Posted: C Robert Dow 09.13.18
The add-in board market decreased in Q2'18 from last quarter, while AMD gained market share. Over $3.2 billion dollars of AIBs shipped in the quarter.
Quarter-to-quarter graphics board shipments decreased 22% with a 2% INCREASE year-to-year.
The market shares for the desktop discrete GPU suppliers shifted in the quarter, AMD increased market share from last quarter and enjoyed an increase in share year-to-year.
|Market share changes quarter-to-quarter, and year-to-year|
Add-in boards (AIBs) using discrete GPUs are found in desktop PCs, workstations, servers, rendering and mining farms, and other devices such as scientific instruments. They are sold directly to customers as aftermarket products or are factory installed by OEMs. In all cases, AIBs represent the higher end of the graphics industry with their discrete chips and private, often large, high-speed memory, as compared to the integrated GPUs in CPUs that share slower system memory.
The PC AIB market now has just two chip (GPU) suppliers which also build and sell AIBs. The primary suppliers of GPUs are AMD and Nvidia. There are 48 AIB suppliers, the AIB OEM customers of the GPU suppliers, which they call “partners.”
In addition to privately branded AIBs offered worldwide, about a dozen PC suppliers offer AIBs as part of a system, and/or as an option, and some that offer AIBs as separate aftermarket products. We have been tracking AIB shipments quarterly since 1987—the volume of those boards peaked in 1999, reaching 114 million units, in 2017, 52 million shipped. Since 1981, 2,070 million AIBs have been shipped.
The second quarter is normally down from the previous quarter. This quarter it was down -22.1% from the last quarter. That is below the ten-year average of -9.2% which is very low when compared to the desktop PC market, which decreased -3.4% from the last quarter.
The relative changes from quarter-to-quarter are illustrated in the following chart.
|Shipments of desktop PCs compared to desktop AIBs over time|
On a year-to-year basis, we found that total AIB shipments during the quarter rose 2%, while desktop PCs rose 8.8% for the same quarter a year ago, this discrepancy reflects the weakening Crypto-mining market.
Overall, AIBs shipments had been declining slightly, but not as great as the PC due to gaming and Crypto-mining. In 2015 when the use of AIB for cryptocurrency mining became widespread, AIB sales started to rise while PC sales fell. In Q1’18, the demand for AIBs for Crypto-mining ended due to a change from an Ethereum consensus based on the Proof of Work (PoW) system to one based on the so-called Proof of Stake. That change dramatically reduced the need for localized memory, and that made expensive AIBs no longer needed. Also, the price of Ethereum dropped.
However, despite the overall PC churn, somewhat due to tablets and embedded graphics, the PC gaming momentum continues to build and is the bright spot in the AIB market. The impact and influence of eSports has also contributed to the market growth and attracted new users. VR continues to be interesting but is not having a measurable influence on the AIB market.
The gaming PC (system) market is vibrant. All OEMs are investing in the gaming space because the demand for gaming PCs is robust. Intel also validated this on their earnings call when they announced a new Enthusiast CPU. However, it won’t show in the overall market numbers, because like gaming GPUs, the gaming PCs are dwarfed by the general-purpose machines.
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Dr. Jon Peddie has been active in the graphics and multimedia fields for more than 30 years. Jon Peddie Research is a technically oriented multimedia and graphics research and consulting firm. Based in Tiburon, California, JPR provides consulting, research, and other specialized services to technology companies in a variety of fields including graphics development, multimedia for professional applications and consumer electronics, high-end computing, and Internet-access product development. Jon Peddie’s Market Watch is a quarterly report focused on the market activity of PC graphics controllers for notebook and desktop computing.
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