Jon Peddie Research (http://www.jonpeddie.com), the industry’s research and consulting firm for graphics and multimedia, has announced estimated graphics chip shipments and suppliers’ market share for the fourth quarter of 2011 (Q4’11).
They found that shipments during the fourth quarter of 2011 behaved according to past years with regard to seasonality, the new seasonality that has developed since the economic crash of 2008. Prior to that shift, Q4 was a seasonally up quarter. Since 2008 it’s been a seasonally low to down quarter — and this year it was down the most since 2008. Much of it was blamed on the floods in Thailand, but general economic malaise still permeates the industry, according to JPR.
The firm’s forecast for the coming years has been modified since the last report, and is less aggressive on both desktops and notebooks; tablets have changed the nature of the computer market. This quarter, Intel celebrated its eighth quarter of shipping its Embedded Processor Graphics CPU — the EPG, a multi-function design that combines a graphics processor and CPU in the same package. Intel’s desktop EPG shipments had a double digit growth in while notebooks dropped double digits. Combined with a decrease in overall IGP chipsets, Intel came in for the quarter with a -12.3% drop from Q3.
AMD had 44.8% desktop double digit growth in its HPU shipments, and even good growth in their desktop IGPs. However, like Intel, its overall quarter results were down due to declining notebook sales. AMD’s overall quarter to quarter results showed a -3.4% drop.
Year-to-year this quarter Intel gained about 7% market share, AMD gained 2.6%, and Nvidia slipped -7% in the overall market partially due to the company withdrawing from the integrated segments.
The quarter’s change in total graphics chip shipments from last quarter decreased 10.4% above the 10-year average of 0.83%. A little over 124 graphics chips shipped, down from 138.5 million units last quarter, and up from 114 million units this quarter a year ago.
Discrete GPUs declined almost 12% from the last quarter and were down almost 3.5% from last year for the same quarter. Almost 93.5 million computers shipped worldwide this quarter, an increase of 1.8% compared to last quarter (based on an average of reports from Dataquest, IDC, and HSI).
Graphics chips (GPUs) and chips with graphics (IGPs, HPUs, and EPGs) are a leading indicator for the computer market. At least one and often two GPUs are present in every computer 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 115% in 2001 to almost 150% GPUs per computer.
Since the crash of 2008, combined with the introduction and influence of ARM-based tablets, the computer market has deviated from historical trends, notes JPR. Until the segment for tablets is clearly defined the fluctuations in the market data is likely to continue. The research group says the disruptions probably won’t settle down for a while as tablets find their place in the market and agreement can be reached on whether to include them in the computer market analysis, or to not.
Market shares shifted for the big three, and put pressure on the smaller three, and most showed a decrease in market share. AMD’s overall graphics market share increased 1,8% from last quarter due mostly to HPU shipments.
Intel continues to be the overall market share leader, elevated by Core i5 EPG CPUs, Sandy Bridge, and Pineview Atom sales for Netbooks. AMD gained market share quarter-to quarter Intel and Nvidia lost share.
Nvidia is exiting the integrated graphics segments and shifting focus to discrete GPUs. The company showed good desktop discrete market share gain (3.7% qtr-qtr), and 0.1% in notebooks. Nvidia credits strong connect with new Intel Sandybridge notebooks. Ironically Nvidia enjoyed some serendipitous sales of IGPs in Q4 due to some older AMD CPU sales in Asia.