Q2 2016 Report: Add-in Board Market Decreases
September 19, 2016

Q2 2016 Report: Add-in Board Market Decreases

Jon Peddie Research (JPR), the industry's research and consulting firm for graphics and multimedia, announced estimated PC graphics add-in-board (AIB) shipments and suppliers' market share for Q2 2016.

The market shares for the desktop discrete GPU suppliers shifted in the quarter, too.

AIBs using discrete GPUs are found 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 by OEMs. In all cases, AIBs represent the higher end of the graphics industry with their discrete chips and private, often large, high-speed memory, as compared to the integrated GPUs in CPUs that share slower system memory.

The PC add-in board (AIB) market now has just three 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."

Lots of AIB suppliers, smaller shipments 

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 has been tracking AIB shipments quarterly since 1987 – the volume of those boards peaked in 1999, reaching 114 million units, in 2015, 44 million shipped.

The news for the quarter was encouraging and seasonally understandable: quarter-to-quarter, the AIB market decreased -20.8% (compared to the desktop PC market, which increased 2.5%).

AIB shipments during the quarter decreased from the last quarter -20.8%, which is below the 10-year average of -9.7%. On a year-to-year basis, JPR found that total AIB shipments during the quarter rose 0.8%, which is greater than desktop PCs, which fell -0.2%.

Gaming the game changer

However, in spite of the overall PC churn, 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 GPU shipments (integrated and discrete) is greater than desktop PC shipments due 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 Improved attach rate. The attach rate of AIBs to desktop PCs has declined from a high of 63% in Q1 2008 to 34% this quarter, a decrease of -22.7% from last quarter which was negative. Compared to this quarter last year it increased 1.0%, which was low.