Add-in board market down in Q1, Nvidia holds market share

Quarter-to-quarter AIBs shipments decreased 6.7%, and slipped 0.8% year-to-year

Jon Peddie Research (JPR), the industry's research and consulting firm for graphics and multimedia, announced estimated graphics add-in-board (AIB) shipments and suppliers’ market share for 2014 1Q.

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 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 news was disappointing, but seasonally understandable,  quarter-to-quarter, the market dropped 6.7 % (compared to the desktop PC market, which dropped 9%).

On a year-to-year basis we found that total AIB shipments during the quarter fell 0.8%, which is more than desktop PCs which declined of 1.1%.

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 45% in 2014 1Q, up from 43.8% last quarter.

The quarter in general

JPR found that AIB shipments during 2014 1Q behaved according to past years with regard to seasonality, but the decrease was more than the 10-year average. AIB shipments decreased 6.7.% from the last quarter (the 10-year average is -3.2%).

  • Total AIB shipments decreased this quarter to 14 million units.
  • AMD’s quarter-to-quarter total desktop AIB unit shipments decreased 6.6%.
  • Nvidia’s quarter-to-quarter unit shipments decreased 6.6%.
  • 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.

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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 50 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, in 2013 65 million shipped.

Graphics add-in board are without doubt one of the most powerful, exciting, and essential components in the PC market today: not only does every computer require one (or more) but the technology is entering into major new markets like supercomputers, remote workstations, and simulators almost on a daily basis. It would be little exaggeration to say that the AIB resembles the 800-pound gorilla in the room.

It is critical to get a proper grip on this highly complex technology and understand its future direction.

This detailed 47-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.

This fact and data-based report does not pull any punches: frankly, you will be shocked by some of the analysis and insight.

Our findings include AIBs for Desktops, workstations, and PC-based commercial (i.e., POS) and industrial/scientific and embedded. This report does not include the x86 game consoles, handhelds (i.e., mobile phones), x86 Servers or ARM-based Tablets (i.e. iPad and Android-based Tablets), or ARM-based Servers. It does include x86-based tablets, Chromebooks, and embedded systems.

We have been providing quarterly reports on the PC graphics market shipments since 1988.