Gaming market continues to buoy graphics chips vendors

All three leading vendors saw third quarter shipments increase sharply from last quarter.

All three major computer graphics chips vendors saw increased sales in the third quarter of 2016 over the previous quarter, as PC and game console manufacturers prepare inventory for the fourth quarter.

According to the latest market research report from Jon Peddie Research, overall GPU shipments increased 20% from last quarter. On a sequential basis, AMD increased 15%, Nvidia increased 39%, and Intel increased 18%.

The Nvdia GeForce GTX 1080 was one of the major beneficiaries of continued strong demand for high-end gaming graphics hardware. (Source: Nvidia)
The Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 was one of the major beneficiaries of continued strong demand for high-end gaming graphics hardware. (Source: Nvidia)

There is constant change in market share between these big three. In the third quarter of 2016 Nvidia’s market share increased 2.2% from last quarter and 0.4% from last year; Intel lost 1.6% market share from last quarter; and AMD’s overall share decreased 0.6% from last quarter.

The PC market rose in 3Q16 from the previous quarter, but declined from the same quarter last year. The quarter-to-quarter gain was largely due to gaming as well as data center sales. PC suppliers are seeing growth in gaming desktops and notebooks, and hope this will offset the slowdown in overall PC shipments.

Year-to-year total GPU shipments increased 0.3%, desktop graphics decreased 4%, notebooks increased 3%. Nvidia did particularly well in 3Q16, fueled by their Pascal-based product line and the rash of new AAA graphics-demanding titles.


The third quarter is typically the strongest from the previous quarter in the seasonal cycles of the past. For Q3’16 we saw an increase of 20.4% from last quarter, and the gain was above the ten-year average of 9.52%.

Quick highlights

  • AMD overall unit shipments increased 15.38% quarter-to-quarter. Intel total shipments increased 17.70% from last quarter. Nvidia total shipments increased 39.31%.
  • The attach rate of GPUs (includes integrated and discrete GPUs) to PCs for the quarter was 146% which was up 14.96% from last quarter.
  • Discrete GPUs were in 34.84% of PCs, which is up 7.06%.
  • The overall PC market increased 8.09% quarter-to-quarter, and decreased 5.37% year-to-year.
  • Desktop graphics add-in boards (AIBs) that use discrete GPUs increased 38.16% from last quarter.
  • 3Q16 saw a decrease in tablet shipments from last quarter and saw notebook sales outsell tablets for the first time in three years.

The third quarter is, on average, usually up from the previous quarter as the channel and OEMs stock up for the holiday season. Judging by the big overall increase, those resellers are anticipating a strong demand in the 4th quarter.

Total discrete GPUs (desktop and notebook) shipments for the industry increased 35.6% from the last quarter, and increased 10.1% from last year. Sales of discrete GPUs fluctuate due to a variety of factors (timing, memory pricing, etc.), new product introductions, and the influence of integrated graphics. Overall, the CAGR from 2014 to 2017 is now -5%.

The quarter in general

AMD shipments of desktop heterogeneous GPU/CPUs, (i.e., APUs), for desktops decreased 10% from the previous quarter. AMD shipments were up 19.1% in notebooks. Desktop discrete GPUs increased 34.7% from last quarter, and notebook discrete shipments increased 23.0%. AMD total PC graphics shipments increased 15.4% from the previous quarter.

Intel desktop processor embedded graphics (EPGs) shipments increased from last quarter by 4.1%; notebook processors increased by 18.8%; and total PC graphics shipments increased 17.7% from last quarter.

Nvidia desktop discrete GPU shipments were up 39.8% from last quarter; notebook discrete GPU shipments increased 38.7%, and total PC graphics shipments increased 39.3% from last quarter. It was one of, if not the best, quarter in Nvidia’s history, which the company attributes to the strong acceptance and demand for its new Pascal line of graphics chips and boards. The company’s share price is at an all-time high.

Ninety nine percent of Intel’s non-server processors have graphics, and over 66% of AMD’s non-server processors contain integrated graphics; AMD still ships integrated graphics chipsets (IGPs).