Nvidia kills GTX285, GTX275, GTX260, abandons the mid and high end market

Full on retreat, can’t compete with ATI

NVIDIA IS KILLING the GTX260, GTX275, and GTX285 with the GTX295 almost assured to follow as it (Nvidia: NVDA) abandons the high and mid range graphics card market. Due to a massive series of engineering failures, nearly all of the company’s product line is financially under water, and mismanagement seems to be killing the company.

Not even an hour after we laid out the financial woes surrounding the Nvidia GTX275 and GTX260, word reached us that they are dead. Normally, this would be an update to the original article, but this news has enough dire implications that it needs its own story. Nvidia is in desperate shape, whoop-ass has turned to ash, and the wagons can’t be circled any tighter.

Word from sources deep in the bowels of 2701 San Tomas Expressway tell us that the OEMs have been notified that the GTX285 is EOL’d, the GTX260 is EOL in November or December depending on a few extraneous issues, and the GTX275 will be EOL’d within 2 weeks. I would expect this to happen around the time ATI launches its Juniper based boards, so before October 22.

The lone survivor, maybe, is the GTX295, available only as a complete board from Nvidia. This is said to be almost impossible to get, likely for reasons we went into in the earlier financial article, cost. AIBs do not expect this product to last very long, likely until current stock is depleted.

Basically, engineering failure after engineering failure has left Nvidia without a high end part. It is left waving shells while trying desperately to convince the loyal press that it is real. While that is a problem for the future, the current concern is that it has nothing that can compete with ATI’s Evergreen line, HD5870, HD5850, and the upcoming Junipers.

The G200b based parts can compete on performance, but not at a profit, so they are going to die. Nvidia was booted out of the high end market, and is now abandoning the mid range in a humbling retreat. Expect a similar backpedaling from the rest in January when Cedar and Redwood come out.

There are no half or quarter Fermi derivatives taped out yet, so at a bare minimum, Nvidia has nothing for 2 more quarters. To make matters worse, due to the obscene 530++mm^2 die size on TSMC’s 40nm process, Fermi is almost twice the size of its competitor, Cypress/HD5870/HD5850. A cut down half version would cost less but still be barely competitive with Juniper. That chip would once again be vastly larger and more expensive than the ATI equivalents, and that is before board costs are examined. As the product stack waterfalls down, the ratios remain the same, Nvidia cannot be cost competitive for the Evergreen vs Fermi generation, period.

Massive engineering failures and cover-ups, starting with Bumpgate, have defined the company for the last two years. More recently, this includes the G212 failure, G214 fiasco and failure, now morphed into the G215 which is 3Q late so far, if it can ever be made profitably, and the G216 and G218 with the broken GDDR5 controllers. One or two failures are understandable, this many is flat out mismanagement.

As we have been saying all along, there is no savior chip, no plan B, they all failed. Nvidia can make chips and sell them at a loss, or retreat from those markets and lose less money. The only question now is whether or not it can fix its engineering problems and get competitive parts out before it runs out of cash. Given that the earliest that this can happen is next summer, it will be very touch and go.

Nvidia has alienated anyone who could be its friend, spawned needless lawsuits that very likely drive the company to a net negative value, and failed to sell the company while it still had a perception of worth. If you ask it, Nvidia will tell you that it is boldly turning itself into a vibrant GPU compute and cell phone chip giant. Should you want to remain in its good graces, this is not to be perceived as an exit strategy.

With the cancellation of the GTX285, GTX275, and GTX260, possibly the GTX295 too, Nvidia is abandoning the entire high end and mid-range graphics market. Expect a reprise in January on the low end. The company is badly mismanaged and hated by the very partners it needs to throw it a life preserver.

The only thing that can save Nvidia now is a wholesale replacement of top management. Sadly, the only people with enough shareholder leverage to do so are those very managers that need to go, so that is very unlikely. Unless there is a white knight or buyer in the wings, it is game over. At $1 per year, Jen-Hsun is overpaid.S|A

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Charlie Demerjian

Roving engine of chaos and snide remarks at SemiAccurate
Charlie Demerjian is the founder of Stone Arch Networking Services and SemiAccurate.com. SemiAccurate.com is a technology news site; addressing hardware design, software selection, customization, securing and maintenance, with over one million views per month. He is a technologist and analyst specializing in semiconductors, system and network architecture. As head writer of SemiAccurate.com, he regularly advises writers, analysts, and industry executives on technical matters and long lead industry trends. Charlie is also available through Guidepoint and Mosaic. FullyAccurate