Nvidia (NASDAQ:NVDA) has had a very solid 12 months, with NVDA stock up 50% during the period. With cryptocurrency and new PC games driving sales of its consumer video cards and data centers snapping up its high powered GPUs, the company has seen strong growth. One area that has underperformed its other divisions is the GPUs used by professional digital-content producers. The company is aiming to change that with the announcement yesterday of its new Nvidia Turing architecture for GPUs.
The new design enables real-time ray tracing, a capability Nvidia claims is the “greatest leap since the invention of the CUDA GPU in 2006.”
NVDA stock got a bump on the news and is up over 1.4% as of this writing.
Nvidia Turing Architecture
Nvidia’s CEO took to the stage at SIGGRAPH — a conference aimed at computer graphics professionals — to unveil the all new Nvidia Turing architecture.
Here’s how the company describes Turing:
“It features new RT Cores to accelerate ray tracing and new Tensor Cores for AI inferencing which, together for the first time, make real-time ray tracing possible.”
The claim of the biggest leap forward in the industry since 2006 seems bold, and smacks of marketing copy. However, when you dig deeper into the technical details, it’s clear that the company isn’t just blowing smoke.
Compared to the previous generation of GPUs that employed NVDA’s Pascal architecture, the Nvidia Turing architecture is capable of accelerating ray-tracing by 25 times. That’s not 25% faster, that’s 25 times faster than the previous generation. It also includes new Tensor Cores that make on-board AI performance significantly faster. The combination — plus the usual generational advances like additional CUDA cores — means that GPUs with the new Nvidia Turing architecture can render scenes with complex lighting effects in real time.
Why Is This a Big Deal?
Why does real-time rendering matter? Computer-graphics professionals such as those working on the special effects for movies often have to wait hours for a scene they’ve mapped out to render on a computer workstation. It can take a long time for even a powerful PC to chew through all the data needed to produce a scene that has ultra-realistic lighting effects. The only way to speed things up is to throw more video cards at the render, quickly ramping up costs.
With the new Nvidia Turing architecture, a computer equipped with a Turing GPU can render that scene in real time, making the artist more productive and cutting down the time and cost needed to produce effect-laden movies.
Upside for NVDA Stock
Over the past fiscal year, strong performance in the video gaming industry and a continued surge in cryptocurrency mining has seen Nvidia’s consumer graphic card sales grow by 35%. It’s high-powered silicon aimed at data centers doubled in sales. But the GPUs aimed at digital-content professionals grew at a more modest 11.8%.
The new Nvidia Turing architecture has the potential to boost that digital content creation market — and move the needle for NVDA stock.
It will also give Nvidia a leg up on rival Advanced Micro Devices (NASDAQ:AMD). And there’s another potential upside here for NVDA stock. As The Verge points out, the Gamescon video gaming conference is next week and Nvidia has been dropping hints about its next-generation consumer video cards. It’s possible that the Nvidia Turing architecture will make its way into new GeForce GPUs, bringing enhanced ray tracing graphic effects to PC gaming. And that’s Nvidia’s biggest market …
New Quadro series video cards are by the end of the year, led by the flagship, $10,000 Quadro RTX 8000.
As of this writing, Brad Moon did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.