A few years ago, Nvidia's future looked uncertain. Both AMD and Intel were combining graphics with x86 processors, while Nvidia was the only one stuck without an x86 CPU license. How could it succeed?
Fast forward to last quarter, and clearly, Nvidia is doing rather well. Strong sales of its Tegra mobile processors and GeForce GPUs allowed the company to post record revenue, and now, the latest figures from Jon Peddie Research show Nvidia actually gained on both AMD and Intel in the PC graphics market.
From the second quarter to the third, JPR says Nvidia's PC graphics shipments grew 28.3% in desktops and 12% in notebooks. Intel suffered 7% and 8.6% declines in those same markets, respectively, while AMD saw a 2% decline on the desktop and a 17% decline in notebooks. Now, JPR's data doesn't paint a totally complete picture. While it includes both discrete graphics processors and graphics-enabled CPUs from AMD and Intel, it excludes chips for servers, handhelds, and tablets. Still, the numbers show Nvidia is faring quite well compared to the competition in the PC market. Just look at JPR's market share estimates:
|Q3 2011||Q2 2012||Q3 2012|
Note how Nvidia's share of shipments is catching up to AMD's, even though the AMD figure includes processors with integrated graphics, like AMD's A- and E-series APUs. (The Nvidia numbers exclude Tegra sales, since JPR says it doesn't account for handheld or tablet chips.)
That said, JPR paints a somewhat bleak picture of the market at large. Compared to last year, shipments for all of the major vendors slipped—AMD's by 20%, Intel's by 14%, and Nvidia's by 0.5%. JPR says shipments of PC graphics chips were down 10.8% year-over-year and 1.45% on a quarter-to-quarter basis. The quarter-to-quarter numbers are actually worse than those for the overall PC market, too, which JPR says is unusual. "The turmoil in the PC market has caused us to modify our forecast since the last report; it is less aggressive on both desktops and notebooks," the company adds.