD processors-compatible chipset market accounts for 13% of the whole core-logic market. NVIDIA commanded 35% of the market in Q2 2005, down 20% from the previous quarter, according to data by Mercury Research. ATI commanded 27% of the market in Q2, up from virtually nothing in Q1 2005. VIA Technologies and Silicon Integrated Systems shared the rest 38%. NVIDIA’s overall chipset market share was 6% in Q2, whereas ATI’s share was about 3%, according to Mercury Research. 

Provided that the figures claimed by NVIDIA executive are accurate, it can be counted that up to 10% of AMD-based desktop computers are multi-GPU ready. Virtually, it means that every tenth PC powered by AMD processors sold is multi-GPU ready. Furthermore, all NVIDIA-based Intel platforms are multi-GPU ready. Nevertheless, given that the market share of AMD central processing units for the desktop segment is unclear, the share of multi-GPU ready systems overall is also uncertain.

According to a poll by X-bit labs, which asked about 1700 respondents whether a multi-GPU technology was an important factor when buying a new computer, approximately 32% of end-users were interested in multi-GPU support by their new computers, whereas 4% of respondents already owned a PC that was equipped with two graphics cards. Still, about 64% of readers surveyed said they were not interested in a multi-GPU tech. 

NVIDIA Corp. is currently gearing up to launch its C51-series of chipsets with integrated graphics for entry-level computers, which will offer competition to ATI’s RADEON XPRESS 200-series products. In addition, the firm is expected to introduce a core-logic for Intel-based value computers later this year.

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