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Netbooks boost graphics chip shipments

Intel continues to dominate graphics chip shipments thanks to Netbook sales, according to a market researcher.

Buoyed by Netbook sales, shipments of Intel graphics chips surged and Advanced Micro Devices gained on Nvidia in the third quarter.

Third-quarter shipments of graphics processors jumped 21.2 percent over the second quarter, according to market researcher Jon Peddie Research. Graphics chips drive the images produced on PC users' screens.

A total of 119.45 million units were shipped in the third quarter, exceeding the record 111 million units that shipped in the third quarter of 2008, according to Jon Peddie, president of Jon Peddie Research. "So the market has caught up with, and exceeded, last year's highs. The crash of fall 2008 is now behind us," he said in a statement.

The third quarter exceeded a robust second quarter. "Q2 was already a great quarter clearly signaling the holidays will be robust for PCs and the industry in general," Peddie said.

AMD gained on discrete graphics chip leader Nvidia in quarter-to-quarter growth.
AMD gained on discrete graphics chip leader Nvidia in quarter-to-quarter growth. Jon Peddie Research

AMD showed the biggest jump in quarter-to-quarter growth at 30 percent, followed by Intel at 21 percent. But Intel dominates raw shipments. "Intel shipped the most parts at 63 million, over twice as many as its nearest competitor Nvidia," according to Peddie, who said Intel had a 53 percent share of the market in the third quarter. Nvidia was second with 24.9 percent, followed by AMD with 19.8 percent.

Surging Netbook shipments are behind the big Intel numbers. Integrated graphics in notebooks, which includes Netbooks, increased 27 percent over the second quarter. Integrated graphics are built into supporting Intel silicon called chipsets.

"Netbooks will remain popular but they will not have the high market share they had during the recession when they were just introduced. Rather, consumers are expected to 'buy up' in the next quarter," according to Peddie.

Fourth-quarter shipments may not be as strong as the third quarter, however. "The channel is full...That suggests that while Q4 is typically a good quarter for PCs, the quarter-to-quarter growth in Q4 may not be as robust as Q3. Graphics are a great leading indicator. The graphics go in before the PC is built or shipped," Peddie said.