According to Jon Peddie Research (JPR), shipments of discrete graphics cards were down in the first quarter of the year. This is in line with seasonal trends, as the market cools down after the holiday season.
The sequential drop was 6.7 percent, which was still better than the overall desktop PC market, which slumped 9 percent. However, on a year-to-year basis add-in-board (AIB) shipments were down 0.8 percent. PC sales were down 1.1 percent.
Nvidia still controls two thirds of the market
Total AIB shipments in Q1 were just 14 million units. AMD and Nvidia both saw their shipments decrease 6.6 percent, so their market share did not change much.
Nvidia controls an estimated 65 percent of the market, up from 64.2 percent last year. AMD’s market share in Q1 was 35 percent, down from 35.6 percent a year ago.
The overall volume remains weak and in the long run things could get even worse, as on-die integrated graphics have already taken a big toll on sales of entry level discrete cards. As integrated GPUs become even faster, they are likely to cannibalize the low end market even further.
JPR points out that the AIB market peaked in 1999, with 114 million units shipped. Last year saw only 65 million units and the stagnant trend is likely to continue this year.
It’s not all bad news for AIBs
Although the slump in discrete GPU shipments is hurting AMD and NV hardware partners, JPR offers a rather encouraging outlook.
It points out that graphics cards are one of the most powerful, essential and exciting components in the PC market today. PC gaming is hardly dead, in fact it is going through what can only be described as a small renaissance. PCs will offer 4K/UHD gaming years ahead of consoles and the Steam Machine concept is looking good, too.
The compute market is another driver, as JPR points out:
“The technology is entering into major new markets like supercomputers, remote workstations, and simulators almost on a daily basis. It would be little exaggeration to say that the AIB resembles the 800-pound gorilla in the room.”
The AIB market is quite a bit less colourful and eventful than it was back in the day, but at least AIBs still have a lot on their hands and they are trying to tap new markets.