Steady growth for workstation market in Q4’14

The descriptor of "steady" may not excite, but given the volatility in the workstation market over the last seven years, steady ain't too bad. For those looking to forget the nasty economy of the late 00's, and whose nerves were frayed by the up-and-down rollercoaster that came with the subsequent recovery, the fourth quarter's solid, un-stressful 6.3% year-over year growth will do just fine. 

Worldwide, the industry shipped approximately 1.03 million workstations in Q4'14, equating to a within-cyclical-norms 1.4% sequential growth. The fourth quarter saw the first significant volume of many new deskside workstations built on Intel's Haswell-E processor and Grantley platform, an event that helped bolster results.

Lenovo takes another small step to close the gap on HP and Dell

Market shares for the big three OEMs were generally stable, with the only notable exception being another uptick in Lenovo's share. Lenovo posted its highest-ever 13.6% share in Q4'14, up from 12.0% the quarter prior. HP nudged forward to 41.0% (from 40.7%) while Dell took a step back to 32.5% (from 34.0%).

Figure 1 Workstation market share in Q4'14 (by units)


Now, by no means is Lenovo taking huge chunks of market ground every quarter. Still, both HP and Dell are paying close attention to Lenovo's growing stature, as the two are well aware that their own positions changed not by huge quarter-to-quarter swings, but by HP taking a point from Dell here and there. Over the course of five years (2004 to 2009), HP went from a distant number two to the top of the market.

However, in its climb upward, Lenovo is facing a far more competitive landscape than HP did. HP approached and surpassed Dell, primarily because the latter was not particularly interested in the workstation market at (or at least didn't behave as though it were). But today, both HP and Dell are very focused on the market, and both are executing quite well. Lenovo is, too, and it should narrow that gap to the top two, particularly given that the hottest segment of the market is in its home turf of China (and Asia/Pacific, as a whole).

Of course, just because Lenovo's share has a positive trajectory doesn't mean Lenovo will eventually match (or possibly surpass) the current frontrunners — that's far from a sure thing. But what is far more certain is who stands to benefit the most in this more competitive workstation landscape: the customer, who should continue having access to the best technology at the best prices.

Q4'14 results for professional graphics market mixed, but healthy

Similar to the results of the workstation market it serves, the professional graphics market sits near record highs. However, the third and fourth quarters of 2014 followed up Q2's record-high volume with modest sequential declines, resulting from sensible and temporary reasons. The industry, primarily composed of the Nvidia/AMD duopoly, shipped a total of approximately 1.25 million workstation-caliber GPUs in Q4'14, including both mobile modules and deskside add-in cards.

  • Methodology
    • Some – but not all - white-box coverage
    • Navigating to new content: bold PDF bookmarks and yellow highlighted headings
  • Steady growth for workstation market in Q4'14
    • Workstation ASPs and revenue
    • Workstation shares by machine class
      • A strong 2014 for mobiles - but still, the workstation market remanins dominated by the deskside
        • Lenovo takes another small step to close the gap on HP and Dell
        • Vendor penetration by market segment
  • Apple's MacPro
    • Estimating Mac Pro shipments: the expected surge at launch, followed by a substantial decline
  • Today, Intel stands virtually alone as CPU supplier to the workstation industry
    • AMD is tipping its CPU toes back in workstation waters
    • Single versus multi-socket CPU
  • Windows dominates, with Linux holding minority share
  • Tier 1 distribution of workstations by geography
    • HP retakes top spot in the US
    • HP strongest in EMEA, with Fujitsu stabilizing
    • Lenovo continues its torrid pace in ApexJ
    • HP on top, but NEC with historically strong - and very consistent - #2 position in Japan
    • ROW vendor breakdown similar to that of the US
    • EMEA and APexJ: breakdowns by sub-region
    • APexJ: China and the hottest corner of the workstation market in Q4'14
  • Full-year calendar 2014 results for workstations
  • Professional graphics hardware market remained strong in Q4'14
    • ASPs dip modestly (again) ... but not out of weakness
    • Now seemilgly past the Apple bubble: Nvidia Quadro and AMD FirePro market shares return to levels prior to Mac Pro launch
    • Estimating FirePro shipments to Apple
  • Professional graphics hardware market breakdown by product class
    • The big-picture trend: 2D down, mobile flat, and 3D up
    • High-end and (especially) mid-range segment takes another hit as shipments to Apple decline
    • Nvidia maintains dominant hold on 2D, Entry 3D and mobile segments
    • Nvidia's historical product mix paints revealing picture of market evolution
  • Full-year calendar 2014 results for professional graphics hardware
  • Outlook on the workstation and professional graphics markets
  • Appendix A: Workstation vendor shares per EMEA sub-region

