Graphics add-in board shipments seasonally up from last quarter

Posted: 12.05.12

Seasonal uplift, led by Nvidia, is almost 2x 10-year average

TIBURON, CA, December 5, 2012—Jon Peddie Research (JPR), the industry's research and consulting firm for graphics and multimedia, announced estimated graphics add-in board (AIB) shipments and sales market share for Q3'12. JPR's AIB Report tracks computer graphics boards, which carry discrete graphics chips. AIBs are used in desktop PCs, workstations, servers, and other devices such as scientific instruments. They may be either sold directly to customers as after-market products, or they may be factory installed. In all cases, AIBs represent the higher end of the graphics industry as discrete chips rather than integrated processors.

JPR found that AIB shipments during Q3 2012  behaved according to past years with regard to seasonality, were marginally higher on a year-to-year comparison, and were significantly higher on a quarter-to-quarter comparison. Overall, for the AIB market and the PC market in general, 2012 has experienced, and is forecasted to have, a decline in shipments due to the popularity of notebooks and worldwide economic depression.

The quarter in general

  • Total AIB shipments increase this quarter from the previous quarter by 18.8% to 17.5 million units (see Table 1).
  • Nvidia continues to hold a dominant market share position at 64%; however, in Q2'12 AMD shipped 5.95 million units, and in Q3'12 shipped 6.26, so they increased in shipments but Nvidia shipped more and therefore grew market share ending up with 11.23 million, up 28% from 8.75 million last quarter (see Figure 5).
  • Year to year this quarter AIB shipments were up 1.7% from 17.2 million to 17.5 million units.
  • Just over 87.6 million PCs shipped worldwide in the quarter, an increase of 0.6% compared to the previous quarter (based on an average of reports from Dataquest, IDC, and HSI).

Normally, this quarter of the year is up, and this year the quarter was no different, with an increase greater than the 10-year average (10.6%). However, this is just one quarter in a very turbulent year, and the worldwide economic conditions are just too uncertain, so this quarter can't be used as a prediction of the future.

The change from quarter to quarter is more than last year. Quarter-to-quarter percentage changes are shown in Figure 1.

Table 1: AIB market shares
Shipment this quarter (M units) Market share this quarter Last quarter (M units) Market share last quarter M Unit change quarter to quarter Share change quarter to quarter M Units a year ago
AMD 6.26 35.7% 5.95 40.3% 0.31 5.2% 6.88
Matrox 0.04 0.2% 0.05 0.3% -0.01 -20.0% 0.06
Nvidia 11.23 64.0% 8.75 59.3% 2.48 28.3% 10.28
S3 0.01 0.1% 0.01 0.1% 0.00 -10.0% 0.02
Total 17.54 100.0% 14.76 100.0% 2.78 18.8% 17.24

Figure 1: Growth rates quarter to quarter over time (Jon Peddie Research)

The 10-year average change for AIBs in the 2nd quarter is -11.3%; this year it was lower at 6.5%. In the past the second quarter was slow as the channel and OEMs emptied out inventory in preparation for the third-quarter re-stocking in preparation for the fourth-quarter holiday season. The combination of online buying, faster manufacturing cycles, lower inventory levels, and a chaotic worldwide economic condition has thrown all those traditions out the window.

Figure 2 shows the market share and shipment levels for AIB suppliers in the quarter.

Figure 2: Market share for AIBs for the quarter

Embedded graphics processors at first were simply replacing integrated chipsets and not having a major impact on AIBs. However, the new embedded graphics processor from AMD, the A10 (Trinity), has shown very good performance and has had an effect on entry-level AIBs.

Year-to-year for the quarter the market increased 1.7%. Shipments increase to 17.5 million units, up 0.3 million units from this quarter last year. The desktop AIB segments decreased in the low end, which JPR thinks is to be expected as embedded graphics processors satisfy the requirements of a market with no new or interesting applications or games—as long as Moore's Law is working and the software developers are complacent, the embedded processors will do well. In JPR's quarterly AIB report, the company has established a subjective evaluation criteria they call “quality” for comparing the quarter to the previous quarter and the quarter a year ago. The designation has four levels of differentiation: greater than 20% is “outstanding,” Should this read: “less than 20% but greater than 10% is “pretty good,” less than 10% but greater than 5% is “nominal,” less than 0.1% but greater than zero is “low” and less than zero is “negative.”