The PC as we know it is continues to flounder when analyzing year-over-year sales, but PC sales have increased 1.8% from Q3 2013 to Q4 2014. According to a new report from Jon Peddie Research, desktop graphic cards from AMD and Nvidia continue to bolster the market.
JPR, a research and consulting firm for graphics and multimedia, issued a new report today highlighting some positive data points, alongside some equally troubling ones. For example, despite the cryptocurrency mining boom which has artificially inflated the prices of Radeon graphics cards (at times 30% beyond MSRP), and an influx of new products, Team Red’s discrete GPU shipments increased only 1.8% in Q4 2013. While that is good news, AMD’s business for discrete notebook GPUs declined 6.7%, and their overall shipments fell 10.4% from the previous quarter.
Meanwhile, the Nvidia camp saw their discrete desktop shipments improve 3.6% over last quarter, alongside an increase of 3.4% in the discrete notebook graphics department. Overall this represented a 3.4% increase in PC graphics shipments for Nvidia, but they still trail slightly behind AMD in total market share.
What’s causing the overall boom? I had a chance to pick the brain of Kelt Reeves, founder and president of longtime boutique PC vendor Falcon Northwest. He theorizes that it’s not just gamers lifting up the market. It’s also “lots of university, business, and military purchases (of what usually could be called gaming systems) as well,” Reeves explained. “We can’t point to any one particular cause of it, but we have a lot of theories: we’re 3 years out from the initial Windows 7 boom, and that means we’re probably seeing a lot of normal 3-year cycle system upgraders.”
Reeves also points several other impactful factors like Nvidia’s GeForce 700 series graphics cards (Falcon Northwest’s desktop systems have a 98% Nvidia GPU share out the door), the improving economy, and users who are “prepping for 4K in the content-creation space.”
This wouldn’t be a fair report without including Intel, who owned the lion’s share of the overall GPU market last quarter with 62.9%, a fact backed up by their domination on Valve’s recent Steam Hardware Survey. This is certainly due to the majority of Intel’s CPUs now boasting embedded graphics, which are a leading indicator for the PC market (even if they’re not designed for true hardcore gaming).
Here’s how total graphics market share looks for Q4 2013:
- AMD: 20.7%
- Nvidia: 16.3%
- Intel: 62.9%