Nvidia, Intel Lead Graphics Chip Market Rebound

Nvidia, Intel and AMD helped the graphics chip market rebound in the fourth quarter of 2009, as the overall PC market improved. Graphics chip shipments experienced "an amazing comeback, in this year of retrenching and recession," according to a new Jon Peddie Research report.

Graphics chip shipments for the fourth quarter of 2009 surpassed expectation, according to a Jan. 26 analysis report from Jon Peddie Research.

Intel again led the graphics market for the quarter, with a year-to-year growth rate of 17.9 percent. This helped raise the chip giant's market share standing from last quarter's 53.6 percent to 55.2 percent in the fourth quarter.

Jon Peddie analysts attributed Intel's role to elevated Atom sales for netbooks, as well as strong growth in the desktop segment. On Dec. 21, Intel introduced a new platform based on its power-saving 1.66GHz Atom N450 processor, and within days of its January release, Gateway, Hewlett-Packard, Fujitsu and Dell all introduced devices that paired it with Windows 7.

Market share for the number two graphics producer - Advanced Micro Devices - fell slightly, from 20.1 percent last quarter to 19.9 percent in the fourth quarter.

"AMD gained in the notebook integrated segment, but lost some market share in discrete in both the desktop and notebook segments due to constraints in 40- [nanometer] supply," according to a report summary.

Nvidia, in third place, moved from 25.3 percent market share last quarter to 24.3 percent in the fourth quarter. According to the report, Nvidia slipped in the desktop and integrated notebook categories, but saw gains in "desktop discretes."

Intel reported chipset and other revenues of $1.877 billion the fourth quarter. Nvidia, whose fiscal quarter straddles the calendar quarters, reported revenue of $903 million for the third quarter, which ran from August to the end of October. Its next quarter, however, ends this month.

Jon Peddie additionally reported that the fourth quarter of 2009 saw the first shipments of a new category called CPU-integrated graphics, or CIG.

"With the advent of new CPUs with integrated or embedded graphics, we will see a rapid decline in shipments of traditional chipset graphics or [integrated graphics processors, IGPs]," according to the report.

Annual growth rates for the market were 14 percent for 2009, and going forward Jon Peddie estimates growth of 27.9 percent in 2010, before a drop to 10.3 percent in 2011.