Desktop GPU shipments grow by a third – no thanks to AI PCs • Register

According to graphics-focused analyst firm Jon Peddie Research, shipments of consumer-grade GPUs are growing strongly, but perhaps not because of the emergence of generative AI or so-called AI PCs.

The firm’s latest report indicated that GPU shipments rose 32 percent year-over-year to 9.5 million units in the fourth quarter of 2023, and 6.8 percent quarter-over-quarter.

JPR analyst Jon Peddie said Register AI is not driving growth.

“We’ve been shipping PCs with GPUs capable of inferring AI for the last, at least ten years, maybe even longer. So, it’s nothing new,” he said.

Currently, he says, AI is a marketing tool for selling systems with PC neural processing units (NPUs), which still require applications to distribute workloads between different accelerators. Need to improve. This is consistent with a previous report from Gartner, which showed that the arrival of AI-enabled software is lagging behind AI PC hardware.

“It’s all hype right now,” opined Paddy, adding that while some people might run out and buy a new system or GPU to experiment with native AI, they’d buy graphics cards from AI PCs. Do not expect sales to increase.

Paddy suggested that the main driver of GPU sales is better availability to lower prices, making newer cards more attractive to consumers.

During the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting crypto boom, retailers were able to charge more than manufacturers’ recommended prices — and they already did for products like Nvidia’s $1,599 RTX 4090 and $1,199 RTX 4080. It was heavy. far more.

“The clear growth over the past three quarters, combined with overall stability in graphics add-on board prices, signals a rebound for the market,” JPR analyst C. Robert Dow said in a statement.

Prices for consumer and prosumer grade GPUs have dropped recently. For example, many of Nvidia’s Super Series GPUs launched in January enjoyed significant price cuts compared to their non-Super siblings. AMD and Intel, meanwhile, have introduced new budget-oriented cards for those who don’t care about high-frame-rate 4K gaming.

Peddie said the moves could be attributed to chip makers trying to clear inventory of old cards, ahead of product launches in late 2024.

In a dig at Peddie’s outlook for Q4 shipments, Nvidia maintained its grip as the dominant player in the desktop graphics arena, claiming an 80 percent market share.

However, the tides may be turning — the JPR report found that it was AMD, not Nvidia, that saw the most growth during the holiday quarter.

Of the 9.5 million GPUs sold in Q4, shipments of AMD GPUs through add-in-board (AIB) partners grew 17 percent quarter-over-quarter and 117 percent year-over-year, increasing share by seven percent. happened

By comparison, Nvidia grew at a slower pace, with shipments up 4.7 percent for the quarter and just 22.3 percent from last year. As a result, Nvidia’s market share shrank to two percent.

Peddie described the change as a mere “wiggle” and suggested that product availability will continue to see Nvidia and AMD trade market share. He explained that AMD’s decision to prioritize mid-range, high-volume products — rather than high-end enthusiast parts — has helped boost its shipments.

“AMD’s current range of products only touches Nvidia in terms of high-end performance; the mid-range AMD products are solid and really good value,” Peddie said. Register. “AMD has made a decision that they’re not going to go into the high end as much as they used to and you can understand that, it’s a very, very small volume.”

This makes Intel a relative newcomer to the consumer graphics market with the Arc series of cards. According to the JPR report, Intel’s efforts to disrupt desktop GPUs have delivered just one percent market share by Q4 2023 — down from two percent in the final quarter of 2022.

One reason for this decline could be that Intel’s Alchemist GPUs – which made their way to market in 2022 to mixed reception – are due for a refresh and buyers may have decided to wait for the new kit.

That hardware, codenamed Battlemage, is expected to ship later this year. However, when they launch, Intel may have to compete with next-generation cards from Nvidia and AMD, both of which are expected to refresh their consumer graphics lineups this year.

Looking ahead to the first quarter of 2024, analysts expect the market to remain stable, thanks in part to GPUs launched at CES by Nvidia and AMD. ®

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