Add-in board market up in Q3, Nvidia gains market share
Quarter-to-quarter AIBs increased 3.9%, but declined 17% year-to-year
JPR’s AIB Report tracks computer add-in graphics boards, which carry discrete graphics chips. AIBs are used in desktop PCs, workstations, servers, and other devices such as scientific instruments. They may be sold directly to customers as aftermarket products, or they may be 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 news was encouraging; quarter-to-quarter, the market grew 3.9% (compared to the overall PC market which increased 6.8%).
The findings were disappointing year-to-year, declining 17%. AIB shipments were down more however than overall PC shipments which slipped 7.6%.
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.
On a year-to-year basis we found that total AIB shipments during the quarter dropped 17%, more than the overall desktop graphics decline of 8% or the total PC graphics decline of 7.6% overall. 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 Q3’13.
The attach rate of AIBs to desktop PCs has declined from a high of 63% in Q1 2008 to 43% in Q2 2013.
The quarter in general
JPR found that AIB shipments during Q3, 2013 behaved according to past years with regard to seasonality, but the increase was less than the 10-year average. AIB shipments increased 3.9% from the last quarter (the 10-year average is 12%).
• Total AIB shipments increased this quarter to 14.5 million units.
• AMD’s quarter-to-quarter total desktop AIB unit shipments decreased 3%.
• Nvidia’s quarter-to-quarter unit shipments increased 8%.
• Nvidia continues to hold a dominant market share position at 64.5%.
• 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.
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 52 AIB suppliers, the AIB OEM customers of the GPU suppliers, which they call “partners.”
There are more than 51 companies selling privately branded AIBs worldwide, about a dozen PC suppliers that 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.