PC-based GPU shipments increased by 29 percent annual in Q4 2020

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AMD launching Radeon RX 6700 XT GPU this month, restocking older graphic cards
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Personal computer-based GPU shipments rose by 29.1 percent year-over-year in the fourth quarter of 2020, reports Jon Peddie Research. The organization found Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), Intel, and Nvidia dominated the sector’s integrated and discrete graphics card segments.

Jon Peddie Research determined the global marketplace’s behavior last period had been distorted by COVID-19 and the cryptocurrency boom.

Market Leaders for Overall and Discrete GPU Shipments

Intel represented 69 percent of the PC GPU market in the last three months of 2020, which includes integrated, discrete, desktop, notebook, and workstation segments. The corporation’s shipments expanded 33.2 percent annually, the most growth any graphics card provider enjoyed in Q4.

The firm’s successes are likely due to its large client base of PC-focused OEMs. Its computing hardware and x86 instruction sets are ubiquitous, its domination of the segment is unsurprising. Jon Peddie Research indicated Intel’s double-digit growth is due to its products facilitating pandemic-related work-from-home transitions.

AMD increased its graphics card shipments by 6.4 percent in Q4, but its share of the market declined by 2.2 percent. Its performance during the period reflects its inability to meet demand because of the global chip shortage. It recently announced plans to make more parts available through its website to address the situation. But with its foundry partners working to put out as many automotive components as possible, its hands are tied.

Nvidia’s GPU sales fell by 7.3 percent, and its market presence contracted by 4.37 percent last period. Like AMD, the corporation struggled to make its PC products available recently due to the semiconductor shortfall.

AMD and Nvidia’s drop-offs highlight a big problem with the fabless chipmaker business model. Although outsourcing production provides significant overhead savings, it can be problematic in other areas. In the last few months, both companies saw their GPU import costs rise and their delivery times skyrocket.

Lacking in-house production capacity, the firms have few options to mitigate those disruptions and growth has been affected. On the other hand, Intel has expanded in that sphere because it maintains its own fabs.

Discrete GPU Demand Affected by Cryptocurrency Boom

Jon Peddie Research noted the discrete graphics card segment had a very different composition than the wider marketplace in Q4.

The organization found Nvidia grew its presence within the space by 9 percent year-over-year, representing 82 percent of the field. Simultaneously, AMD’s footprint within the segment shrank 9 percent from Q4 2019. Intel did not place in the chart because it only started selling discrete GPUs again in January.

The shift likely occurred because Nvidia’s products, intended to enhance gaming experiences, could optimize Ethereum mining. That characteristic prompted a demand surge in the last quarter, which exacerbated the effects of the semiconductor scarcity. The chipmaker addressed the situation by lowering the hashrate of its components via a software update and launching a new line of cryptocurrency-focused graphics cards.

Market watchers expect Ethereum’s value to sharply increase in the near-term because of an upcoming blockchain update. That development could drive sales of Nvidia and AMD’s products in the current period. However, Jon Peddie Research stated the forthcoming rollout of Ethereum 2.0 would end the cryptocurrency sector’s interest in GPUs.

Ultimately, that development and the end of the global chip shortage will stabilize the availability of PC-based CPUs. However, the uncertain timing of those events means the segment’s growth or contraction in Q1 2021 is difficult to predict.

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