Q3 2015 Add-in Board Market Snapshot
January 18, 2016

Q3 2015 Add-in Board Market Snapshot

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 Q3 '15.

Two big introductions came in the third quarter. AMD released their Radeon AIB line-up: the Fury series, powered by its new high-bandwidth memory (HBM), and the company's brand-new Fiji GPU.

At Nvidia's GPU Technology Conference in Japan, the company revealed its next-generation GPU code-named "Pascal." AIBs based on Pascal will have up to 16GB of HBM2 with up to 1 TB/s bandwidth.

JPR's “AIB Report” tracks PC add-in graphics boards (AIBs), 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, compared to the integrated GPUs in CPUs that share slower system memory.

The news was encouraging and seasonally understandable, quarter-to-quarter; the AIB market increased 27.6% (compared to the desktop PC market, which increased 7.6%).

On a year-to-year basis, JPR found that total AIB shipments for the quarter fell -3.9%, which is less than desktop PCs, which fell -8.9%.

However, in spite of the overall decline, due somewhat 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. To a lesser extent, dual AIBs in performance desktop machines with high-end CPUs also added to the quarter-to-quarter increase. Typically, these machines use 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 39% this quarter.

The Quarter in General

JPR found that AIB shipments during the quarter behaved according to past years with regard to seasonality. AIB shipments increased 27.59% from the last quarter (the 10-year average is 12.6%).

From last quarter, total AIB shipments decreased to 12.0 million units this quarter.

AMD's quarter-to-quarter total desktop AIB unit shipments increased 33.3%.

Nvidia's quarter-to-quarter unit shipments increased 26.4%. Nvidia continues to hold a dominant market share position at 81.1%.

Figures for the other suppliers were flat to declining.

The change from year to year decreased -3.8% compared to last year.

This quarter compared to quarter-to-quarter percentage changes for the vendors are shown in the accompanying graphic.

                                                                                      AIB Market Shares

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, and they are customers of the AIB OEM GPU suppliers.

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 offer AIBs as separate aftermarket products. We have been tracking AIB shipments quarterly since 1987 – the volume of those boards peaked in 1999, reaching 114 million units, in 2013 65 million shipped.

This detailed 69-page report provides all the data, analysis and insight those in this markeet need to clearly understand where this technology is today and where it is headed.

Jon Peddie Research's “AIB Report” is available now in both electronic and hard copy editions and sells for $1,500.