Can nVidia survive without a sub-$100 GPU market?

Article: Parallelism at HotPar 2010
By: Linus Torvalds (torvalds.delete@this.linux-foundation.org), August 4, 2010 11:35 am
Room: Moderated Discussions
Mark Roulo (nothanks@xxx.com) on 8/4/10 wrote:
>
>I was hoping (still am, actually!) for some insight into
>the relative profits between the lines, though. For
>example, if the bottom 80% by volume GPU sales only
>contribute 10% of the profits, then I can see surviving
>w/o the lower 80%.

No. No. No. No.

You cannot count/think that way. It sounds "obviously
correct", but it is, in fact, total and utter garbage.

Why? Because a lot of the costs are fixed. The cost of
things like driver development is largely fixed. The
cost of much of the engineering is similarly largely
fixed.

And those costs aren't "per SKU". They are generally
across the whole (or at least a large part) of the line.

So let's go through what that actually means. Say that
nVidia sells a hundred million low-cost chips, and only
5 million high-cost ones. And lets say that the profit
on the low-cost chips is zero just to make the
point really obvious, and all of nVidia's actual profit
comes from the high-cost ones.

According to your logic, nVidia would make as much money
if it just dumped the totally profit-less low end.

But think about it. "profit" isn't actually really money.
It's the difference in cost and sales - and those are the
"real money" numbers that you need to look at. And if many
of the costs are relatively fixed, and not very directly
related to how many units are shipped, what happens?

Think about it. Really.

Those "low end" cards that made zero profit were
still paying for costs. Now, they didn't pay any more for
the costs that they brought in, but they very much supported
the whole operation.

And if they go away, the sales numbers go down, and they
go down a lot more than the cost numbers did. The cost stays
relatively constant - remember how driver development was
not cheap? So suddenly the "costs" of the high end actually
go up, even though you got rid of something that didn't
help your profit at all.

Now, admittedly, there are few totally fixed costs. The
driver development would certainly be a bit cheaper if you
didn't need to worry about cards that had just half the
raster pipelines or whatever. And there are development
costs to doing those half-unit designs too, as well as with
just shrinking and maintaining old designs and selling them
in the low end.

Even "pure silicon" cost isn't linear with volume. Not only
do you want to bin those chips (by speed grades and number
of working units), your silicon supplier is likely to give
you better prices per wafer if you do lots of them. Or just
preferred treatment and care more when you have troubles
with your vias.

So no. It's a total mistake to think that you can skip the
low-grade chips because they don't bring in much profit.
They may not give you those sexy profit margins, but they
are (or should be) what pays for your fixed costs.

The high end is pure candy. It may be what you enjoy, but
without the bread and butter you're going to be very very
unhealthy.