Tables and figures


  • Table 1 Total workstation market revenue (in $M)
  • Table 2 Typical Q4'14 characteristics of desktop workstation classes
  • Table 3 History of workstation unit share by vendor 
  • Table 4 Historical share of Windows and Linux in x86 based workstations (Apple platforms not included) 
  • Table 5 Total workstations shipped by year (units and revenue)
  • Table 6 Yearly workstation ASPs (in dollars) 
  • Table 7 Growth (loss) of Tier 1 vendors’ unit shares 
  • Table 8 Worldwide shipments of professional graphics (K units, including mobiles) 
  • Table 10 Where Apple's new FirePro SKUs stack up against existing "Southern Islands" SKUs 
  • Table 9 Worldwide quarterly revenue of professional graphics add-in cards ($M, no mobiles) 
  • Table 11 Professional graphics market share history by vendor (units) 
  • Table 12 Professional graphics add-in card (no mobiles) revenue history by vendor
  • Table 13 Professional graphics hardware classes and price bands 
  • Table 14 Professional graphics hardware, yearly totals 
  • Table 15 Professional graphics add-in card ASPs, yearly 


  • Figure 1 Workstation ASPs over time
  • Figure 2 History of overall workstation unit distribution, by class 
  • Figure 3 Unlike broader PC market, deskbound workstations outsell mobiles (on average) by almost 3:1 
  • Figure 4 Dell stabilized, then took back some share lost to HP .. but lately, positions for the two relatively stable 
  • Figure 5 Shares of mobile workstation units, by vendor 
  • Figure 6 Shares of Entry class workstation units, by vendor 
  • Figure 7 Shares of Mid-range workstation units, by vendor 
  • Figure 8 Estimated and hypothetical share of Apple in Windows/Linux/OS-X deskside workstation market
  • Figure 9 Intel shipments into Tier 1 workstation market by processor (unit share of Intel platform by processor) 
  • Figure 10 The rise and fall of Opteron in the workstation platform
  • Figure 11 Share of dual-capable (though not necessarily dual-populated) workstations as a percentage of all deskbound systems 
  • Figure 12 While the share of 2S-capable workstations is in decline, the 2nd CPU attach rate is relatively stable
  • Figure 13 Geographic distribution (by unit shipments) over time 
  • Figure 14 Tier 1 vendor shares of U.S. over time
  • Figure 15 Tier 1 vendor shares of EMEA over time
  • Figure 16 Tier 1 vendor shares of Asia/Pac (excluding Japan) over time 
  • Figure 17 Tier 1 vendor shares of Japan region time 
  • Figure 18 Tier 1 vendor shares of Rest of World (ROW) region over time 
  • Figure 19 EMEA breakdown by sub-region 
  • Figure 20 Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan) breakdown by sub-region 
  • Figure 21 China sub-region, breakout by vendor 
  • Figure 22 India sub-region, breakout by vendor
  • Figure 23 Rest of APexJ sub-region, breakout by vendor
  • Figure 24 Overall yearly workstation unit share by vendor
  • Figure 25 Worldwide shipments of professional graphics (K units, including mobiles)
  • Figure 26 Professional graphics card ASPs, by vendor over time 
  • Figure 27 Professional graphics units, by segment
  • Figure 28 AMD's mix of FirePro GPU products over time 
  • Figure 29 Estimated share of professional graphics units shipping in "Winux" workstations 
  • Figure 30 2D in slow decline and mobiles (mostly) flat, as 3D cards have taken the lion's share of market growth over the past several years 
  • Figure 31 Professional graphics add-in card revenue 
  • Figure 32 Vendor unit share history: mid-range 3D add-in card segment
  • Figure 33 Vendor shares of combined High + Ultra-high professional segment over time 
  • Figure 34 Vendor unit share history: mobile professional graphics segment
  • Figure 35 Vendor unit share history: Entry 3D add-in card segment 
  • Figure 37 Vendor unit share history: professional 2D add-in card segment 
  • Figure 38 Workstation market forecast 2013 - 2018 (units) 
  • Figure 39 Workstation market revenue forecast 2013 - 2018 ($)
  • Figure 40 Germany sub-region, breakout by vendor 
  • Figure 41 UK/Ireland sub-region, breakout by vendor 
  • Figure 42 Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) sub-region, breakout by vendor 
  • Figure 43 Nordics (Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden) sub-region, breakout by vendor 
  • Figure 44 Italy sub-region, breakout by vendor 
  • Figure 45 Alps (Switzerland, Austria) sub-region, breakout by vendor 
  • Figure 46 France sub-region, breakout by vendor 
  • Figure 47 BeNeLux sub-region, breakout by vendor 
  • Figure 48 Iberia (Spain, Portugal) sub-region, breakout by vendor 
  • Figure 49 Middle East and Africa (MEA) sub-region, breakout by vendor
  • Figure 50 Greece sub-region, breakout by vendor