Nvidia The Standout Winner In Q3; AMD APU Sales Slump 30%

Numbers from Jon Peddie Research on the current state of the graphics market point to Nvidia as the big winner of Q3 2012, against both Intel and AMD. Intel's share of desktop and notebook sales both dropped roughly 8%, while AMD took a much smaller hit in desktops (2%) and a far greater hit in notebooks, sliding a whopping 17%.

For Sunnyvale, the bad news doesn't stop there. JPR reports that quarter-on-quarter sales of desktop APUs fell 30%, notebook APUs slid 4.7%, and overall PC graphics shipments were down 10.7%. It's too early to tell if AMD's Trinity and Vishera launches have had much impact on the company's recent sales; both product families are in stock at NewEgg. The A10-5800K has hit its launch price of $189; the FX-8350 is still at $229, which is moderately higher than the $189 launch price AMD stated. AMD's "Never Settle" program and its game bundles could also give a boost to Radeon sales and help the company clear inventory.

Interestingly, Intel has moved to integrated GPUs much more quickly than AMD. 99% of non-server (Xeon) Intel parts now ship with integrated graphics, compared to just 67% of AMD processors. This implies that AMD has continued to manufacture 45nm hardware at the low-end rather than simply selling such parts until the stock of them depleted. The slow desktop Llano launch last year likely exacerbated this problem; moving customers to established 32nm products will help the company reduce manufacturing costs.

Nvidia's upward momentum has been driven by Kepler's continuing rollout in desktop and mobile SKUs. Even Kepler, however, wasn't enough to offset the decline in total unit shipments. Everyone's product shipments were down, with AMD falling 20%, Intel 14%, and even Nvidia slipping 0.5%.

Reports coming in from retail associations indicate that Black Friday sales were up 13% over last year, which could give the PC industry a much-needed Q4 boost. Consumer buying trends may have shifted towards tablets, but there are plenty of competitive deals on laptops and desktops. Overall GPU sales were down 18 million units in Q3, at 120 million, compared to 138 million the year before.

According to JPR, the number of GPUs per system has actually risen slightly as OEMs continue to bundle discrete GPUs with the integrated offerings from AMD and Intel. GPU count per-system has increased to ~1.4 GPUs per PC, up from 1.2 in 2001. JPR's results don't count Android or ARM-based tablets, which means that Tegra 3 sales aren't included in the total. x86 tablets, like Samsung's Ativ 500T, are included.