While graphics chip shipments and suppliers' market share for the second quarter of 2013 were regarded as disappointing compared with the same period last year, the news was encouraging quarter-to-quarter, according to a report from Jon Peddie Research (JPR).
Total shipments of discrete graphic processing units (GPUs) for desktops and notebooks were down 5.5 percent from the last quarter and down 5.2 percent from last year for the same quarter due to the same problems plaguing the overall PC industry. Chips with graphics and GPUs are a leading indicator for the PC market and act as an indicator of the overall health of the industry, which has been struggling as consumers shift toward mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones.
On a year-to-year basis, the report found that total graphics shipments during the second quarter of 2013 dropped 6.8 percent while PC shipments declined at a faster rate of 11.2 percent overall. Shipments were down 16.1 million units from this quarter last year.
Overall, the trend for discrete GPUs is up with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) to 2016 of 2.2 percent. Nearly all (99 percent) of Intel's non-server processors have graphics, and over 67 percent of AMD's non-server processors contain integrated graphics. AMD still ships integrated graphics processors (IGPs).
AMD's overall unit shipments increased 10.9 percent quarter-to-quarter, but shipments of desktop heterogeneous GPU and central processing units (CPUs) declined 9.6 percent from the first quarter and increased an astounding 47.1 percent in notebooks.
Intel's desktop processor-graphics shipments decreased from last quarter by 1.4 percent, and notebooks increased by 12.1 percent. The company's overall PC graphics shipments increased 6.2 percent. Nvidia's overall PC graphics shipments decreased by 8 percent, and the company’s desktop discrete shipments were down 8.9 percent from last quarter. The company's mobile discrete shipments decreased 7.1 percent, the report found.
The report noted at least one and often two GPUs are present in every PC shipped. It can take the form of a discrete chip, a GPU integrated in the chipset or embedded in the CPU. The average has grown from 1.2 GPUs per PC in 2001 to almost 1.4 GPUs per PC.
"The popularity of tablets and the persistent economic slowness are the most often mentioned reasons for the decline in the PC market, and the CAGR for PC graphics from 2012 to 2016 is -1.4 percent; we expect the total shipments of graphics chips in 2016 to be 319 million units," the report noted. "The 10-year average change for graphics shipments for quarter-to-quarter is a growth of 7.2 percent. This quarter is below the average with a 4.6 percent increase."