Global Add-in Board Market Soars in Q4 2019
Jon Peddie Research
March 6, 2020

Global Add-in Board Market Soars in Q4 2019

The add-in board market increased in Q4'19 from last quarter, as AMD gained market share. Over $3.9 billion dollars of AIBs shipped in the quarter.

Quarter-to-quarter graphics add-in board shipments increased significantly by 12.2% and increased 33.4% year-to-year. The market shares for the desktop discrete GPU suppliers shifted in the quarter, AMD increased market share from last quarter as well as year-over-year.

 Market share changes quarter-to-quarter, and year-to-year.

Jon Peddie, president of JPR noted, "This is the third consecutive quarter of increased AIB shipments; however, Q1, which is seasonally flat to down, may show an unusual dip because of supply chain interruptions from China due to the Coronavirus epidemic. 2020 is going to be a game changer with Intel's entry into the discrete GPU market and a possible forth entry by an IP company."

Intel's entry into the AIB market in 2020 will shift market share but not have an immediate influence on overall sales. However, JPR believes Intel's brand is so powerful that new AIB customers will come into the market. Offsetting that will be the effect of streaming gaming from Google, Nvidia and others, which may cause some gamers to delay buying a new AIB.

GPUs are traditionally a leading indicator of the market, since a GPU goes into every system before the suppliers ships the PC. Most of the semiconductor vendors are guiding down for next quarter, by an average of -9%. Some that guidance is based on normal seasonality, but there is also a factor for the Coronavirus impact.

Add-in boards (AIBs) using discrete GPUs are found in desktop PCs, workstations, servers, rendering and mining farms, 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 dedicated, often large, high-speed memory. Systems with integrated GPUs in CPUs share slower system memory.

The AIB market hit $16.1 billion last year and is forecasted to be $16.3 billion by 2023.

Since 1981, 1,303 million AIBs have been shipped.

The fourth quarter is normally flat to down from the previous quarter. This quarter it was up 12.2% from the last quarter. That is above the 10-year average of -2.3%, which is unusually high when compared to the desktop PC market, which increased 22.4% from the last quarter.

The relative changes from quarter-to-quarter are illustrated in the following chart.

AIB attach rate.

On a year-to-year basis, JPR found that total AIB shipments during the quarter rose 6.2%, which is greater than desktop PCs, which fell -15.9% from the same quarter a year ago.

Overall, AIB shipments had been declining slightly, but not as much as the PC thanks to gamers upgrading their systems. 

Similarly in 2015, when the use of AIB for cryptocurrency mining became widespread, AIB sales rose while PC sales fell.

Despite of the overall PC churn, somewhat due to tablets and embedded graphics, the PC gaming momentum continues to be a bright spot in the AIB market. The impact and influence of eSports has also contributed to the market growth and has attracted new users. VR continues to be interesting but is not having a measurable influence on the AIB market.

JPR also publishes a series of reports on the PC Gaming Hardware Market, which covers the total market including system and accessories, and looks at 31 countries. Jon Peddie Research's AIB Report is available now and sells for $2,750.