Graphics market on fire; AMD gains

The graphics chip market sees the biggest increase in third-quarter shipments in six years, according to a market researcher.

The economy may be under water, but the graphics chip market is on fire.

The market for graphics processing units (GPUs) saw the biggest increase in third-quarter shipments in six years, according to Jon Peddie Research (JPR), as AMD gained in both the desktop and laptop segments.

Laptop graphics chip shipments soared by almost 40 percent quarter-to-quarter, as AMD gained
Laptop graphics chip shipments soared by almost 40 percent quarter-to-quarter, as AMD gained Jon Peddie Research

In the third quarter of 2008, more than 111 million GPUs were shipped, the market researcher said. During the same quarter last year, 91 million GPUs shipped, and 94 million units shipped in the previous quarter. That's an annual increase of 22.5 percent and a quarter-to-quarter increase of almost 18 percent, according to JPR.

In the overall market, Intel jumped from 33.4 percent in the third quarter of 2007 to 49.4 percent in the third quarter of this year, according to JPR. AMD saw year-to-year growth of 22.8 percent, while Nvidia lost 6.4 percent year-to-year.

For desktop GPUs, Intel increased its first place position to a 43.9 percent share, while Nvidia's position slipped to 32.6 percent, and AMD climbed to 20.3 percent, JPR said. Desktop GPUs saw an increase of 4.7 percent this quarter to 61.9 million units.

On the laptop front, Intel GPU shipments dropped one point to 56.2 percent, while Nvidia GPU shipments declined to 21.8 percent, and AMD jumped to 20.9 percent. Laptop graphics chips soared almost by 40 percent quarter-to-quarter to 49.4 million units, to claim 44.4 percent of the market, JPR reported.

Though the third quarter is typically up as PC makers place orders for chips for the holiday season, "this quarter was up more than any other for some time, and in spite of suggestions of a recession that started last Q4," said Jon Peddie, president of the Tiburon, Calif.-based firm.

Peddie cautions, however, that the doom-and-gloom scenarios may be having their effect on business and consumer spending plans and the fourth quarter could be flat (compared with the third quarter) this year.

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