Linus
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TopicPosted ByDate
Tarek's Hotpar 2010 article onlineDavid Kanter2010/07/27 08:29 AM
  Tarek's Hotpar 2010 article onlineAnon2010/07/27 02:57 PM
    Tarek's Hotpar 2010 article onlineDavid Kanter2010/07/27 11:48 PM
      Tarek's Hotpar 2010 article onlineAnon2010/07/28 03:44 PM
        Tarek's Hotpar 2010 article onlineanon2010/07/28 05:10 PM
        CPU+GPUDavid Kanter2010/07/29 12:38 PM
          CPU+GPUMark Christiansen2010/07/30 07:36 AM
            CPU+GPUhobold2010/07/30 07:54 AM
              CPU+GPUGabriele Svelto2010/07/30 08:18 AM
                CPU+GPUhobold2010/07/30 03:46 PM
              CPU+GPUAaron Spink2010/08/02 06:32 PM
                CPU+GPUhobold2010/08/03 04:33 AM
                  CPU+GPURicardo B2010/08/03 05:19 AM
            CPU+GPU - the software problemVincent Diepeveen2010/07/31 05:50 PM
              CPU+GPU - the software problemmpx2010/08/02 12:19 PM
                CPU+GPU - the software problemRichard Cownie2010/08/02 01:48 PM
                  CPU+GPU - the software problemGabriele Svelto2010/08/03 12:10 AM
                    CPU+GPU - the software problemhobold2010/08/03 04:41 AM
                      CPU+GPU - the software problemRichard Cownie2010/08/03 06:17 AM
                        CPU+GPU - the software problemhobold2010/08/04 07:45 AM
                          NVidia in a holeRichard Cownie2010/08/04 08:23 AM
                            NVidia in a holeRohit2010/08/04 08:33 AM
                              NVidia in a holeRichard Cownie2010/08/04 08:50 AM
                                NVidia in a holeRohit2010/08/05 07:31 AM
                                  NVidia in a holeGroo2010/08/05 02:08 PM
                                NVidia in a holeGroo2010/08/05 02:07 PM
                              NVidia in a holeMark Roulo2010/08/04 09:26 AM
                                NVidia in a holeLaughabee2010/08/18 08:28 AM
                            Can nVidia survive without a sub-$100 GPU market?Mark Roulo2010/08/04 09:29 AM
                              Can nVidia survive without a sub-$100 GPU market?Richard Cownie2010/08/04 09:42 AM
                                Can nVidia survive without a sub-$100 GPU market?Mark Roulo2010/08/04 09:55 AM
                                  Can nVidia survive without a sub-$100 GPU market?Linus Torvalds2010/08/04 11:35 AM
                                    "profit" is subjectiveRichard Cownie2010/08/04 11:49 AM
                                      "profit" is subjectivea reader2010/08/06 04:54 AM
                                        no price warRichard Cownie2010/08/06 07:18 AM
                                  Can nVidia survive without a sub-$100 GPU market?Aaron Spink2010/08/04 12:19 PM
                                  Can nVidia survive without a sub-$100 GPU market?Konrad Schwarz2010/08/06 08:13 AM
                                CPU lineup != GPU lineupRohit2010/08/05 07:43 AM
                                  CPU lineup != GPU lineupRichard Cownie2010/08/05 08:12 AM
                                    CPU lineup != GPU lineupRohit2010/08/05 08:37 AM
                                      CPU lineup != GPU lineupRichard Cownie2010/08/05 08:56 AM
                                        CPU lineup != GPU lineupRohit2010/08/05 11:19 AM
                                          CPU lineup != GPU lineuphobold2010/08/06 04:08 AM
                                            CPU lineup != GPU lineupRohit2010/08/06 07:24 AM
                                              CPU lineup != GPU lineuphobold2010/08/06 07:41 AM
                              Can nVidia survive without a sub-$100 GPU market?David Hess2010/08/04 11:31 AM
                              Can nVidia survive without a sub-$100 GPU market?Ricardo B2010/08/04 01:16 PM
                              Semiconductor economicsDavid Kanter2010/08/05 09:13 AM
                                Semiconductor economicsRichard Cownie2010/08/05 09:51 AM
                                  NV buying ViA could shake up thingsRohit2010/08/05 11:09 AM
                                    NV buying ViA could shake up thingsRichard Cownie2010/08/05 11:25 AM
                                      Not likelyDavid Kanter2010/08/05 02:39 PM
                                        Not likelyrandom2010/08/05 02:49 PM
                                          Not likelyAaron Spink2010/08/05 03:18 PM
