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Nvidia’s Maxwell architecture drives growth in PC gaming space

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Mar. 4 2015, Updated 5:05 p.m. ET

Nvidia accomplishes transition to Maxwell architecture

In 3Q15, Nvidia (NVDA) accomplished the transition to Maxwell-based graphics processing units (or GPUs) for desktops, notebooks, and workstations. Maxwell is Nvidia’s tenth generation GPU architecture. Nvidia claims that Maxwell offers two times the performance power of its predecessor, Kepler architecture. The company claims Kepler is the most energy-efficient GPU ever built.

You can consider investing in the VanEck Vectors Semiconductor ETF (SMH) and the PowerShares QQQ Trust (QQQ) to gain exposure to Nvidia. Nvidia makes up about 1.94% and 0.22% of these ETFs, respectively.

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GPU segment continues to post record revenues

Nvidia’s GPU business grew 13% quarter-over-quarter and 11% on a year-over-year basis in 4Q15 and fiscal 2015, respectively. This growth was on account of a Maxwell architecture refresh, as well as the seasonal increase in consumer PCs. The above presentation shows various generations of Nvidia GPUs.

Nvidia also partnered with IBM (IBM) to accelerate the use of its GPU in the IBM DB2 with that would serve to enhance its presence in big data analytics. Technology leaders such as Microsoft (MSFT), Oracle (ORCL), and IBM all want to increase their share in big data analytics.

Maxwell architecture is a break from Nvidia’s product philosophy

Maxwell is the first Nvidia GPU that started out as a “mobile first” design. Earlier, Nvidia would design a flagship desktop GPU and scale it down to mobile and SoC class designs. However, this philosophy came to an end with Kepler architecture. Realizing the SMAC (social, mobile, analytics and cloud) revolution, Nvidia chose to embrace power efficiency and mobile-friendly designs as the foundation of its GPU architectures. This was the reason Nvidia went mobile first on Maxwell, marking a significant change in Nividia’s product design philosophy.

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