Add-in board market up in Q4, Nvidia gains market share

Quarter-to-quarter AIBs shipments increased 3%, and grew 3% year-to-year

The news was encouraging; quarter-to-quarter, the market grew 3 % (compared to the desktop PC market, which increased 4.45%).

On a year-to-year basis we found that total AIB shipments during the quarter increased 3%, which is more than desktop PCs which declined of 6.1%.

GPUs are traditionally a leading indicator of the market because a GPU goes into every system before it is shipped; most of the PC vendors are guiding down to flat for the next quarter.

The overall PC desktop market increased  quarter-to-quarter including 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.

The attach rate of AIBs to desktop PCs has declined from a high of 63% in Q1 2008 to 42.8% in 2013 4Q, and from 43.4% last quarter.

The quarter in general 

JPR found that AIB shipments during 2013 4Q behaved according to past years with regard to seasonality, but the increase was less than the 10-year average. AIB shipments increased 3.% from the last quarter (the 10-year average is 12%). 

• Total AIB shipments increased this quarter to 15 million units.

• AMD’s quarter-to-quarter total desktop AIB unit shipments decreased 3%.

• Nvidia’s quarter-to-quarter unit shipments increased 3.6%.

• Nvidia continues to hold a dominant market share position at 65%.

• Figures for the other suppliers were flat to declining.

The change from quarter to quarter was slightly less than last year. Quarter-to-quarter percentage changes are shown in Table 1.

Table 1: AIB market shares

The AIB market now has just four chip (GPU) suppliers, who also build and sell AIBs. The primary suppliers of GPUs are AMD and Nvidia. There are 51 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.