                                        Not likelyGroo2010/08/05 10:05 PM
                                        Not likelyRohit2010/08/06 07:25 AM
                                    NV buying ViA could shake up thingsGroo2010/08/05 10:02 PM
                                    NV buying ViA could shake up thingsehud2010/08/06 01:53 AM
                                      NV buying ViA could shake up thingsRohit2010/08/06 07:30 AM
                                        NV buying ViA could shake up thingsKevin G2010/08/06 05:54 PM
                                          ViA buying NV could shake up thingsBrendan2010/08/19 06:23 AM
                                        NV buying ViA could shake up thingsGroo2010/08/06 08:24 PM
                            NVidia in a holempx2010/08/04 12:01 PM
                              NVidia in a holeRichard Cownie2010/08/04 12:31 PM
                                NVidia in a holercf2010/08/04 03:40 PM
                              NVidia in a holeRohit2010/08/05 07:51 AM
                              NVidia in a holeGroo2010/08/05 09:50 PM
                              NVidia in a holeAaron Spink2010/08/05 11:52 PM
                          Anyone else wish Intel would buy Nvidia ? (NT)Silent2010/08/07 01:30 AM
                            Hell noa2010/08/07 08:37 PM
                        CPU+GPU - the software problemno thanks2010/08/04 07:54 PM
                          CPU+GPU - the software problemJouni Osmala2010/08/05 01:41 AM
                            CPU+GPU - the software problemIntelUser20002010/08/05 07:54 PM
                              CPU+GPU - the software problemJouni Osmala2010/08/05 09:36 PM
                            CPU+GPU - the software problemLinus Torvalds2010/08/06 08:08 AM
                              CPU+GPU - the software problemanonymous2010/08/06 09:39 AM
                                CPU+GPU - the software problemLinus Torvalds2010/08/06 10:56 AM
                                  non-existent Via+NV vs real OntarioRichard Cownie2010/08/06 12:12 PM
                              CPU+GPU - the software problemkoby m.2010/08/07 02:06 AM
                  CPU+GPU - the software problemhobold2010/08/03 04:48 AM
                CPU+GPU - the software problemhobold2010/08/03 04:45 AM
                  CPU+GPU - the software problemRichard Cownie2010/08/03 06:22 AM
          CPU+GPUAnon2010/07/30 09:11 PM
            CPU+GPUanon2010/07/31 03:19 AM
            CPU+GPUAaron Spink2010/08/02 06:45 PM
          100x speedups -- here we go againAM2010/08/02 01:37 AM
            100x speedups -- here we go againanon2010/08/02 03:32 AM
              100x speedups -- here we go againanon2010/08/02 11:14 PM
            GPU raw H/W only has about a 10x advantage over a CPUMark Roulo2010/08/02 09:41 AM
              GPU raw H/W only has about a 10x advantage over a CPUMichael S2010/08/02 03:31 PM
                GPU raw H/W only has about a 10x advantage over a CPUanon2010/08/02 09:36 PM
                  GPU raw H/W only has about a 10x advantage over a CPUMichael S2010/08/03 12:41 AM
                    GPU raw H/W only has about a 10x advantage over a CPUMark Roulo2010/08/03 08:22 AM
                      GPU raw H/W only has about a 10x advantage over a CPURohit2010/08/04 07:08 AM
                      There is reasonable explanation...Jouni Osmala2010/08/04 10:10 PM
                  GPU raw H/W only has about a 10x advantage over a CPUMark Roulo2010/08/03 08:19 AM
              simple reality check for youAM2010/08/03 01:45 AM
                simple reality check for younone2010/08/03 07:27 AM
                  simple reality check for youAM2010/08/03 11:50 PM
                    simple reality check for youanon2010/08/04 12:06 AM
                      simple reality check for youAM2010/08/05 03:51 AM
                        catch the same boat as everyone else next time (NT)anon2010/08/05 04:44 AM
                Simple reality checkDavid Kanter2010/08/03 08:24 AM
                  Simple reality checkGabriele Svelto2010/08/03 10:51 PM
                  Simple reality checkAM2010/08/03 11:57 PM
                    Simple reality checkanon2010/08/04 12:12 AM
                      Simple reality checkAM2010/08/05 03:59 AM
                        Simple reality checkanon2010/08/05 04:47 AM
                          Study the papers, troll (NT)AM2010/08/06 12:01 AM
