Nvidia NV1 - Nvidia's First Graphics Processor - GPU, STG2000X, Diamond Edge


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About this Artwork

This artwork is a mixed media display featuring the Nvidia NV1.  Introduced in 1995, the NV1 was Nvidia's first chip. The NV1 had a 2D/3D graphics core based upon quadratic texture mapping (as opposed to polygonal), a 32-channel 350 MIPS playback-only sound card, VRAM memory, and a Sega Saturn compatible joypad port. The design goal was to replace 2D graphics cards, Sound Blaster-compatible audio systems, and 15-pin joystick ports. Nvidia was a Fab-less chip designer. They contracted other companies to make their chips. For the NV1, SGS-Thomson Microelectronics was used to make the NV1 under the model name STG2000. The chip was sold on the Diamond Edge 3D card.

With a focus on graphic processing chips, Nvidia was founded in 1993 in Silicon Valley. They derived their name from the Latin word for envy, invidia. Nvidia’s line of Graphics Processing Units (GPUs) started with the NV1 in 1995. The NV1 was more than a GPU; it was a multimedia chip. In addition to video capabilities, it had sound card and joystick functions. However, being an all-in-one multimedia card required increased costs and compromises that affected its popularity. Also, the decision to use a more complicated quadratic rending scheme instead of the more familiar polygonal rending created more challenges to acceptance. When Microsoft announced DirectX, it made polygonal rending the defacto standard for the industry. Yet, the NV1 was a significant learning experience for Nvidia, and it gave Nvidia a chance to fix bugs in its processes and industry relationships. Nvidia never felt that building its chips would provide a competitive advantage, so it decided not to do chip fabrication. They would be a fab-less designer and focus time and resources on the design. For the NV1, Nvidia chose ST Microelectronics to make the NV1 and gave it the product number STG2000X. Over time, Nvidia used ST and other manufacturers to produce its chips. Nvidia’s first widespread success was the RIVA 128 chip which focused on graphics and embraced industry standards.


    The artwork is framed in an 11"x14" black shadow box frame, with glass. All framing materials are acid-free. A narrative about the artwork that includes the artist’s signature is placed on the back of the artwork.