Here’s where Nvidia doesn’t want you to run its GeForce GPUs

Nvidia Titan V

Nvidia has just changed its GeForce licensing agreement to prevent data centers using its GeForce graphics cards for anything except for blockchain processing – making it clear that these GPUs are really meant for consumer use only.

So what’s the story here? Essentially, these GPUs are very efficient when it comes to deep learning applications – since these days half precision, rather than double precision, is where it’s at – and Nvidia doesn’t want folks using these cheaper cards rather than the likes of Tesla GPUs (which are targeted at the professional market, and weighted in cost as such).

As reports, it’s likely that Nvidia has been mulling its tactics concerning the prospect of data centers being designed around using GeForce graphics cards, and the firm clearly feels this is something it needs to take action on.

Consumer cards

Obviously Nvidia can’t just raise the prices of GeForce cards without negatively affecting the consumer market, so the other route to take is to change the GeForce EULA to prevent usage of the GPUs in data centers.

Exactly how this fresh policy will be enforced, and what happens to data centers already using these cards remains to be seen. There are also questions around definitions, such as whether deep neural net processing clusters in the likes of universities count as ‘data centers’.

But certainly, this is going to prove a real headache for some organizations out there when Nvidia’s legal department gets in touch.

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).