Nvidia's Graphics Headed for the Cloud

Computer graphics usually comes with a tradeoff: Users get to see extremely realistic images, or pictures that can be viewed interactively, but not both. Nvidia (NVDA) believes those days are ending.

The Silicon Valley chip company on Tuesday announced plans to offer a combination of hardware and software that can generate three-dimensional images that are almost indistinguishable from photographs–and do so in a matter of seconds, not the hours that such chores typically require.

Most importantly, Nvidia says, the images are rendered on servers and electronically delivered to a Web browser on any garden-variety PC. Ordinarily, the most realistic images are reserved for machines equipped with high-end graphics cards–of the sort powered by Nvidia chips–and specialized software. In other words, the technology will run “in the cloud,” as Silicon Valley marketeers like to say, rather than on a desktop or laptop machine.

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