GPU Shipments Skyrocketed In Q1 2021 Amid Red Hot PC Demand

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Discrete graphics cards are hard to find on the retail market, as current-generation NVIDIA GeForce and AMD Radeon graphics cards are perennially out of stock. However, new analysis from Jon Peddie Research (JPR) shows that despite the supply shortfalls that infuriate gaming enthusiasts, shipments are up year-over-year.

According to the firm, overall GPU shipments ballooned by nearly 35 percent during Q1 2021 compared to Q1 2020. However, while the growth compared to the same quarter was quite remarkable, overall GPU unit shipments decreased slightly (0.3 percent) compared to Q4 2020, according to the report (which is the usual seasonal shift).

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Overall GPU market share according to JPR.

When it comes to overall GPU market share, which includes processors from AMD and Intel with integrated graphics, Intel led the market with a 68.18 percent share during Q1 2021. AMD was in second place with a 16.65 percent share, and NVIDIA rounded out the top three with 15.17 percent. The fact that NVIDIA is nipping at AMD's heels when it only sells discrete GPUs is quite telling concerning its graphics dominance.

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Discrete GPU market share.

The commanding lead in graphics is even more apparent when you look solely at discrete graphics. During Q1 2021, NVIDIA commanded a whopping 81 percent of the discrete GPU market, with AMD capturing the remaining 19 percent. Intel, of course, is not yet a significant player in this space. The company launched its discrete DG1 in limited quantities during Q1 2021, but Intel is expected to make a bigger splash later this year (or most likely, in 2022) with the Xe-HPG DG2 discrete gaming GPU.

Despite the chip shortages and resulting demand, JPR cautions against an industry overreaction to current market conditions. "The risk is that semiconductor suppliers will be lured into over-reaction and believe that suddenly 100s of millions of new users have appeared and the demand will stay high," said JPR President Jon Peddie. "That's not only not realistic, it's also not true—where are they coming from—not this planet?"

Things are currently so bad in the GPU market that entry-level cards like the GeForce RTX 3060 are presently selling at triple its MSRP on the secondary market. For example, the GeForce RTX 3080, which carries an MSRP of $699, regularly sells for over $2,000. The GeForce RTX 3090, however, can easily top $3,000 on marketplaces like eBay against an MSRP of $1,499. Unfortunately, the situation isn't much better for AMD Radeon RX 6000 Series discrete graphics cards.