Nvidia's record-breaking profits are unsurprising but still outrageous

 Nvidia Hopper GPU die
Nvidia Hopper GPU die

Nvidia has announced its profits for the second quarter of this year, revealing that the company has smashed records and beaten the same quarter last year by a ridiculous 101%.

Unsurprisingly, the biggest gains came from Nvidia's data centre segment, which includes those money spinning H100 GPUs (shown above) which are said to cost about $3,000 to produce, but reportedly sell for between $25,000 and $30,000. Nice work if you can get it.

Anyway, data centre profits are up 171% on the same quarter last year and 141% on the previous quarter. All told, Nvidia raked in $13.51 billion. Notably, data centre earning represented $10.31 billion of that overall figure.

Commenting on the new numbers, Nvidia's head honcho and pathological leather jacket exponent Jensen Huang said, “a new computing era has begun. Companies worldwide are transitioning from general-purpose to accelerated computing and generative AI.”

He notably didn't mention gaming graphics cards. At least not in the official comments released by Nvidia. Well, earnings on those were up too, albeit by a modest 22% on the same quarter last year and 11% on previous quarter to $2.49 billion.

If these numbers collectively seem slightly ridiculous, take a seat. Because Nvidia is predicting profits of $16 billion for next quarter. The company is, quite simply, crushing it in AI.

Exactly how long that will last is anyone's guess. Even if the AI boom continues or even accelerates, it's hard to imagine the industry will allow Nvidia to retain its current stranglehold.

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Whether its companies like Microsoft and OpenAI designing and commissioning their own AI inferencing chips, AMD providing competition or startups like Tenstorrent getting in on the game, in a couple of years from now Nvidia surely won'y have the market sown up to the same extent. Or maybe it will.

In the meantime, it's easy to see why Nvidia isn't quite so focussed on gaming GPUs. Indeed, with these kind of profits to be made from AI, it's also easy to see why Nvidia would prioritise all the capacity it can get it hands on at manufacturing partner TSMC for the likes of H100. It's almost surprising that it's bothering to make gaming GPUs at all.

All of which means this is good news for Nvidia. But it unfortunately doesn't bode well for affordable gaming graphics cards.