JPR: GPU shipments to plunge in '09, rebound in 2010

In the wake of an iSuppli report that predicted the PC market would suffer its first absolute decline in unit shipments in 2009 since the dreary days of the dot-com bust in 2001, Jon Peddie Research has released a new report on the state of the graphics chip business that corroborates the gloomy outlook.

As illustrated in the chart above, JPR expects GPU shipments to drop roughly 12%, from 373 million units last year to 328 million units in '09, a speed bump the firm calls "the worst ever year-over-year drop in shipments" for graphics processors. The report notes that GPU shipments are a leading indicator for the PC market overall, since these components must ship before complete PCs are assembled.

However, surprisingly enough, JPR strongly predicts a sunny outlook for next year and beyond, for a host of reasons. In its words:

Taking together our data, interviews with suppliers, and world economic forecast models, we believe the worst is over and Q3 will show recovery leading all the way through 2010, subject to seasonal adjustments.

Portable devices such as notebooks, laptops, and netbooks will be the strong, but they will not overwhelm desktops which are still the preferred choice of platform for the power users and professionals.

Architectural changes like Intel's Nehalem and new product introductions from AMD, ATI, Intel, and Nvidia are going to be disruptive to the status quo and traditional market share of the suppliers. The continued expansion and development of heterogeneous computing and GPU compute will stimulate growth in 2010 enabled by Apple's and Microsoft's new operating systems.

New programming capabilities using OpenCL, DirectX 11, and Nvidia's CUDA architecture will remove barriers to the exploitation of the GPU as a serious, economical, and powerful co-processor in all level of PCs.

The net result is a new PC environment starting in Q3, and this new environment will have a beneficial impact on computing in 2010 onward.

As a result, JPR expects GPU shipments will reach a new peak of 399 million units in 2010 and 447 million in 2011.

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