You'd never know we were in a worldwide recession by looking at the GPU market. According to numbers just released by Jon Peddie Research, the estimated number of GPUs shipped during the third quarter (Q3) of 2008 represent the "largest increase in quarter to quarter shipments in six years." In Q3, over 111 million GPUs shipped, which is a 17.8-percent jump from the second quarter (Q2) of 2008. In Q3 of 2007, 91 million GPUs shipped.
Of the 111 million GPUs shipped in Q3, 61.9 million of them were classified as desktop GPUs. Interestingly, Jon Peddie Redearch reports that over one-third of systems currently shipping include more than one GPU. This does not necessarily mean, however, that over one-third of all systems use SLI or CrossFireX. A large number of these multi-GPU systems might very well be systems that come with a GPU integrated into the motherboard that is not being actively used, but instead use a higher-end discrete graphics card added by the system manufacturer. Desktop GPUs experienced a modest 4.7-percent growth in Q3 from Q2.
| Credit: Jon Peddie Research|
Notebooks, on the other hand, saw a huge 40-percent jump from Q2 to Q3. The 49.4 million mobile GPUs shipped in Q3, represent 44.4-percent of the GPU market. At this rate, the number of mobile GPUs shipped will quickly outpace desktop GPUs. It is important to remember, however, that mobile GPUs (or "notebook GPUs" as Jon Peddie Research calls them) are not necessarily destined just for notebooks. Many mobile GPUs are used in all-in-one and small-form-factor desktop PCs. Also, the burgeoning nettop market tends to use low-cost, mobile GPUs in its nettop desktop designs as well.
This big winner this quarter was Intel, with 49.4 percent of the GPU market. Second place goes to Nvidia with 27.8 percent, and third place to AMD with 22.9 percent. SiS and VIA/S3 each have just over one percent; while Matrox has only a lowly 0.10 percent of the market. While Intel has the lion's share of the market, it was AMD that saw the biggest growth from Q2 to Q3, at 33.8 percent.
This quarter's picture, however, is very different from how things looked just a year ago, when Nvidia had the largest market share at 36.4 percent. Intel was right behind with 30.3 percent, though, and with a staggering 81.4-percent jump in growth from 2007 to 2008, it is not surprising that Intel took the lead. In that same time period, Nvidia's market share actually dropped 6.4 percent, while AMD grew by 22.8 percent. While Nvidia (30.93 million) still has a larger portion of the GPU market than AMD (22.9 million), AMD is starting to catch up.
| Credit: Jon Peddie Research|
"The third quarter is seasonally up as OEMs place orders for chips to build inventory for the holiday season. However, this quarter was up more than any other for some time, and in spite of suggestions of a recession that started last Q4. Desktops increased seasonally and notebooks enjoyed quite significant gains." -- Dr. Jon Peddie, president of Jon Peddie Research
Peddie warns, however, that Q4 might look quite different. He states that with no new GPU releases expected from Intel, Nvidia, or AMD for the rest of the year, and industry-wide belt-tightening going on, we might not see any significant growth in the GPU market in Q4.