Spotlight: Products
Issue: Volume 34 Issue 3: (March 2011)

Spotlight: Products

PC Graphics Shipments Down Year over Year

Jon Peddie Research (JPR) has announced estimated graphics chip shipments and suppliers’ market share for Q4 of 2010. Overall shipments of graphics devices for the year 2010 came in below expectations with an unimpressive 4.3 percent total year-to-year growth. Instead of the traditional seasonal pickup, market leader Intel showed decline, which affected the overall results.

More than 113 million graphics chips and CPUs with graphics shipped in Q4 2010. Intel was the leader in unit shipments for Q4, elevated by Clarksdale, continued Atom sales for netbooks, and Sandy Bridge. On a quarter-to-quarter basis, however, AMD and Nvidia gained market share.

AMD reported graphics as 26 percent of the company’s total sales, an increase of 8.7 percent sequentially and 0.7 percent from last year. The graphics business benefited from a double-digit volume increase. Intel reported chipset and other revenue of $1.68 billion in Q1, but it does not include embedded graphics CPUs.

Nvidia reported revenues of $844 million for its fiscal Q3 2011, spanning from September to the end of January. The company’s next quarter ends in April.

Initial estimates indicated a 15 percent to 17 percent growth year for the PC. Gartner and IDC reported the year at approximately 13 percent. Graphics are a leading indicator, and lackluster sales of graphics are a bad-news bellwether for the PC industry.

Some analysts are saying tablets—or more precisely, the iPad—has cut into low-end PC sales. Given how low the growth was for graphics, a causality
relationship may exist.  

Market prediction is challenging given uncertainty in definition, methodology, and sell-through; yet, JPR continues to be optimistic about the future for PCs in 2011. There is momentum for machines used in business, creative content, and entertainment. The iPad and coming tablets will remain attractive adjacent devices and will primarily affect the low end of notebook sales.

Numbers were down in Q4, but JPR expects 2011 to be a strong year for GPU sales. The full adoption of DX 11 for mainstream and high-end systems will take place, putting a premium on GPU sales. AMD’s Fusion and Intel’s Sandy Bridge should hit their stride. Couple all that with an improving US and world economy, and 2011 should be a solid year all-around.

The Q4 2010 edition of Jon Peddie Research’s “Market Watch,” now available in electronic and hard copy editions, can be purchased for $995. An annual subscription of “Market Watch” costs $3500 and includes four quarterly issues. 

Nvidia Introduces Multi-display Processor

Nvidia has announced its NVS 300 business graphics solution, a graphics processor designed to deliver visual fidelity across up to eight displays, while consuming minimal power.

The NVS 300 graphics processor offers versatile display connectivity in a low-profile, space-saving graphics card design, simplifying IT administration. Compatible with LCD, DLP, and plasma display types and standard tower, work­station, and small-form-factor system configurations, the NVS 300 supports VGA, DVI, DisplayPort, and HDMI at resolutions as high as 2560x1600.

The new graphics processor features Nvidia nView desktop management software and new Nvidia Mosaic technology, which provides seamless taskbar spanning and transparent scaling of any application across as many as eight displays.

“The NVS 300 is built for demanding enterprises that require high reliability, improved manageability, and tremendous value,” explains Jeff Brown, general manager of the Professional Solutions Group at Nvidia. “The ability to support legacy and current display types provides an upgrade path without disrupting existing, complex installations.

The NVS 300 graphics processor sports a passive thermal design and built-in power management technology, which intelligently adjusts power consumption based on the applications in use.

The Nvidia NVS 300 is priced at $149 and is now available in PCI Express x16 and x1 configurations.