AMD, Nvidia Saw Market Share Rise in Q4 2010: Report

A sluggish fourth quarter for graphics chip shipments found AMD and Nvidia taking market share from Intel.

Estimates from Jon Peddie Research (JPR) regarding graphics chip shipments and suppliers' market share for the fourth quarter 2010 suggest overall shipments of graphics devices for the year 2010 came in below expectations with an "unimpressive" 4.3 percent total year to year growth--a disappointing result given the enthusiastic start of the year, according to the company's report on the research. More than 113 million graphics chips and CPUs with graphics shipped in Q4 2010.
Intel was the leader in unit shipments for Q4'10, elevated by Clarksdale, continued Atom sales for Netbooks, and Sandy Bridge. However, on a quarter-to-quarter basis AMD and Nvidia gained market share at Intel's expense. "Instead of the traditional seasonal pickup, market leader Intel showed decline, which affected the overall results," the report noted.
AMD's market share rose 2.3 percent to 24.3 percent overall, compared with the previous quarter (23 percent), while Nvidia posted a gain of 4.1 percent to capture 22.5 percent of the market, up from 21 percent in the previous quarter. "Although numbers were down in Q4 we expect 2011 to be a strong year for GPU sales," the report stated. "The full adoption of DX 11 for mainstream and high-end systems will take place putting a premium on GPU sales, AMDs Fusion and Intel's Sandy Bridge should hit their stride. Couple all that with an improving US and world economy, and 2011 should be solid year all-around."
AMD reported graphics was 26 percent of the company's total sales, an increase of 8.7 percent sequentially and 0.7 percent from last year: The graphics business benefited from a double-digit volume increase. Nvidia's quarter, which straddles the calendar quarters, reported revenues of $844 million for their Fiscal Q3 2011, which is from September to the end of January. Their next quarter ends in April.
"We were told by the sharpshooters that this was going to be a 15 percent to 17 percent growth year for the PC. [IT research firms] Gartner and IDC reported the year came in at around 13 percent," the report noted. "But Graphics are a leading indicator, a sell-in part, and lackluster sales of graphics are a bad-news bellwether for the PC industry."
JPR researchers said analyst firms were getting mixed results and messages, with some firms saying tablets- or more precisely, the Apple iPad, has cut into low-end PC sales. "If that's true then it would for sure show up in graphics. And given how low the growth was for graphics it looks like there may be a causality relationship."
The report also noted there is momentum for machines used in business, creative content, and entertainment, and said the iPad and coming tablets would remain "very attractive" adjacent devices and would primarily affect the low end of notebook sales. "This uncertainty in definition, methodology, and sell through is shaking up the fluffy white stuff in our snow globe and making seeing into the future challenging," the report concluded. "However, we continue to be optimistic about the future for PCs into 2011."