Workstation market maintains slow-but-steady progress in Q1’14

"Cautious and tentative, but still headed in the right direction" — that's how Jon Peddie Research (JPR) senior analyst and JPR Workstation Report author Alex Herrera sums up 2014's first quarter market results in the workstation market. JPR has wrapped up and published its analysis of Q1'14 results, painting a picture of a market that has more going for it than against it. Worldwide, the industry shipped approximately 945.8 thousand workstations in the first quarter of 2014. That level corresponds to a sequential decline of 2.7% sequentially but a year-over-year (YoY) increase of 6.2%.

With one key performance metric up and the other down, how does the firm sum up the quarter — as a step forward or one backward? "As is often the case, that determination is all about context," explains Herrera, "particularly with respect to the market's cyclical nature. If we look back over the previous five years, we find that even in periods of general growth, Q1 results were more often down than up, with an average sequential loss of 3.8%. Given that perspective, in combination with the fairly robust 6.2% YoY figure, we're inclined to give the quarter a thumbs-up, albeit a tempered one."

No drastic change in workstation vendors' fortunes ... though Dell makes a bit more progress

Workstation Unit Market Share by Vendor Q1'14


The market shares of the "big four" Tier 1 OEMs changed little in the first quarter of 2014. With 39.7% of units sold (basically flat from Q4), HP continues to dominate the workstation market, with #2 Dell at 33.3%. Lenovo and Fujitsu shipped the exact same percentage of units in the first quarter as they did in Q4'13, 12.9% and 3.9%, respectively. JPR estimates the remaining 10.3% of units came from a host of smaller workstation suppliers, including Tier 2 OEMs and system integrators (SIs).

The most notable OEM story worth telling in Q1 is, once again, Dell. After a long decline in the market, the one-time market leader made a very clear decision in 2012 to recommit itself to the workstation marketplace, sparking a slow-but-steady comeback. The first quarter continued to show modest but measurable improvement, as Dell hacked a full point of market share out of HP's current lead in the market.

AMD reaps the benefit of Apple's adoption of FirePro

The two create a virtual duopoly in the market for workstation GPUs (Graphics Processing Units), and the story line hasn't changed much in the past seven years: Nvidia has dominated, and AMD has hung on for minority share.  The battle lines in the pair's struggle for market share have been remarkably fixed in recent quarters.

But that situation changed in Q4'13, as AMD began ramping shipments of its custom FirePro cards (the D300, D500, and D700) designed into Apple's recently revamped Mac Pro. Each of Apple's flagship professional machines integrates not just one but two FirePro GPUs. As a result, the first quarter of 2014 saw a substantial jump in FirePro volume, pushing AMD's share of the overall workstation GPU market up over five points to 20.6%.

However, Nvidia's Quadro brand continued to account for the lion's share of the market, with 78.8% of all units shipped in the quarter. And focusing strictly on GPUs shipping in traditional Windows and Linux workstations, Nvidia and AMD shares in the market appear generally unchanged. Pulling FirePro shipments to Apple out of the equation, Herrera estimates Nvidia shipped around 82.8% of the professional GPUs into workstations, while AMD contributed about 16.5%.

  • Methodology
    • Some – but not all - white-box coverage
    • Navigating to new content: bold PDF bookmarks and yellow highlighted headings
    • Effective Q3'11, Lenovo inherits NEC workstation share
  • Workstations markets maintains slow-but-steady progress in Q1'14
    • Workstation ASPs and revenue
    • Workstation shares by machine class
      • The workstation market is — and will likely remain — the domain of the deskside
        • Tier 1 OEMs in Q1'14: market shares generally stable ... but Dell takes another modest step forward in its comeback
        • Vendor penetration by market segment
        • Apple's MacPro
    • Today, Intel stands virtually alone as CPU supplier to the workstation industry …
    • AMD is tipping its CPU toes back in workstation waters
      • Single versus multi-socket CPU
    • Windows dominates, with Linux holding minority share
    • Tier 1 distribution of workstations by geography
      • Dell holds onto U.S. lead for second straight quarter
      • HP and Fujitsu weaker in EMEA, with Dell and Lenovo picking up the slack
      • HP and Dell take back some ground from Lenovo in APexJ
      • Tier 1 OEM shares in Japan essentially unchanged in Q1'14
      • EMEA and APexJ: breakdowns by sub-region
  • Full-year calendar 2013 results for workstations
  • Mixed signals in the market for professional graphics hardware in Q1'14
    • ASPs stronger ... for a very logical reason
    • AMD's share sees the (full?) benefit of Mac Pro's adoption of FirePro
    • Nvidia / AMD fortunes relatively unchanged in traditional "Winux" worktation market
      • Professional graphics hardware market breakdown by product class
      • A continuing trend: 2D down, mobile flat, and 3D up
      • Mid-range and High End swells, thanks in part to Mac Pro's inclusion of AMD FirePro
      • Nvidia strengthens hold on mobile workstation GPU segment
      • Entry class professional graphics add-in cards take lion's share of volume ... and Nvidia
        • The 2D segment chugs on
    • Full-year calendar 2013 results for professional graphics hardware
    • Outlook on the workstation and professional graphics markets
    • Appendix A: Workstation vendor shares per EMEA sub-region