                    Simple reality checkhobold2010/08/04 05:05 AM
                    Simple reality checkDean Kent2010/08/04 09:30 AM
                      Simple reality checkMark Roulo2010/08/04 09:59 AM
                      Suggestion for David Kanter and Mark RouloAM2010/08/05 03:57 AM
                        Suggestion for David Kanter and Mark Roulonone2010/08/05 04:22 AM
                          Suggestion for David Kanter and Mark RouloAM2010/08/06 12:04 AM
                        Suggestion for David Kanter and Mark Roulonone2010/08/05 04:38 AM
                          Suggestion for David Kanter and Mark Rouloanon2010/08/05 04:43 AM
                            Suggestion for David Kanter and Mark RouloAM2010/08/06 12:11 AM
                              Suggestion for David Kanter and Mark Rouloanon2010/08/06 07:52 AM
                          Suggestion for David Kanter and Mark RouloAM2010/08/06 12:10 AM
                            Suggestion for David Kanter and Mark Roulonone2010/08/06 01:35 AM
                              price doesn't matter only in theories (NT)AM2010/08/09 02:13 AM
                            Not apple4appleMichael S2010/08/06 05:13 AM
                              Not apple4appleAM2010/08/09 02:09 AM
                                Not apple4appleMichael S2010/08/09 04:35 AM
                                  Not apple4appleAM2010/08/10 01:05 AM
                                    Not apple4applenone2010/08/10 01:38 AM
                                      Back to topicAM2010/08/11 12:03 AM
                                      Final note (and some remarks on Intel's paper)AM2010/08/13 04:28 AM
                                        Final note (and some remarks on Intel's paper)none2010/08/13 09:10 AM
                                          Final note (and some remarks on Intel's paper)AM2010/08/16 01:14 AM
                                            Final note (and some remarks on Intel's paper)none2010/08/16 06:29 AM
                                              One example of 1000X shown to be wrong.sea2010/08/16 07:55 PM
                                                You're short of some factsAM2010/08/17 01:13 AM
                                                  Maybe you need to read beyond the PR statementSteve Underwood2010/08/17 02:39 AM
                                                    Maybe you need to read beyond the PR statementGroo2010/08/17 08:18 PM
                                                    check the hw they usedAM2010/08/18 03:33 AM
                                                Please realize what Monte Carlo meansVincent Diepeveen2010/08/18 03:28 AM
                                              Final note (and some remarks on Intel's paper)AM2010/08/17 01:18 AM
                                        Final note (and some remarks on Intel's paper)anon2010/08/14 01:22 AM
                                          Final note (and some remarks on Intel's paper)AM2010/08/16 01:15 AM
                                            Final note (and some remarks on Intel's paper)anon2010/08/16 02:10 PM
                                              Final note (and some remarks on Intel's paper)AM2010/08/17 01:15 AM
                                                Final note (and some remarks on Intel's paper)Michael S2010/08/17 02:58 AM
                                                  Final note (and some remarks on Intel's paper)AM2010/08/18 03:17 AM
                                                    Final note (and some remarks on Intel's paper)gallier22010/08/18 04:52 AM
                                                    Final note (and some remarks on Intel's paper)Michael S2010/08/18 05:33 AM
                                                      Final note (and some remarks on Intel's paper)Gabriele Svelto2010/08/18 06:11 AM
                                                      Final note (and some remarks on Intel's paper)Steve Underwood2010/08/18 04:03 PM
                                                        Intel might be moving from ISA to platformhobold2010/08/19 03:58 AM
                                                          Intel might be moving from ISA to platformSteve Underwood2010/08/22 07:00 PM
                                                            Intel might be moving from ISA to platformAnon2010/08/22 10:43 PM
                                                              Intel might be moving from ISA to platformajensen2010/08/23 12:37 AM
