Price: $ 149 Street
Over the past few years, the rise of NVIDIA can only be described as incredible. They rose from the ashes of their initial 3D chip offering and led a charge that has made them one of the top 3D chips manufacturers in the world. The number of new 3D video chips NVIDIA released in the last year is staggering and the company wants to push every pixel in every market that exists, and even those that don't yet. From the TNT2 all the way up to the high-end GeForce2 GTS Ultra, NVIDIA has pushed the envelope and done their very best to make their top 3D chip obsolete within months of release by releasing something better.
This level of market penetration and expansion is reminiscent of the way Intel and AMD market their CPUs. Instead of producing a few models of CPU, the processor giants have split the market up into large segments by feature set and price then into very small pieces by MHz increments. This strategy is designed to ensure that just about every potential PC buyer can have a processor that suits both for their needs and their wallet.
In the 3D video card market, 3dfx tried a MHz and price based market differentiation with their Voodoo3 line-up, though judging by their current dire straits, they were not successful with it. NVIDIA has taken a strategy close to those of the processor makers and not only separated their products based on clock speed and price, but also on chip design as well. Just looking at their GeForce line-up, we see the original GeForce SDR and DDR cards, along with the high-end GeForce2 GTS and GeForce2 Ultra. On the budget-end, NVIDIA also has the TNT2 and TNT2 Ultra chips (and their variants), which have proven quite successful with OEM partners.
So where does a company with as much market penetration as NVIDIA go from here? Much like Intel did in with their Pentium III conversion to the new FC-PGA Celerons, NVIDIA is using similar technology in both their high-end and value line. NVIDIA has taken the GeForce2 technology, used two pipelines instead of the four in the GeForce2 GTS, added some fancy extras and called it the GeForce2 MX. Like Intel with their Celeron, NVIDIA is hoping this new MX video chip will power many of the value and business PCs that take up so much of the current new computer market.