Tables and figures

  • Table 1 Total workstation market revenue (in $M)
  • Table 2 Typical Q1'13 characteristics of desktop workstation classes
  • Table 3 History of workstation unit share by vendor
  • Table 4 Historical share of Windows and Linux in x86 based workstations (Apple platforms not included)
  • Table 5 Total workstations shipped by year (units and revenue)
  • Table 6 Yearly workstation ASPs (in dollars)
  • Table 7 Growth (loss) of Tier 1 vendors’ unit shares
  • Table 8 Worldwide shipments of professional graphics (K units, including mobiles)
  • Table 9 Worldwide quarterly revenue of professional graphics add-in cards ($M, no mobiles)
  • Table 10 Professional graphics hardware classes and price bands
  • Table 11 Professional graphics market share history by vendor (units)
  • Table 12 Professional graphics add-in card (no mobiles) revenue history by vendor
  • Table 13 Professional graphics hardware, yearly totals
  • Table 14 Professional graphics add-in card ASPs, yearly



  • Figure 1 Workstation ASPs over time \
  • Figure 2 History of overall workstation unit distribution, by class\
  • Figure 3 Unlike broader PC market, deskbound workstations outsell mobiles by more than 3:1\
  • Figure 4 HP in firm control of the workstation market, while upstart Lenovo has some room to grow
  • Figure 5 Shares of mobile workstation units, by vendor
  • Figure 6 Shares of Entry class workstation units, by vendor
  • Figure 7 Shares of Mid-range workstation units, by vendor
  • Figure 8 Intel shipments into Tier 1 workstation market by processor (unit share of Intel platform by processor)
  • Figure 9 The rise and fall of Opteron in the workstation platform
  • Figure 10 Share of dual-capable (not necessarily dual-populated) workstations as a percentage of all deskbound systems
  • Figure 11 Geographic distribution (by unit shipments) over time
  • Figure 12 Tier 1 vendor shares of U.S. over time
  • Figure 13 Tier 1 vendor shares of EMEA over
  • Figure 14 Tier 1 vendor shares of Asia/Pac (excluding Japan) over time
  • Figure 15 Tier 1 vendor shares of Japan region
  • Figure 16 Tier 1 vendor shares of Rest of World (ROW) region over time
  • Figure 17 CEE and MEA represent the growth opportunities in EMEA
  • Figure 18 EMEA breakdown by sub-region
  • Figure 19 Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan) breakdown by sub-region
  • Figure 20 China sub-region, breakout by vendor
  • Figure 21 India sub-region, breakout by vendor
  • Figure 22 Rest of APexJ sub-region, breakout by vendor
  • Figure 23 Overall yearly workstation unit share by vendor
  • Figure 24 Worldwide shipments of professional graphics (K units, including mobiles)
  • Figure 25 Professional graphics card ASPs, by class over time
  • Figure 26 Professional graphics unit share history, by class
  • Figure 27 Professional graphics units, by market segment
  • Figure 28 2D in decline and mobiles flat, as 3D cards take the lion's share of market growth
  • Figure 29 Professional graphics add-in card revenue
  • Figure 31 Vendor unit share history: mobile professional graphics segment
  • Figure 32 Vendor unit share history: professional 2D add-in card segment
  • Figure 33 Vendor unit share history: mid-range 3D add-in card segment
  • Figure 34 Vendor unit share history: entry 3D add-in card segment
  • Figure 35 Vendor shares of combined High+Ultra-high professional segment over time
  • Figure 36 Workstation market forecast 2013 - 2017(units)
  • Figure 37 Workstation market revenue forecast 2013 - 2017