It's easy to see why some NVIDIA (NASDAQ:NVDA) analysts are becoming cautious. With a price up 55% in 2017, and a whopping 166% the past year, NVIDIA stock is trading well above industry averages by virtually every metric.

So why do I still love NVIDIA stock? For those of us who haven't deserted the graphics processing unit leader, there are a host of reasons. However, because of its valuation and meager 0.34% dividend yield, NVIDIA isn't for every investor -- those in search of value or income should shy away. But for pure growth potential, NVIDIA still warrants some love.

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Nailed it

Last quarter was stellar in its own right, but what made it even more impressive was that it came on the heels of NVIDIA's outstanding fiscal 2018 first quarter. NVIDIA kicked off its year with a 48% jump in revenue to $1.94 billion; earnings per share (EPS) soared 85% to $0.85, excluding one-time items; and the business enjoyed "broad growth across all platforms," including nearly tripling the results of its artificial intelligence (AI)-driven data-center segment.

Naturally, NVIDIA stock rose and nearly reached its 52-week high of $174.56 a share. After a quarter that was nothing short of a home run, NVIDIA did itself one better in its most recent period, which is one reason growth investors still love its stock.

The encore

Thanks to growth across its entire product suite -- again -- NVIDIA's second-quarter sales of $2.23 billion were up 56% compared to a year ago, adjusted EPS climbed 91% to $1.01 a share, and AI data-center revenue skyrocketed "more than two and a half times."

Founder and CEO Jensen Huang and the team are also delivering on the spending front. Operating expenses after one-time charges rose just 19% last quarter to $614 million, largely due to a jump in research and development costs to $416 million.

Considering NVIDIA's push into AI, smart cars, smart cities, and some of the most complex virtual reality (VR) solutions on the planet -- not to mention its jaw-dropping top-line growth -- a 19% rise in overhead is more than acceptable.

As some NVIDIA fans may have heard, one of its biggest wins last quarter was partnering with social media behemoth Facebook to install the latest lineup of AI supercomputers called Caffe2. Gaming continues to play a critical role at NVIDIA, and it also announced a slew of new agreements, which notably included expanding its presence in China.

The future starts now

One of NVIDIA's longtime competitors, Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) is now a self-proclaimed "data center first" provider, and its $4.4 billion in sales last quarter, equal to a 9% gain year over year, puts it near the top of the heap. But with the strides NVIDIA is making -- granted with much lower comparables than Intel -- it is making up ground in a hurry.

Beyond AI data centers, NVIDIA is also making headway in what are expected to be some of the fastest-growing markets in tech. Its initiatives include powering smart cars, incorporating VR into the world of design professionals, and what it refers to as EDGE computing.

The EDGE computing unit includes robot simulators to train "intelligent machines," as well as NVIDIA's new Metropolis Platform, which is already "used by more than 50 partners" to help make cities both smarter and safer utilizing AI.

More upside means more love

As noted, NVIDIA stock's flat performance of late, particularly the past month, isn't hard to understand. However, not only is NVIDIA already delivering outstanding results, but it's doing so in burgeoning markets that have virtually unlimited upside in the coming years.

Current performance and future potential are the two primary reasons long-term growth investors should toss out valuation concerns, while the recent mediocre stock performance provides yet another reason to still love NVIDIA.

Tim Brugger has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Facebook and Nvidia. The Motley Fool recommends Intel. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.