GPU Shipments Saw 2.4% Increase in Q4 2015 – NVIDIA GPU Shipments Grew 8.4%, AMD’s 5.1% and Intel’s 0.7%

The results are in for the total GPU shipments in Q4 2015 from Jon Peddie Research, according to which the graphics industry saw a 2.4% increase in overall GPU shipments compared to the previous quarter. The small increase from previous quarter has to do with several reasons, one being the sluggish PC market at the current moment and the other being that next-generation GPUs are on the verge of arrival hence in their anticipation, most users are holding off their purchases.

Image Credits: Jon Peddie Research

GPU Industry Witnesses Increase of 2.4% in Shipments During Q4 2015

Fourth Quarter marked the end of the year 2015. The year saw introduction to several graphics processing chips from NVIDIA, AMD and Intel. Starting off, NVIDIA launched their GeForce GTX 980 Ti, GeForce GTX 980 (Mobility), GeForce GTX 960 and GeForce GTX 950 along with a couple of other mobility chips. AMD launched their Radeon 300 series lineup which had several graphics cards ranging from the Radeon R7 360 up to the R9 Fury X graphics card with HBM memory.

During the same year, Intel shipped their Skylake CPUs with Iris and Iris Pro graphics chips which are some of the fastest integrated graphics chips available on a main stream processor. In the same department, AMD released a line of Carrizo based laptop SOCs which were powered by their own GCN architecture which is specifically an integrated chip which is based on the foundation of their discrete graphics core. There was tons of action in 2015 and we have the numbers in to tell how well did the three GPU vendors fared in Q4 compared to the previous quarter and last year.

Highlights for the Fourth Quarter of 2015:

  • AMD’s overall unit shipments increased 5.16% quarter-to-quarter, Intel’s total shipments increased 0.73% from last quarter, and Nvidia’s increased 8.41%.
  • The attach rate of GPUs (includes integrated and discrete GPUs) to PCs for the quarter was 139% which was up 0.59% from last quarter.
  • Discrete GPUs were in 31.28% of PCs, which is up 1.34%.
  • The overall PC market increased 2.01% quarter-to-quarter, and decreased -10.27% year-to-year.
  • Desktop graphics add-in boards (AIBs) that use discrete GPUs decreased -4.87% from last quarter.

14% Decrease in GPU Shipments and 9% Decrease in Discrete GPU Shipments Compared to 2014

So while the industry saw a good increase in shipments in Q4 2015, the market didn't perform nearly as well compared to last year. Compared to Q4 2014, the total GPU shipments were down 14% and dGPU (Discrete GPU) shipments were down 9% in Q4 2015. The situation was same with the notebook market which saw 17% decrease in shipments. Regardless, the GPU market has seem to made a steady foot in the industry that doesn't gets affected a whole lot with a slow PC market.

The credit for this goes to the booming PC Gaming industry due to which the high-end discrete graphics card market is growing at a steady pace. Due to influx of great AAA titles on the PC along with good optimizations for the platform, PC gamers are now purchasing high-end GPUs more than ever, whether it be their gaming PC or their gaming notebook.

Neither did NVIDIA or AMD introduced a major graphics card during Q4 2015 that made as much impact on their market share or shipments but the reason why the still saw an increased share in GPU shipments was primarily due to the new games being launched in the market along with game bundles offered as a part of promos which were run by both vendors. The graphics cards also got price cuts and great deals during the holiday season which drove many people to buy them off of store shelves.

The GPU market and the PC market in general, seems to have found its new normal. The Gaming PC segment, where higher-end GPUs are used, was once again the bright spot in the overall PC market for the quarter. The GPU market is rebounding and outperforming the PC market, which is stabilizing.

Combined with the introduction of a half dozen really terrific, and processor-intensive games in the second half of 2014 fed a buying frenzy that drove the GPU sales in desktop add-in boards (AIBs) and the new gaming notebook sales in Q4. via Jon Peddie Research

NVIDIA Bags 16.6% GPU Market - Desktop Discrete GPU Shipments Falls But Notebook GPU Shipments See Major Increase

NVIDIA saw a great 2015 with their Maxwell generation of GPUs. These graphics card were launched in late 2014 and early 2015 but were remained the highlight as the most popular graphics cards in the market. Q4 2015 got NVIDIA an 8.4% increase in GPU shipments. Taking a closer look reveals that most of these weren't on the desktops but the notebook market.

According to the report, NVIDIA's desktop discrete GPU shipments fell 7.56% from previous quarter. NVIDIA had captured a good chunk of discrete GPU market with their GPUs on the desktop front so their shipments are expected to fall as demand lowers. On the notebook side, NVIDIA launched a couple of new chips along with the industry's fastest mobility GPU, the GeForce GTX 980. These new Maxwell powered chips led to the total notebook discrete GPU shipments to see a rise of 34.2%.

Notebooks are getting faster than ever, with improved GPUs that have lower power demands on FinFET process, we can already see the whole notebook market transforming with ultra-fast platforms that not only consume less power but also run cooler and PCs that eliminate the performance and feature parity from desktops and notebooks. Overall, NVIDIA's entire GPU market share is 16.6%, up from 15.7% during the last quarter. The discrete GPU market share numbers are not mentioned within the report.

AMD's GPU Market Share Rises to 11.8% - Radeon Discrete GPU Shipments Rises But Notebook Discrete Shipments Fall, APUs See Growth on Notebooks

AMD's Q4 ended with good results as far as their Radeon graphics cards are to be concerned. The desktop discrete Radeon graphics cards saw a 6.69% increase in shipments from previous quarter due to the highly competitive price cuts for their cards in the holiday season along with improved driver support in the form of Radeon Software Crimson drivers. AMD's notebook discrete GPU shipments witnessed another major blow in Q4 as they didn't introduce any new mobility Radeon graphics card for the platform leading to a 1.3% decline in shipments.

AMD's APU business seems to be performing really great as it saw a 30.3% climb in notebook processor shipments. The desktop APU side saw a 4.3% decline in shipments but that might change as AMD since has launched a few new products in their APU lineup in Q1 2016. Overall, AMD's GPU market shipments saw a 5.2% increase from last quarter which led to them capping an 11.8% market share in the GPU world compared to 11.5% during the previous quarter.

Intel Leads With Highest GPU Market Share But Sees Small Shipments Increase

Just like previous quarters, Intel remained the company with the highest GPU market share of 71.6% but down from 72.8% from the previous quarter. Intel's iGPUs which are featured in their mainstream CPUs saw a shipment increase of 6.1% while notebook processor shipments increased 0.7%. Intel leads the market share in the GPU market but that is their processors dominate the PC industry with almost 9 out of 10 PCs housing an Intel processor and each one of them has a integrated graphics processor. In the discrete GPU market, Intel has literally 0% share since they only develop integrated/embedded GPUs while NVIDIA and AMD focus primarily on discrete GPUs.

Shipments for the overall PC market increased 2.01% from the previous quarter but fell 10.27% compared to last year. The PC market is going to rebound in 2016 according to analysts with vastly improved hardware in the form of FinFET products coming in from NVIDIA and AMD. Both companies are preparing their Polaris and Pascal chips for the industry which are expected to deliver much superior efficiency and performance when compared to their 28nm predecessors. Intel and AMD will also introduce their Kaby Lake and Summit Ridge CPUs which will be feature compatibility for the hottest storage and memory solutions such as 3D XPoint based Optane SSDs and faster DDR4 memory at prices comparable to DDR3 memory. So expect 2016 a great year for the GPU market and PC industry as a whole.

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