Yesterday, we looked at where graphics chip maker NVIDIA (NASDAQ:NVDA) is coming from as it heads into tomorrow's first-quarter 2008 earnings announcement. Today, we'll take a peek at where investors think it's headed for the long term.

After the earnings news comes out, we'll have time aplenty to dissect it. But in these few hours before we begin obsessing over NVIDIA's short-term progress, let's take a moment to review what investors think about it as a long-term investment. Our tool in this endeavor: Motley Fool CAPS, where we poll more than 28,000 rated investors for their views on more than 4,000 companies, NVIDIA among them. Here's what Fools have to say about the company.

Up or down?
As I type this, CAPS investors submitting ratings on NVIDIA have just hit the 900 mark. Their verdict: Game on!

A full 93% of CAPS investors with an opinion on NVIDIA expect it to outperform the market, an opinion that pretty much matches the thinking among CAPS All-Stars, who give the stock 92% approval. That's good enough to earn NVIDIA four out of five possible CAPS stars.

NVIDIA isn't the favorite semiconductor stock in CAPS-land, but it's close:

Specialized Semiconductor Group

CAPS Rating

Ultra Clean Holdings (NASDAQ:UCTT)


On Track Innovations (NASDAQ:OTIV)






Silicon Labs (NASDAQ:SLAB)






Wall Street vs. Main Street
Wall Street sentiment almost exactly parallels Main Street's on this one. Out of 11 professional analysts we track on CAPS, 10 expect the stock to outperform the market. The market hasn't validated that sentiment just yet, however. Over the past 52 weeks, the stock has underperformed the S&P 500 by about 3 percentage points.

Bull pitch
Echoing the thoughts of the Fool's own David Gardner, NVIDIA enthusiasts see the company benefiting from PlayStation 3- and Microsoft Vista-driven sales this year.

And speaking of David, he's recently contributed further thoughts on the company, posted on CAPS. Here's a sampler: "FBR has downgraded this stock, and it's off 4%. Perfect -- thank you, kind sirs." (Read the rest of David's comments. And to read his full investment thesis on the company, claim your free trial subscription to Motley Fool Stock Advisor.)

Bear pitch
Taking the opposite side of David's trade, NVIDIA bears growl that the Vista-spawned boost will fall short on a weak rollout and generally unflattering reviews of the product. One bear in particular adds that NVIDIA's "end market is PCs" and that "PC sales are slowing," concluding that "analysts expect earnings to grow 25% next FY on top of 60% growth this year. ... I don't think so."

Who said that?
To learn the identities of the wise Fool who penned those thoughts, and explore the plethora of additional financial data we've put together on the company, just click here.

Fool contributor Rich Smith does not own shares of any company named above. You can find him on CAPS, publicly pontificating under the handle TMFDitty, where he's currently ranked No. 356 out of more than 28,000 rated players. Arm Holdings, NVIDIA, and Silicon Labs are Motley Fool Stock Advisor picks. Microsoft is an Inside Value choice. The Fool has a disclosure policy.