You can't hardly buy a processor any more without also purchasing a graphics chip. That's because many of today's CPUs sport integrated graphics, a relatively new development as both AMD and Intel push their respective CPU+GPU solutions onto the masses. But despite each company's efforts, along with a constant flow of discrete GPU solutions from AMD and Nvidia, graphics shipments are down overall.
Analysts at Jon Peddie Research (JPR) said that Q3 graphics shipments jumped 16.7 percent over last quarter, and 18.4 percent over last year. That's the sort of thing that happens when you start integrating graphics onto CPU dies, as both Intel (Sandy Bridge) and AMD (Fusion) have done, which helped "shipments during the third quarter of 2011 [to] (finally) behave according to past years with regards to seasonality."
There might not be room enough in Silicon Valley and the rest of the world for both embedded graphics processors and integrated graphics processors (IGP). To wit, Jon Peddie Research claims the full scale production of scalar x86 CPUs with increasingly powerful multi-core, SIMD graphics processing elements is causing traditional IGPs to fade out of existence.
There's long been a market for mobile devices, but never like it is now, and not anything like it will be by the time the year 2016 rolls around. According to market research firm Jon Peddie Research (JPR), the demand for mobile devices is growing at a crazy rate and will create a market for over two billion processors in the next five years.
Intel's all-in with its Sandy Bridge platform, and AMD would rather talk about its Accelerated Processing Units (APUs) than anything else. And if you're building a rig for your mom and pop for Christmas (or Kwanzaa or Hanukkah or just in general), you're probably eying up one of these two platforms and won't consider a discrete GPU. Scenarios like this one might help explain why discrete GPU shipments are down.
Jon Peddie Research (JPR), a market research and consulting firm for graphics and multimedia, said graphics chip shipments "did not behave according to past years with regard to seasonality," but in a good way for GPU makers. Graphics chips didn't back-sass or start hanging around the wrong crowd, and instead misbehaved by outright ignoring the unwritten law of seasonality that says graphics shipments are supposed to slow down in the second quarter.
It was a disappointing fourth quarter for graphics chip makers as overall shipments failed to meet expectations, according to Jon Peddie Research. Year-on-year growth was "an unimpressive 4.3 percent," which JPR pegged as a major bummer considering the graphics market came blazing through the gates at the beginning of the year.
Thanks to the integrated graphics business, Intel once again led the charge by claiming a 52.5 percent market share, up 2.9 percent on year. It was a close race for second place, with AMD edging ahead of Nvidia with a 24.2 percent share compared to 22.5 share. Perhaps more importantly, AMD's market share rose 11.2 percent on year, while Nvidia slid 15.1 percent.
JPR acknowledged that the tablet market, and specifically Apple's iPad, might ultimately be the reason why graphics chip sales didn't meet expectations, noting that the iPad "has cut into low end PC sales."
Forgot all the talk about consoles stomping out the PC as a gaming platform, that just isn't going to happen. Need proof? According to Jon Peddie Research (JPR), the PC graphics market has gotten off to sizzling hot start with a 44 percent increase in shipments in the first quarter compared to one year ago.
The bulk of that growth went to Intel, Nvidia, and AMD, in that order. Continued Atom sales for netbooks kept Intel on top of its game with a 63.04 percent spike in unit growth quarter-over-quarter, and Intel's overall market share now sits at 45.49 percent, down from 51.1 percent one year ago, but up from 43.5 percent in the last quarter.
JPR also noted the first shipments of a new category, the Integrated Processor Graphics. This is in part due to Intel's Pinetrail platform, which crams system graphics right into the CPU.
"We will see the rapid decline in deliveries for traditional chipset graphics for IGPs (integrated graphics processors)," JPR noted. "However for ease of reporting for now we're including these devices in our integrated numbers."
There's never been a better time to be an enthusiast. Most hardware is at an all time low, at least in terms of bang for the buck, and it doesn't take a hefty investment to build an all-around workhorse. Where does that leave the ultra-high end segment, particularly gamers?
According to Jon Peddie Research (JPR), some 46 percent of the dollars spent on PC gaming hardware were directed toward what the firm calls the "Enthusiast class." These are the dudes that shop only top-shelf products and don't think twice about spending a grand on a CPU or splurging on a pair of videocards, speedy SSDs, specialized gaming grade mice, and other related components.
By 2013, however, JPR says these folks will lose market share to the "Performance" and "Mainstream" classes from 46 percent to 35 percent of dollars spent. Why so?
"PC hardware has caught up to most of the software and people are able to play computationally intensive games on Performance level systems," explains Ted Pollack, Video Game Industry Analyst for JPR. "Performance systems now even support high resolution for all but the most demanding simulation and FPSs. The frequency of DirectX updates is also driving some people toward mid-range GPUs."
Even so, JPR says the high end will always be a good market, even as it loses ground to more pedestrian parts. According to JPR, despite the expected loss in market share, the Enthusiast class will still grow overall, from $9.5 billion to almost $12.5 billion in 2013.
What class do you fall into? Hit the jump and tell us the kind of hardware you're most likely to buy.
When you think of graphics, Intel probably isn't the first company that comes to mind, but believe it or not, the CPU maker's graphics market share is higher than both AMD and Nvidia combined. How can that be? It all boils down to integrated graphics, a sector where Intel rules the roost, unlike the discrete graphics market where Nvidia and AMD rule the GPU kingdom.
According to Jon Peddie Research (JPR), Intel increased its overall graphics market share in Q4 2009 to 55.2 percent, up from 53.6 percent one quarter prior and 47.7 percent in the same quarter one year ago. JPR attributes the rise to "Atom sales for netbooks, as well as strong growth in the desktop segment."
Both AMD and Nvidia also increased their market share from one quarter ago, with AMD inching forward from 19.9 percent to 20.1 percent, and Nvidia jumping a percentage point from 24.3 percent to 25.3 percent.
The graphics market as a whole grew year-to-year by 14 percent, which is the largest jump since 2006, and 2003 before that. In 2010, JPR reckons the graphics market will perform even better to the tune of 27.9 percent, before tapering off in 2011 to a 10.3 percent growth rate, which would be the lowest since 2004.