Major graphics chip vendors all report fourth quarter decline

AMD, Intel, and Nvidia combined for a drop of 11.5% in units shipped.

All the leading suppliers of graphics chips for PCs reported declining sales for the fourth quarter of 2012, both on a sequential basis and year-over-year. AMD, Intel, and Nvidia combined for a 4Q12 that saw unit sales down 11.5% from a year earlier, as reported by Jon Peddie Research (JPR).

28.8 million discrete GPUs shipped in the fourth quarter of 2012, down almost 16% over last quarter and down 9.7% from last year. There was an 8.2% dip in overall graphics shipments in Q4 from the third quarter. (Image: AMD Radeon HD)
28.8 million discrete GPUs shipped in the fourth quarter of 2012, down almost 16% over last quarter and down 9.7% from last year. There was an 8.2% dip in overall graphics shipments in Q4 from the third quarter. (Image: AMD Radeon HD)

The news was disappointing for every one of the major players, says JPR. AMD dropped 13.6%, Intel slipped the least, just 2.9%, and Nvidia declined the most with 16.7% quarter-to-quarter change, this coming on the heels of  a spectacular third quarter. The overall PC market actually grew 2.8% quarter-to-quarter while the graphics market declined 8.2% reflecting a decline in double-attach. That may be attributed to Intel’s improved embedded graphics, finally making “good enough” a true statement.

On a year-to-year basis JPR found total graphics shipments during 4Q12 dropped 11.5% as compared to PCs which declined by 5.6% overall. GPUs are traditionally a leading indicator of the market, since a GPU goes into every system before it is shipped and most of the PC vendors are guiding down for 1Q13.

JPR says the current turmoil in the PC market has led it to modify its forecast for future quarters, becoming less aggressive on both desktops and notebooks. The popularity of tablets and the persistent recession are the contributing factors that have altered the nature of the PC market. Nonetheless, the CAGR for PC graphics from 2012 to 2016 is 3.2%, and we expect the total shipments of graphics chips in 2016 to be 549 million units.

The ten-year average change for graphics shipments for quarter-to-quarter is a growth of -1.3%. This quarter is below the average with an 8.2% decrease.

JPR’s findings include discrete and integrated graphics (CPU and chipset) for Desktops, Notebooks (and Netbooks), and PC-based commercial (i.e., POS) and industrial/scientific and embedded. This report does not include handhelds (i.e., mobile phones), x86 Servers or ARM-based Tablets (i.e. iPad and Android-based tablets), smartbooks, or ARM-based Servers. It does include x86-based tablets.

Breaking down the quarter

  • AMD’s quarter-to-quarter total shipments of desktop heterogeneous GPU/CPUs, i.e., APUs increased 0.8% from Q3 and declined 19.1% in notebooks. The company’s overall PC graphics shipments slipped 13.6%.
  • Intel’s quarter-to-quarter desktop processor-graphics EPG shipments increased from last quarter by 3%, and Notebooks fell by 6.76%. The company’s overall PC graphics shipments dropped 2.9%.
  • Nvidia’s quarter-to-quarter desktop discrete shipments fell 15.1% from last quarter; and, the company’s mobile discrete shipments dropped 18.4%. The company’s overall PC graphics shipments declined 16.7%.
  • Year to year this quarter AMD shipments declined 29.4%, Intel dropped 5%, Nvidia slipped 4.6%, and VIA fell 10% from last year.
  • Total discrete GPUs (desktop and notebook) dropped 15.9% from the last quarter and were down 9.7% from last year for the same quarter due to the same problems plaguing the overall PC industry. Overall the trend for discrete GPUs is up with a CAGR to 2016 of 3.2%.

99% of Intel’s non-server processors have graphics, and over 67% of AMD’s non-server processors contain integrated graphics; AMD still ships integrated Graphics Processors (IGPs).

Year-to-year for the quarter the graphics market decreased. Shipments were down 3 million units from the same quarter last year.

  Market share this quarter Market share last Qtr Unit Change Qtr-to-qtr Share Difference Qtr-to-qtr Market Share last yr.
AMD 19.7% 21.0% -13.6% -1.2% 24.8%
Intel 63.4% 60.0% -2.9% 3.4% 59.2%
Nvidia 16.9% 18.6% -16.7% -1.73% 15.7%
Matrox 0.00% 0.0% -100.0% 0.0% 0.0%
VIA/S3 0.0% 0.4% -100.0% -0.4% 0.4%
Total 100.0% 100.0% -8.2%   100.2%

Total Graphics Chip Market shares (Jon Peddie Research)

Graphics chips (GPUs) and chips with graphics (IGPs, APUs, and EPGs) are a leading indicator for the PC market. At least one and often two GPUs are present in every PC shipped. It can take the form of a discrete chip, a GPU integrated in the chipset or embedded in the CPU. The average has grown from 1.2 GPUs per PC in 2001 to almost 1.4 GPUs per PC.

The 4Q12 edition of Jon Peddie Research’s Market Watch is available now in both electronic and hard copy editions, and sells for $2,500. Included with this report is an Excel workbook with the data used to create the charts, the charts themselves, and supplemental information. The annual subscription price for JPR’s Market Watch is $4,000 and includes four quarterly issues. Full subscribers to JPR services receive Tech Watch (the company’s bi-weekly report) and a copy of Market Watch as part of their subscription. For information about purchasing Market Watch, please call 415/435-9368 or visit the Jon Peddie Research website at