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.
Maybe you've been hearing reports that Intel is interested in buying Nvidia, but if you have, don't believe them, says market research firm Jon Peddie Research (JPR), who dismissed the rumblings as "naive speculation." And that whole Larrabee thing?
"Larrabee isn't dead. Wishful thinking won't make Intel or its ambitions go away," JPR said. "The company has, and continues to make, huge investments in the graphics technology and space."
JPR went on to say that as far as Intel's viewpoint goes, esoteric architectures like the GPU ASIC will fade away, unlike the x86 architecture, which as been around for the past 40 years. Besides, says JPR, there exists too many cultural differences between Intel and Nvidia for the two companies to blend together.
"It's unlikely, regardless of how big Intel's checkbook is, that the two companies could ever agree on the price," JPR added. "The Nvidia BOD and shareholders of Nvidia would never approve a friendly acquisition by Intel, and Nvidia has a multi-voting technique that would delay any hostile attempt for over a year."
On top of a that, JPR says "Intel doesn't think it needs Nvidia."
According to Jon Peddie Research (JPR), the graphics market performed extraordinarily well in the third quarter, which bodes well for the upcoming holiday shopping season. How well? Graphics processors spiked 21.2 percent over the second quarter,, which JPR says was already strong to begin with.
"A total of 119.45 million units were shipped in the third quarter, exceeding the record 111 million units that shipped in third-quarter 2008," said Jon Peddie, president of JPR. "So the market has caught up with, and exceeded, last year's highs. The crash of fall 2008 is now behind us."
AMD fared particularly well with on-quarter growth at 30 percent. Intel wasn't far behind, noting on-quarter growth of 25.2 percent on shipments of 63 million units, or twice as many as Nvidia, its nearest competitor.
And these weren't all integrated graphics, either. According to JPR, "integrated graphics in notebooks, including netbooks, increased 27 percent over the second quarter -- a great gain, but less than discrete."
Three years from now, two-thirds of all new desktop systems will be mutli-GPU capable and of those, 30 percent will be rocking multiple graphics chips. Or at least that's the not-too-distant future Jon Peddie Research Group (JPR) laid out last week in a report on the history, technology, and future of multi-GPU computing. But are we really on the verge of widespread multi-GPU computing?
Not so fast, says Arstechnica. The JPR report points to the desire for high performance computing as the driving force for multi-GPU setups, noting high performance workloads are highly parallel and unsuited for CPU applications. But according to Arstechnica, JPR hasn't thought through the manufacturing angle.
"GPUs are composed of many parallel processing units, so any multi-GPU system involves simply ganging together still more of such small, simple processor cores," Arstechnica writes. "Because the cores are small and the workload is parallel, there is no limit on core count analogous to the limit on the number of processors that can profitably be used in a single x86 CPU. The limits on single-die GPU horsepower are manufacturing limits."
But it's not just about manufacturing. As Ars points out, only two percent of all desktop PCs sold last year came with multiple GPUs, and in Q4 of last year, only 15.2 million out of 38.5 million PCs sold came with even a single discrete graphics card. It's hard to imagine such a dramatic shift towards multiple GPUs in just three short years from now.
There's more to Ars' argument, which you can read here.