JPR's AIB Report tracks computer add-in graphics boards, which carry discrete graphics chips. AIBs used in desktop PCs, workstations, servers, and other devices such as scientific instruments. They are sold directly to customers as aftermarket products, or are factory installed. In all cases, AIBs represent the higher end of the graphics industry using discrete chips and private high-speed memory, as compared to the integrated GPUs in CPUs that share slower system memory.
The news was discouraging and seasonally understandable: Quarter-to-quarter, the AIB market decreased -16.81% (compared to the desktop PC market, which decreased -14.77%).
On a year-to-year basis, JPR found that total AIB shipments during the quarter fell -18.77%, which is more than desktop PCs, which fell -6.52%.
However, in spite of the overall decline, somewhat due to tablets and embedded graphics, the PC gaming momentum continues to build and is the bright spot in the AIB market.
The overall PC desktop market increased quarter-to-quarter, including double-attach – the adding of a second (or third) AIB to a system with integrated processor graphics – and to a lesser extent, dual AIBs in performance desktop machines using either AMD's Crossfire or Nvidia's SLI technology.
The attach rate of AIBs to desktop PCs has declined from a high of 63% in Q1 2008 to 37% this quarter.
The Quarter in General
JPR found that AIB shipments during the quarter behaved according to past years with regard to seasonality, but the increase was less than the 10-year average. AIB shipments decreased -16.81% from the last quarter (the 10-year average is -8.7%).
- Total AIB shipments decreased this quarter to 9.4 million units from last quarter.
- AMD's quarter-to-quarter total desktop AIB unit shipments decreased -33.3%.
- Nvidia's quarter-to-quarter unit shipments decreased -12.0%. Nvidia continues to hold a dominant market share position at 81.9%.
- Figures for the other suppliers were flat to declining.
- The change from year to year decreased -18.8% compared to last year.
This quarter compared to quarter-to-quarter percentage changes for the vendors are shown in Table 1.
The AIB market has benefited from the enthusiast segment PC growth, which has been partially fueled by recent introductions of exciting new powerful board.
The demand for high-end PCs and associated hardware from the enthusiast and overclocking segments has bucked the downward trend and given AIB vendors a needed prospect to offset declining sales in the mainstream consumer space.
An example of this consequence helping to push up prices for suppliers' product lines was Nvidia's introduction of the GeForce GTX Titan X in March. Offered at the shocking price of $999, the Titan set a new level for the most expensive single-GPU AIB.
That had a halo effect on Nvidia's other AIBs, and when the GeForce GTX 980 Ti was introduced in June, it was considered as having a price-performance ratio justifying its relatively high price of $649, and it sold very well.
New "gaming" monitors were introduced by Acer, LG, and others with wide formats, screen resolutions of 2560 x 1440, and reasonable prices in the sub $400 range. Such offerings will help stimulate the demand for new AIBs in Q3.
In the years JPR hase been tracking the market, the firm has seen AIBs evolve from un-programmable graphics controllers with 256 KB, to GPUs, to dual GPUs, and 12 MB AIBs that could be overclocked and water-cooled. Those improvements in performance, and the value for money and AIB represents, have been driven by the demand for more and more by the high-end enthusiast gamer, and the rest of the industry has benefited.
The AIB market now has just four chip (GPU) suppliers, which also build and sell AIBs. The primary suppliers of GPUs are AMD and Nvidia. There are 48 AIB suppliers, the AIB OEM customers of the GPU suppliers, which they call "partners."
In addition to privately branded AIBs offered worldwide, about a dozen PC suppliers offer AIBs as part of a system, and/or as an option, and some that offer AIBs as separate aftermarket products.
JPR hase been tracking AIB shipments quarterly since 1987 – the volume of those boards peaked in 1999, reaching 114 million units, in 2013 65 million shipped.
The term "AIB" is an abbreviation for add-in board, also called a "card." A "GPU" is the graphic processor unit on the AIB, also called the "chip."
Graphics add-in board are without doubt one of the most powerful, exciting, and essential components in the PC market today: Not only does every computer require one (or more), but the technology is entering into major new markets like supercomputers, remote workstations, and simulators almost on a daily basis. It would be little exaggeration to say that the AIB resembles the 800-pound gorilla in the room.
JPR's “AIB Report” tracks computer add-in graphics boards, which carry discrete graphics chips. AIBs are used in desktop PCs, workstations, servers, and other devices such as scientific instruments. They are sold directly to customers as aftermarket products, or are factory installed. In all cases, AIBs represent the higher end of the graphics industry using discrete chips and private high-speed memory, as compared to the integrated GPUs in CPUs that share slower system memory.
It is critical to get a proper grip on this highly complex technology and understand its future direction.
The detailed report will provide all the data, analysis
, and insight needed to clearly understand where this technology is today and where it's headed.
The findings include AIBs for desktops, workstations, and PC-based commercial (ie POS) and industrial/scientific and embedded. This report does not include the x86 game consoles, handhelds (mobile phones), x86 servers or ARM-based Tablets (iPad and Android-based tablets), or ARM-based servers. It does include x86-based tablets, chromebooks, and embedded systems.
JPR has been providing quarterly reports on the PC graphics market shipments since 1987.
Jon Peddie's “AIB Report” is available now in both electronic and hard copy editions, and sells for $1,500. The annual subscription price for JPR's Market Watch is $4,000 and includes four quarterly issues.