Some video footage of a sprightly Jensen Huang has resurfaced via Reddit, and is causing a commotion. In the lengthy video we hear what appears to be a more idealistic version of the Nvidia CEO, with no leather jacket in sight, perched on the edge of a desk. He recounts how the video game graphics industry was looked down upon by investors, and his parents... However, the statement causing most sparks on social media today is when Jensen told the audience that one of his major goals was to make the best graphics technology “inexpensive.”
After a brief intro, Jensen outlined his vision beginning at 8:20 in the video below, where he talked about the importance of making gaming graphics cards affordable. “We started a company and the business plan basically read something like this,” stated the Nvidia CEO. “We are going to take technology that is only available only in the most expensive workstations. We’re going… to try and reinvent the technology and make it inexpensive.” He went on to explain to the attentive audience that his success was largely that “the killer app was video games.”
Jensen Huang related his experience as an engineer, entrepreneur and innovator to a small selection of Stanford University staff and students back in 2011. At the time, Nvidia was already a huge success, with many major industry milestones behind it; founded in 1994, with the popular Riva 128 launched in 1997, crediting itself with the ‘invention of the GPU’ in 1999, launching the CUDA architecture in 2005, and shipping of its billionth processor in the year this video was recorded. In product terms the highly anticipated GeForce GTX 500 (Fermi refresh) series was new. For some perspective the GeForce GTX 500 series of graphics cards launched in 2011 were priced (MSRP) between $149 (GeForce GTX 550 Ti) and $699 (GTX 590 with dual-GPUs).
It sounds like a great plan, looking back from 2023, but younger Jensen went on to describe how dismissive investors (and parents) were regarding the stated route to success – following the goal of designing 3D graphics chips for gaming.
Tech enthusiasts tend to look closely at developments over shorter timescales, as they are keen to get an eye on the next big development, but if we step back we can see a bigger picture. Ponder over, for example the improvements to PC gaming graphics since this Stanford talk, when a flagship GPU was $699. The equivalent sum is about $950 today if we just consider general inflation.
For perhaps another view, take a look at our popular reference article, the GPU Benchmarks and Hierarchy 2023. This shows a pleasingly wide selection of graphics cards which are comparatively performance ranked from as far back as the GeForce RTX 900 series (Maxwell architecture, 2014-15) days. The steady march of GPU generational performance is still pretty clear to see, and if the prices are inherently wrong, the market will always decide. Let us know what you think about Jensen's 2011 statements in the comments section.
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Mark Tyson is a Freelance News Writer at Tom's Hardware US. He enjoys covering the full breadth of PC tech; from business and semiconductor design to products approaching the edge of reason.
And that is why I never listen to anything these CEO's have to say...Reply
That was likely before wall st goons started pumping him with the idea that he could by one of the Hawaiian islands from Larry Ellison. Once wall st. starts talking hookies and blow to a CEO all bets are off.Reply
“We are going to take technology that is only available only in the most expensive workstations. We’re going… to try and reinvent the technology and make it inexpensive.”Reply
Kudos to Jensen for doing exactly that!
In 1995 when Nvidia was founded, what did workstation graphics cards cost? A Sun Ultra 1 Creator3D Model 170E was listed for $28k in 1995 (around $50k in today's money), though that's for the whole system rather than just the GPU (which does not appear to have been something listed separately). Then there's the SGI Onyx, which were in the quarter million dollar range (in 1995 money!).Reply
So yeah, even today we're definitely not paying workstation card prices.
he was "poor" then as gpu werent as in demand as now.Reply
but yes we all know why gpu are so $$$...its pure jensen greed (he wants to be apple and the apple tax)
He did exactly what he said. The amount of compute power you're getting for under $1000 is absolutely insane. You would have had to pay over $50k for a GPU accelerator way back when.Reply
Not sure if it is fair to depict Nvidia as some sort of sole pioneer, when it actually was 3dfx who had the first GPU with some usability outside of professional settings (while Nvidia was experimenting with NURBS). And e.g. IBM's Professional Graphics Controller (released in 1984) was already quite cheaper than CAD-Workstations. But sure, Nvidia exists, and their GPUs get a job done, and not that expensive when one doesn't expect a skyscraper in 4K at 60 FPS... :)Reply
Disrupt the market with something new and oust the old, when that is done. Rasie prices and make loads of money before someone else comes along and does the same to you.Reply
If you make enough any young pretender can be either be bought out or the price to enter that market so high no one can do it!.
Even Intel with all the money it has is having problems breaking into the market. While it has not made dGPU's for some time it has made iGPUs and this has not helped so how can someone else even have a chance.
In the post-Y2K world, you don't have to worry about anyone else rising to do the same to you because you patented the hell out of everything necessary to stand any chance of catching up with you or recycling old patent by filing new patents for "same old crap as 20 years ago, but now with strawberry-filled Gate-all-around fin-FETs."thisisaname said:Disrupt the market with something new and oust the old, when that is done. Rasie prices and make loads of money before someone else comes along and does the same to you.
Jensen used to be all for inexpensive GPUs, until he took an arrow to the hair line.Reply