                                                                Intel might be moving from ISA to platformMichael S2010/08/23 02:13 AM
                                                                  Intel might be moving from ISA to platformSteve Underwood2010/08/23 02:35 AM
                                                                  Intel might be moving from ISA to platformhobold2010/08/26 04:37 AM
                                                                Intel might be moving from ISA to platformAnon2010/08/23 03:47 PM
                                                              Intel might be moving from ISA to platformSteve Underwood2010/08/23 02:25 AM
                                                                Intel might be moving from ISA to platformhobold2010/08/23 03:03 AM
                                                                  Intel might be moving from ISA to platformSteve Underwood2010/08/23 04:26 AM
                                                                Intel might be moving from ISA to platformAnon2010/08/23 03:55 PM
                                                                Intel might be moving from ISA to platformrwessel2010/08/23 06:41 PM
                                                                  Intel might be moving from ISA to platformSteve Underwood2010/08/23 07:30 PM
                                                                    Intel might be moving from ISA to platformrwessel2010/08/23 09:50 PM
                                                                      Intel might be moving from ISA to platformSteve Underwood2010/08/23 10:34 PM
                                                                        Intel might be moving from ISA to platformrwessel2010/08/24 01:03 AM
                                                              Intel might be moving from ISA to platformIan Ollmann2010/08/23 09:21 PM
                                                          Intel might be moving from ISA to platformajensen2010/08/22 10:36 PM
                                                            Intel might be moving from ISA to platformIan Ollmann2010/08/23 09:45 PM
                                                      Final note (and some remarks on Intel's paper)AM2010/08/19 01:29 AM
                                                        Final note (and some remarks on Intel's paper)Richard2010/08/19 04:51 AM
                                                          I stand corrected.Michael S2010/08/19 05:30 AM
                simple reality check for youanonymous2010/08/03 10:25 AM
                  simple reality check for youAM2010/08/03 11:47 PM
                    simple reality check for youanonymous2010/08/04 10:17 AM
                      simple reality check for youanon2010/08/04 08:33 PM
                      SPECint/FPAM2010/08/05 03:49 AM
                  simple reality check for youRohit2010/08/13 08:31 PM
                    simple reality check for youhobold2010/08/16 06:29 AM
              maybe texture caches ?Richard Cownie2010/08/03 09:27 AM
                maybe texture caches ?none2010/08/03 09:59 AM
                  maybe texture caches ?Richard Cownie2010/08/03 10:15 AM
                    maybe texture caches ?Mark Roulo2010/08/03 10:23 AM
                      maybe texture caches ?Richard Cownie2010/08/03 10:33 AM
                        maybe texture caches ?Mark Roulo2010/08/03 10:37 AM
                          the Hess paperRichard Cownie2010/08/03 11:16 AM
                    maybe texture caches ?Aaron Spink2010/08/03 01:23 PM
                      maybe texture caches ?Mark Roulo2010/08/03 04:13 PM
                        maybe texture caches ?Michael S2010/08/04 01:47 AM
                  maybe texture caches ?Michael S2010/08/03 10:23 AM
                maybe texture caches ?Mark Roulo2010/08/03 10:19 AM
                  maybe texture caches ?Richard Cownie2010/08/03 10:42 AM
                Cache to cache comparisonDavid Kanter2010/08/03 12:28 PM
                  Cache to cache comparisonRichard Cownie2010/08/03 12:52 PM
                    Cache to cache comparisonDavid Kanter2010/08/03 01:21 PM
                      Cache to cache comparisonRichard Cownie2010/08/03 03:55 PM
                      Cache to cache comparisonGabriele Svelto2010/08/03 11:23 PM
