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Nvidia staggers off the mat

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Nvidia had some good news and some bad news for its investors in its first quarter results for its fiscal year 2010, announced Thursday.

First the bad news: revenue for the quarter was $664.2m (£442.2m), a decrease of 42 percent compared to $1.2bn (£799m) during the same period last year.

Now the good news: that $664.2m was an increase of 38 percent over the previous horrific quarter, when the company pulled in a mere $481.1m (£320.3m).

And finally, the bottom line: for Q1 2010, Nvidia reported a net loss of $201.3m (£134m).

But co-founder, president, and CEO Jen-Hsun Huang sees light at the end of the tunnel - not the proverbial onrushing train, but the onrushing release of Windows 7 coupled with increasing sales of its low-end Tegra "computers-on-a-chip" and its high-end Tesla "ready-to-install supercomputer".

In a conference call with analysts and reporters, Huang rhapsodized over the new DirectX11 graphics in Windows 7. "DXCompute is the single most important new API from Windows 7," he said. "What's exciting to me is that come Windows 7, when DXCompute comes out, the difference between a computer that has DXCompute accelerated by a GPU versus one that does not is not 10, 15 per cent. It's 10, 20, 30 times."

Guess who makes GPUs that will take advantage of that API? Bingo.

Huang also said that Nvidia has 500 people working on the tiny, 1-watt Tegra, which he called "absolutely magical" and offered the opinion that the devices it powers will enable "The second personal-computer revolution."

He also said that he expects sales of the company's Tesla GPU-computing clusters to keep growing and that he'd "be delighted" if they could reach a run rate of $100m by the end of the fiscal year year.

In between the tiny Tegra and the beefy Tesla, however, things aren't as rosy. Here in the middle of the Meltdown, the story is the same no matter which technology CEO you listen to - and Huang is no exception. "Corporate demand...has not shown any signs of economic recovery at this time."

Although Huang claims that "We think there are opportunities for us to innovate our way out," times - though improving - remain tough for Nvidia. ®

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