High-end add-in boards shipments increased in Q1 2016, while all else declined

Extended PC buy cycle drove the market

Add-in board market increased in Q1'16, AMD gained market share, for the fourth consecutive quarter.

Quarter-to-quarter AIBs shipments increased 4.8% and 5.8% year-to-year. Attach rate up.

Jon Peddie Research (JPR), the industry's research and consulting firm for graphics and multimedia, announced estimated PC graphics add-in-board (AIB) shipments and suppliers’ market share for Q1'16.

Market share shifts. The market shares for the desktop discrete GPU suppliers shifted in the quarter too.

JPR’s AIB Report tracks computer add-in graphics boards, which carry discrete graphics chips (GPUs). AIBs used in desktop PCs, workstations, servers, and other devices such as scientific instruments. They are sold directly to customers as aftermarket products, or are factory installed. In all cases, AIBs represent the higher end of the graphics industry using discrete chips and private high-speed memory, as compared to the integrated GPUs in CPUs that share slower system memory.

The PC add-in board (AIB) market now has just three 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.” 

Lots of AIB suppliers, smaller shipments. 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 2015, 44 million shipped.

The news for the quarter was encouraging and seasonally understandable, quarter-to-quarter, the AIB market increased 4.8% (compared to the desktop PC market, which decreased -10.5%).

AIB shipments during the quarter increased from the last quarter 4.8%, which is above the ten-year average of -2.5%.  On a year-to-year basis, we found that total AIB shipments during the quarter rose 5.8%, which is greater than desktop PCs, which fell 14.6%.

Gaming the game changer. However, in spite of 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 gaming PC (system) market is as vibrant as the stand alone AIB market. All OEMs are investing in Gaming space because demand for Gaming PCs is robust. Intel also validated this on their earnings call., and the recent announcement of 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.

The overall GPU shipments (integrated and discrete) is greater than desktop PC shipments due double-attach—the adding of a second (or third) AIB to a system with integrated processor graphics—and to a lesser extent, dual AIBs in performance desktop machines using either AMD’s Crossfire or Nvidia’s SLI technology.

Improved attach rate. The attach rate of AIBs to desktop PCs has declined from a high of 63% in Q1 2008 to 44% this quarter an increase of 17.1% from last quarter which was pretty good. Compared to this quarter last year it increased 23.9% which was outstanding.

Extended buy-cycle. With lack luster applications (other than games), and the failure of Windows 10 to spur the market, consumers for the most part, and commercial buyers extended their buying cycle out from three to four or more years. They still need and use PCs, but not the latest ones. The exception, and only bright spots, have been the gaming segment and professional graphics. As a result, we see consumers buying AIBs to gain performance improvements and not upgrading the PC as frequently.

This edition of Jon Peddie Research’s Add-in Board Quarterly Report covers the market activity of PC-based graphics for Q1'16.
This detailed 60-page report will provide you with all the data, analysis and insight you need to clearly understand where this technology is today and where it's headed.

Pricing and Availability
Jon Peddie Research's AIB Report is available now in both electronic and hard copy editions and sells for $1,500. Included with this report is an Excel workbook with the data used to create the charts, the charts themselves, and supplemental information. The annual subscription price for JPR's AIB Report is $4,000 and includes four quarterly issues. Full subscribers to JPR services receive TechWatch (the company's bi-weekly report) and are eligible for a 10% discount. Bundle packages are also available. For information about purchasing the AIB Report, please call 415/435-9368 or visit the Jon Peddie Research website at www.jonpeddie.com.

JPR also publishes a series of reports on the PC Gaming Hardware Market, which covers system and accessories and looks at 31 countries. More information can be found here: http://www.jonpeddie.com/publications/pc_gaming_hardware_market_report/.

The overall graphics market includes discrete GPUs (dGPU) and GPUs integrated in chipset or embedded in CPUs. The overall PC graphics market is larger than the PC market, as shown in Figure 2. Discrete GPUs are on AIBs. Integrated and embedded GPUs are on the main, or system or motherboard, and are not covered in this report. For market and shipment information on all GPUs, refer to Jon Peddie Research’s quarterly report Market Watch. More information can be found at - www.jonpeddie.com/publications/market_watch/.