For the 4th quarter of 2015, GPU shipments increased 2.4% from last quarter

AMD increased 5.2%, Nvidia increased 8.4%, and Intel increased 1%

The GPU market and the PC market in general, seems to have found its new normal. The Gaming PC segment, where higher-end GPUs are used, was once again the bright spot in the overall PC market for the quarter.

Overall Year-to-year total GPU shipments decreased -14% —desktop graphics decreased -9%, notebooks decreased -17%

The GPU market is rebounding and outperforming the PC market, which is stabilizing.

Graphics processors, stand-alone discrete devices, and embedded processor-based GPUs are ubiquitous and essential components in all systems and device today from handheld mobile devices, PCs, and workstations, to TVs, servers, vehicle systems, signage, game consoles, medical equipment, and wearables. New technologies and semiconductor manufacturing processes are taking advantage of the ability of GPU power to scale. The GPU drives the screen of every device we encounter—it is the human-machine interface.

The fourth quarter is typically flat to up in the seasonality cycles of the past. For 2015, the 4th quarter saw a 2.4% increase from last quarter, and was above the ten-year average of -3.4%.

Quick highlights

  • AMD’s overall unit shipments increased 5.16% quarter-to-quarter, Intel’s total shipments increased 0.73% from last quarter, and Nvidia’s increased 8.41%.
  • The attach rate of GPUs (includes integrated and discrete GPUs) to PCs for the quarter was 139% which was up 0.59% from last quarter. 
  • Discrete GPUs were in 31.28% of PCs, which is up 1.34%.
  • The overall PC market increased 2.01% quarter-to-quarter, and decreased -10.27% year-to-year.
  • Desktop graphics add-in boards (AIBs) that use discrete GPUs decreased -4.87% from last quarter.

Seasonally, Q4 tends to be a little higher the previous quarter. In 2008, there was a sharp decline, which was an aberration caused in line with the massive market decline of that period. The market seems to have settled back into its rhythmic seasonal cycle.

Although neither AMD nor Nvidia introduced new GPUs in the second half in 2015, the chips they did introduce in Q1 and Q2 2015 were solid performers. That, combined with the introduction of a half dozen really terrific, and processor-intensive games in the second half of 2014 fed a buying frenzy that drove the GPU sales in desktop add-in boards (AIBs) and the new gaming notebook sales in Q4. 

Most of the PC vendors are guiding cautiously for Q1’16. That is consistent with the shipments we have seen in Q4’15 and also with seasonal trends. 

Figure 1: Graphics chip shipments since introduction of PC

The quarter in general

AMD’s shipments of desktop heterogeneous GPU/CPUs, i.e., APUs, for desktops decreased  4.3% from the previous quarter, AMD’s shipments were up 30.3% in notebooks. Desktop discrete GPUs increased 6.69% from last quarter, and notebook discrete shipments decreased  1.3%. AMD’s total PC graphics shipments increased 5.2% from the previous quarter.

Intel’s desktop processor embedded graphics (EPGs) shipments increased from last quarter by 6.1%, and notebook processors decreased by -1.7% increased 0.7% from last quarter.

Nvidia’s desktop discrete GPU shipments were down -7.56% from last quarter; and the company’s notebook discrete GPU shipments increased 34.2% increased 8.4% from last quarter.

Total discrete GPU (desktop and notebook) shipments increased 6.57% from the last quarter and decreased -7.01% from last year. Sales of discrete GPUs fluctuate due to a variety of factors (timing, memory pricing, etc.), new product introductions, and the influence of integrated graphics. Overall, the CAGR from 2014 to 2017 is now -4%.

Ninety nine percent of Intel’s non-server processors have graphics, and over 66% of AMD’s non-server processors contain integrated graphics; AMD still ships integrated graphics chipsets (IGPs).

For those who wish to understand the PC market, an understanding of the highly complex technology and ecosystem that has been built around the GPU is essential to understanding the market’s future directions.

Graphics chips (GPUs) and chips with graphics (IGPs, APUs, and EPGs) GPUs shipments are a leading indicator for the PC market. At least one and often two GPUs are present in every PC shipped. It can take the form of a discrete chip, a GPU integrated in the chipset or embedded in the CPU. The average has grown from 1.2 GPUs per PC in 2001 to 1.39 GPUs per PC.

This detailed 50-page report will provide you with all the data, analysis and insight you need to clearly understand where this technology is today and where it's headed.

Our findings include discrete and integrated graphics (CPU and chipset) for Desktops, Notebooks (and Netbooks), and PC-based commercial (i.e., POS) and industrial/scientific and embedded. This report does not include the x86 game consoles, handhelds (i.e., mobile phones), x86 Servers or ARM-based Tablets (i.e. iPad and Android-based Tablets), or ARM-based Servers. It does include x86-based tablets, Chromebooks, and embedded systems.

The report contains the following content:

  • Major suppliers: Detailed data-on the shipments of AMD, Intel, Nvidia, and others.
  • Financial results for the leading suppliers: Analysis of the quarterly results of the leading GPU suppliers
  • Market Forecasts: You will also be able to download a detailed spreadsheet and supporting charts that project the supplier’s shipments over the period 2001 to 2018. Projections are split into platforms and GPU type.
  • GPUs: History, Status, and Analysis.
  • Financial History from for the last nine quarter: Based on historic SEC filings, you can see current and historical sales and profit results of the leading suppliers. 
  • A  Vision of the future: Building upon a solid foundation of facts, data and sober analysis, this section pulls together all of the report's findings and paints a vivid picture of where the PC graphics market is headed. 
  • Charts, graphics, tables and more: Included with this report is an Excel workbook. It contains the data we used to create the charts in this report. The workbook has the charts and supplemental information.