NVIDIA: A Success Story
Founded in 1997 by a handful of ex-SGI employees, NVIDIA started out with the Riva128 chipset, which was a fresh stimulus in a 3D sector that had been dominated by 3Dfx until then. Shortly afterwards, Riva TNT and TNT2 caused the downfall of 3Dfx and its Voodoo 3D accelerators. Since 1999, the fastest graphics chips are called GeForce. It's a success story that should soon continue with the fifth generation of graphics chips.
NVIDIA's relationship with Microsoft was promising from the start, and it was an important factor in the company's success. Today, NVIDIA has contributed its chipset plus 3D graphics unit to the Xbox. When the partnership was announced, NVIDIA's stocks increased considerably, counter to the current trend. The reason for the increase, however, was not only due to its partnership with Microsoft, but also to its expansion into the areas of chipset and audio components.
Early on, NVIDIA saw that it had to address all three market segments (low-end, mid-rand, high-end). And so it began with a low-cost version of the Riva TNT (M64), continued on to the GeForce2 MX, GTS, Pro and Ultra, and up until the two latest series, the GeForce4 MX and Ti, both of which are divided up into three different performance categories.
It was only with the chipset that NVIDIA broke away from its own strategy, because the graphics controller was a fixed part of the first nForce. NVIDIA's hopes that the chipset would meet with acceptance through its high 3D performance quickly dissolved. The customers were king, and they weren't ready to shell out extra bucks for the graphics unit. The story was the same for both the end-user as well as the motherboard manufacturers. The latter was not ready to take the risk, in the case that the product could not be sold.
nForce & nForce 2: Only For AMD CPUs!
If you were hoping for a chipset for the Pentium 4 - sorry! nForce2, just like the nForce, is only for AMD Athlon XPs. It can only be speculated as to exactly why NVIDIA took this stance, but indirectly, NVIDIA also offers a technically similar chip for the Pentium III. The Xbox contains such a variant of the nForce technology. Because of this, rumors have it that NVIDIA might soon introduce an appropriate chipset for the Pentium 4.