Wccftech Hardware Survey Results, Q1 2017

May 28, 2017

This quarter, a total set of approximately 5000 readers participated in our polls (after eliminating double voters). While this evidence is primarily anecdotal, the sample size is large enough to serve as a valuable data point to hint at the consumer sentiment of this segment. The polls were opened on the 23rd of April, 2017 and remained open for two weeks.

The readership of Wccftech is divided primarily in to the high-end and the mid-end market segments with very few low-end readers. This is primarily attributable to the fact that these consumers are diligent and very well aware of the technology that they are buying. Since the PC market has been red shifting, with increased focus on a higher ASP, this particular segment is a key area of growth. Most of the results we received were fairly in line with expectations and (the much larger) Steam survey, but some did show surprisingly strong deviations from the direction we would otherwise expect. Without any further ado, here are the results for this quarter:

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Graphics Polls: IHV, Price Point, Sentiment and More

Reader’s Market Share (Anecdotal: Wccftech)

The first poll was something that revealed that our audience is evenly split between NVIDIA and AMD users (we are going to ignore Intel for the purposes of this poll). NVIDIA was seen leading the polls but only be a slight margin and this is something that is in contrast to the market share reports by Steam Survey and JPR. The primary difference between the former and our report is the fact that only the enthusiast community participated in our survey, whereas the Steam survey and Jon Peddie Research account for all GPU shipments. Since our community is easily more aware of the technology trends then a layman, it hints at the intrinsic competency of both companies in terms of GPUs.

Graphics Card Price Point Survey

The most popular price point for graphics card appears to be the $300-$400 Mid-High end segment, followed closely by the enthusiast class which is willing to pay more than $600 for a GPU they deem worthy. Interestingly, the High end segment comes after then the mainstream segment of $200-300 which the Polaris family currently targets. This evidence suggests that the low end segment is less than 6% with 75% of our readers willing to pay more than $300 to get a good GPU and 53% willing to pay more than $400 for the same.  The red-shifting of the PC industry and higher expected ASP is clearly reflected in these numbers.

Sentiment Poll: Graphics Card Update

The majority of our readers are waiting on AMD Vega, and depending on how it performs, will be willing to buy it. This is, we believe, strongly influenced by the fact that our readers expect it to hit the performance per $ sweet spot while staying within a reasonable price point. To target more than 53% of our readership, Vega has to be priced around the $400 mark but there will still be strong demand for it (36%) even if it’s priced at $500+. To capture the most market share, Vega will need to have a variant that is priced at around $350 which is where profit maximization occurs given our anecdotal data.

Sentiment: Reference Cards

Reference edition graphics cards have been making a comeback with the advent of the NVIDIA Founder’s Edition as well as AMD’s own Polaris lineup. However, we wanted to see just how our enthusiast segment reacts to such cards. More than 91% of our readership stated they will not buy reference cards from either IHV and will simply wait for custom AIB solutions to be released. The next question automatically becomes the reason behind this sentiment, to which our readership replied the following:

Sentiment: Reference Cards #2

It would appear that the primary reason why educated consumers will always go for a custom design is because they have better and beefier cooling solutions. If this pain point if fixed by either IHV, then they will be able to see significant increase in the demand for their reference editions. A triple fan cooling solution is the norm as far as high end GPUs go and even mid end GPUs now come equipped with at least a double fan cooling solution. Since overclocking is at the forefront of any enthusiast’s mind (or at least the ability to do so), a good cooling solution is a major selling point for this segment. The second and third answers also reflect the same sentiment, they believe that AIB designs have a higher build quality as well as a beefier power circuitry and only 12% voted for the AIB editions simply on the basis of aesthetics.

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Wccftech Reader’s Choice: Most Trusted Graphics Vendor 2017

Most trusted graphics AIB

We also wanted to know which AIBs our readers trust the most, and the winner to this particular accolade was ASUS. It seems like their STRIX brand has gotten quite a following and is the preferred AIB of choice for graphics buyers. Their automated production process, high quality and excellent ROG aesthetics probably played a big part in this win.

CPU Polls: Architecture, Price Point, Ryzen and More

Reader’s Marketshare (Anecdotal: Wccftech)

The market share, as reported by our readership, is almost identical to the numbers reported by the Steam hardware survey and JPR. This in itself is not surprising considering that AMD has not been competitive for the past few years and only now with Ryzen entering the scene has this particular ratio improved. And yes, it has improved. Our old survey conducted in 2016 put the market share at roughly 76.3%-23.7%. This year marks an almost 30% increase in AMD’s market share in the enthusiast segment primarily due to our readers jumping on the Ryzen bandwagon. To further get an idea of this market share, we also asked our readers about the specific CPU they were using.

CPU Poll (Anecdotal: Wccftech)

As expected, the Ryzen processor was a product that was quickly adopted by our readership and over 15% of our readers already own the same. Intel still remains the more popular vendor, but this is something that is to be expected given the historical momentum as well as lack of competition for the past few years.

Sentiment Poll: CPU Upgrade

The demand for CPUs has primarily stagnated due to the fact there is a lack of any killer app that can truly tax the CPU. Intel’s Sandy Bridge CPUs can still run all modern games at maxed out settings if overclocked at a decent rate, which means that the demand for CPUs operates on a very long cycle. It is because of this that the results for the polls are not surprising: over 46% have no intention of upgrading their CPU/mobo combo any time soon. Out of those that do, there is significant interest for AMD Ryzen.

An important insight that can be gleaned from this chart is the fact that enthusiasts are showing great interest in CPUs which have more than 4 cores, both on the Intel side and AMD side. Since AMD uses a value philosophy as opposed to the premium pricing philosophy of Intel, I believe the former is in a much better position to take advantage of this sentiment. To further expound the insight, we also asked them which particular SKU of Ryzen they were looking forward to:

The Ryzen Poll (Anecdotal: Wccftech)

The R7 1700 processor led the charts along with the R5 1600X. We had also added demand for a hypothetical 12 core/ 16 core Ryzen variant and it easily came in at the third category. The flagship R7 1800X came in at 5th place with 14% of our readers pledging interest in it. There appears to be very little demand for low end Ryzen products amongst our readership.

The R7 1700 and the R5 1600X are therefore, the jewels of AMD’s Ryzen crown and should face the most demand if our anecdotal evidence is anything to go buy. This is something that fits in with conventional wisdom considering the outstanding value proposition that both of these offer.

To better understand this segment, we will have to look at the price point comparison for the CPU polls:

CPU Price Point Survey

Interestingly, we see that the CPU market is actually smaller than the GPU market as far as enthusiasts (DIY) go. This is something that conforms to the theory that CPUs in general do not have a killer app (in games) that truly taxes them and a sufficiently modern CPU can easily keep up with even the most demanding games. The vast majority of CPU demand in the high end segment stems from people who will want to get CPU that is capable of not just gaming but auxiliary functions as well such as rendering.

That said, the best price point for the gaming segment appears to be $300-400 followed by the $200-300 range. Profit maximization occurs at $350 price point as well with demand seriously drying out above this point, unlike the GPU market. This poses an interesting paradox to the demand for the 12-core/16-core Ryzen part but could be explained away by the fact that when asked about how much money they are willing to part for a good CPU, most will imagine a conventional 4-8 core processor.