Nvidia’s Q4 2018 results are in (that’s fiscal quarter, not calendar year) and they’re not going to surprise anyone who’s been paying attention to the GPU market. The mammoth surge in cryptocurrency demand may not directly affect Nvidia’s bottom line, since the company has already signed contracts to provide GPUs to various companies, but it definitely impacts demand for Nvidia products as a whole.
Nvidia is reporting $2.911B in revenue, an increase of 1.34x year-on-year, and 1.1x compared with Q3. Switch sales certainly haven’t hurt anything — sales in the Tegra business unit (not shown above) were $450 million, compared with $275 million just a year ago. Overall, company revenue shot up 1.41x, a very solid gain on the previous year and more than enough to offset the loss of the patent agreement with Intel, which has now concluded.
Overall, it’s hard to see a weak point in any of Nvidia’s metrics. Slight declines in its OEM IP and automotive segments were more than offset by larger gains in gaming and data center sales. On its conference call, Nvidia highlighted its presence in the TOP500 (87 out of 500 systems now use NV silicon). During the QA portion of the conference call, Jen-Hsun specifically called out the use of Tensor cores as “the single biggest innovation we had last year in data centers.”
When asked if NV had any plans to announce new consumer cards, Jen-Hsun stated:
Well, we don’t — we haven’t announced 2018 for April or July. And so the best way to think about that is, Pascal is the best gaming platform on the planet. It is the most future feature rich software. The most energy efficient and from $99 to $1,000 you can buy the world’s best GPU, the most advanced GPUs and you buy Pascal you know you got the best…
But most appointing [sic, possibly “important”] is that, we expect Pascal to continue to be world’s best gaming platform for foreseeable future.
It’s not clear what to take from this. Companies often play launches close to the chest and NV may not want to tip its hand. Alternately, with AMD keeping its existing GPU families around (as far as we know, at least), NV may be waiting for next-generation process technology to mature. Pascal’s age makes a refresh more likely this year, but Team Green isn’t talking.
On the whole, this was an excellent quarter to end a remarkable year for Nvidia. Its decade of investment into the GPGPU space appears to have left it well positioned to tackle new emerging markets in inference workloads, deep neural networks, and artificial intelligence.