Global Citizenship
Social Impact of the GPU2012 Citizenship ReportNVIDIA Foundation

Product Design

Energy Considerations
We engineer our products for energy efficiency. Improving performance per watt is a guiding principle of our design process and a key consideration at each step of product development. The efficiencies of parallel processing mean GPUs consume less power than other equivalent forms of computation. Whether for mobile systems or high performance computing, customers are choosing GPUs for power conservation without a performance tradeoff.

Our highly efficient products and technology include:
  • NVIDIA Tesla solutions for high-performance computing: The Tesla 10 series GPUs deliver the equivalent performance of a multicore CPU at 1/10th the cost and 1/20th the power consumption.
  • NVIDIA CUDA parallel processing architecture: CUDA is a parallel computing platform and computing model that enables compute-intensive calculations to be done on lower cost, power-efficient GPUs. Learn more about GPU Computing.
  • NVIDIA Optimus technology: Optimus maximizes energy conservation and battery life in notebooks by automatically shutting off the GPU when it’s not needed.
  • NVIDIA Tegra mobile processors: The Tegra 3 quad-core processor utilizes 4PLUS1 technology that employs four CPU cores which power up only as they are needed, as well as a fifth battery-saving core for lower-power tasks. It also has an ultra low-power GPU. The result is blazingly fast performance at a fraction of the power consumption of typical CPU-only mobile devices.
Tegra Devices
NVIDIA Tegra-powered devices use one-tenth the power of a typical notebook and one-hundredth the power of a typical desktop PC.
Tesla Server
NVIDIA's Tesla GPU powers Tsubame 2.0 to green supercomputer supremacy. Read more >
Improving Power Efficiency
GPUs have been designed to be the most energy-efficient processors in the market. On a per-instruction basis, GPUs are dramatically more power efficient than CPUs, which traditionally have handled the bulk of computations that make computers work.

According to Bill Dally, NVIDIA’s chief scientist: “GPUs are inherently more energy efficient than other ways of computation because they are optimized for throughput and performance per watt and not absolute performance,”

With the recent introduction of NVIDIA’s new GPU architecture, called Kepler, our goal was to continue to push the limits in graphics processing capabilities with extreme energy efficiency. The first GPU based on Kepler, codenamed “GK104,” is both our highest performing GPU to date, and our most efficient in terms of performance per watt.

To reach these levels of efficiency, NVIDIA engineers applied everything learned from the previous Fermi generation of processors to better optimize the Kepler architecture. Our engineering team wrote a white paper to explain specific differences between the previous and current architectures and the engineering innovation that was called upon to improve energy efficiency.

Read more about our philosophy on power efficiency and how NVIDIA customers are saving money and energy.

Green Supercomputing
The year 2011 was the second in which an NVIDIA-powered machine topped the list of greenest petaflop supercomputers. The Tsubame 2.0 system at the Tokyo Institute of Technology’s Global Scientific Information Center uses NVIDIA Tesla GPUs to accelerate computation. It delivers 1.19 petaflops of performance while consuming only 1.2 megawatts of power. At roughly 958 megaflops per watt, Tsubame 2.0 is more than three times as efficient as the most efficient CPU-only petaflop system. Related to its work on this system, the Tokyo Institute of Technology was awarded the coveted Gordon Bell Prize, specifically for “Special Achievement in Scalability and Time-to Solution.”

Reducing Hazardous Substances
We design our printed circuit boards and require their components to be compliant with environmental and customer requirements. Likewise, in our chip operations, we design our products to meet customer and regulatory requirements. These include:
  • RoHS: Restriction of Hazardous Substances
  • EU REACH : European Union Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemical substances
  • Halogen Free : products designed after 2008 are halogen-free
  • ISO 14001 : certification standard for environmental management systems

Many of our products are designed to be halogen-free wherever possible, and all of our new-generation chip products are halogen-free and brominated flame retardant-free. Where appropriate, we review and make changes to the bill of materials for our products to meet customer and legislative requirements while still delivering optimum performance.

We routinely incorporate third-party lab inspections into our process to verify compliance with applicable standards. We engage an external consultant to benchmark and review our practices, and we participate in joint industry training activities to help ensure that our practices are aligned with customer and industry expectations.

For more info, visit the supply chain section of this report.

The process by which we package our products and the materials used provide us ample opportunity to minimize our environmental footprint.

Ongoing efforts to optimize packaging include:
  • Reducing the overall amount of packaging
  • Using more environmentally-friendly packaging and shipping materials
  • Improving the shipping density of our products
  • Reusing of moisture barrier bags, trays, and cartons whenever feasible
  • Use of reusable totes where feasible
  • Redesigning our outer and inner pack boxes to increase units per pallet, and eliminate end caps and packing foam
  • Redesigning our retail packaging and associated master packs to increase efficiency

We closely monitor the cost savings associated with packaging-related process improvements, and our goal for future years is to track the environmental impact of our efforts.

The manner in which we plan, pack and execute our raw material, work-in-progress, and finished-goods shipments has a significant effect on our carbon footprint. Given that fuel represents a major component of our overall freight costs, our continuous focus on optimizing our supply chain and reducing freight spend has resulted in significant savings to the company and a positive impact on the environment.

Our Supply Chain/Logistics optimization efforts include:

  • Implementing consolidation programs to help optimize packing configuration and reduce the number of pick-ups & deliveries  
  • Optimizing subcontractor packing to ensure that cartons and pallets are fully packed and efficiently unitized
  • Using lightweight paper or cardboard pallets to reduce weight of shipments (where feasible)
  • Implementing a multi modal (ocean/truck) replenishment program for US distribution and retail
  • Instituting a balanced supplier score card that includes a category that awards points for our suppliers’ participation in environmental initiatives
We have started gathering detailed carbon footprint reporting from our suppliers so that we can better assess areas of opportunities and gauge the impact of our supply chain optimization/carbon reduction efforts.