                        Nehalem vs Core2Richard Cownie2010/08/04 04:24 PM
                          Nehalem vs Core2IntelUser20002010/08/04 07:26 PM
                          Nehalem vs Core2Gabriele Svelto2010/08/04 10:51 PM
                            Nehalem vs Core2Richard Cownie2010/08/05 03:27 AM
                              Nehalem vs Core2Gabriele Svelto2010/08/05 06:00 AM
                                Nehalem vs Core2Richard Cownie2010/08/05 07:10 AM
                                  Nehalem vs Core2Gabriele Svelto2010/08/05 07:41 AM
                                    Nehalem vs Core2Michael S2010/08/05 10:02 AM
                              Nehalem vs Core2Michael S2010/08/05 10:12 AM
                          Nehalem vs Core2Michael S2010/08/05 12:36 AM
                            Nehalem vs Core2Richard Cownie2010/08/05 08:33 AM
                              Nehalem vs Core2Michael S2010/08/05 09:44 AM
                                Nehalem vs Core2Richard Cownie2010/08/05 10:03 AM
                                  Nehalem vs Core2Michael S2010/08/05 04:21 PM
                                    Nehalem vs Core2Richard Cownie2010/08/05 07:15 PM
                                      I'm wrong, you're right - i's 2 dieRichard Cownie2010/08/05 07:21 PM
                                    Nehalem vs Core2Richard Cownie2010/08/06 08:12 AM
                                      Nehalem vs Core2Michael S2010/08/06 08:33 AM
                                      Nehalem L1 cache latency a hedge for higher clock speeds?Mark Roulo2010/08/06 08:36 AM
                                        Nehalem L1 cache latency a hedge for higher clock speeds?Kevin G2010/08/07 10:14 AM
                                          Nehalem L1 cache latency a hedge for higher clock speeds?IntelUser20002010/08/07 02:32 PM
                                        Nehalem L1 cache latency a hedge for higher clock speeds?someone2010/08/07 02:35 PM
                          difference between C2D/C2Q chipsetsMichael S2010/08/05 12:57 AM
                          Nehalem core goals ... my takeMark Roulo2010/08/06 07:53 AM
                            Bulldozer single-threadRichard Cownie2010/08/06 04:05 PM
                          Nehalem vs Core2Carlie Coats2010/08/07 08:41 AM
                            scalingMichael S2010/08/07 11:12 AM
                            why X5460?Michael S2010/08/07 11:12 AM
                              why X5460?Carlie Coats2010/08/08 04:34 AM
                                why X5460?Michael S2010/08/08 04:42 AM
                                  Polling/PIO based COMM libraries?Michael S2010/08/08 05:14 AM
                    Cache to cache comparisonAnts Aasma2010/08/04 10:00 AM
                      Cache to cache comparisonRichard Cownie2010/08/04 10:08 AM
                        Cache to cache comparisonAnts Aasma2010/08/04 11:28 AM
                      Cache to cache comparisonMichael S2010/08/04 11:33 AM
                        Cache to cache comparisonMark Roulo2010/08/04 12:29 PM
                          Cache to cache comparisonAnts Aasma2010/08/04 01:10 PM
                            Fermi and G200 instruction latencyMark Roulo2010/08/04 02:10 PM
                              Fermi and G200 instruction latencyAnts Aasma2010/08/04 03:01 PM
                        Cache to cache comparisonAnts Aasma2010/08/04 01:00 PM
                        Register read comparisonDavid Kanter2010/08/05 09:16 AM
                          Register read comparisonGabriele Svelto2010/08/05 11:42 PM
                maybe texture caches ?Aaron Spink2010/08/03 01:17 PM
              GPU raw H/W only has about a 10x advantage over a CPURichard2010/08/09 04:58 AM
                GPU raw H/W only has about a 10x advantage over a CPUnone2010/08/09 05:19 AM
                  GPU raw H/W only has about a 10x advantage over a CPUVincent Diepeveen2010/08/24 07:18 AM
                    Forget it, they won't hear itanon2010/08/24 04:37 PM
                    GPU raw H/W only has about a 10x advantage over a CPURichard2010/08/25 01:03 PM
                This forum supports pre tagMichael S2010/08/09 06:03 AM
    Tarek's Hotpar 2010 article onlineRich Vuduc2010/07/28 10:24 AM
      Tarek's Hotpar 2010 article onlineAnon2010/07/28 04:18 PM
  Low hanging fruitMoritz2011/02/03 12:20 PM
    Low hanging fruitJukka Larja2011/02/06 05:01 AM
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