Rising fuel prices and the associated higher cost of virtually everything else may have hit a number of economic sectors in the second quarter of this year, but the tech industry appears to have escaped unscathed. Industry analysis firm Jon Peddie Research has released its report on the GPU market for the past quarter, and the numbers remain healthy.
GPU chip sales typically decline in the second quarter, but the drop this year was just 0.49 percent. That's the smallest decrease since 2001, when sales fell 10.75 percent, and it indicates strong, consistent demand for GPU products across the board. JPR estimates that some 94.4 million GPUs were sold in Q2, for a 16 percent year-on-year increase (year-on-year shipments for Q2 2007 – Q2 2008 are shown below).
As for the third quarter, JPR refrained from making a concrete prediction, but noted that it could be a record quarter, barring a major recession.
AMD and NVIDIA both enjoyed solid shipment growth year-on-year, but Intel ran away with the market, with a whopping 46 percent increase in units shipped.
All three manufacturers cannibalized sales from other companies; VIA/S3's sales plunged by 84 percent, while Matrox fell to just 100,000 GPUs shipped for the entire quarter. Without intending offense to Matrox fans, it's a wonder that the company still exists at all, or that JPR bothers to track it.
As for AMD, the company lost about 1.5 percentage points of market share (down to 18.1 percent, from 19.5 percent), but the increase in unit shipments is of more practical benefit to the company, since physical shipments mean revenue, and revenue is what AMD needs most. Nano sales in future quarters may help VIA's integrated GPU sales, but the company badly needs a new GPU solution, as I noted in my review of the Nano last week.
Desktop GPUs still outsell mobile parts by a clear majority, but the gap is narrowing. Desktop sales fell five percent compared to Q1, to 59.2 million units, while mobile sales rose 8.1 percent over the same period. Intel claims the lion's share of the mobile market, with 57.1 percent market share; AMD and NVIDIA lag behind with 17.9 percent and 23.6 percent of the mobile GPU market.
Intel's dominance in this area is due in no small part to the long-term success of the company's Centrino branding. In order to qualify as a Centrino product, a laptop must use certain Intel-built components, and that includes the GPU.
Peddie notes that he expects AMD to make "impressive" gains in Q3, and that's a forward-looking statement I would echo. ATI's recent 4850/4870 series is challenging (and arguably besting) the strongest products NVIDIA has to offer, and that doesn't look likely to change.