In this industry, the rule of “second generation” is the one that always work. And if you’re lucky, you’ll continue the sales tradition for 2-3 generations, if your competitor does not make “1-2”.
In case of ATI, the company struck gold with Radeon 9700 (R300 GPU), but the company sold 9800 and X800 like hotcakes. Nvidia came out with GeForce 6800 at X800 time and didn’t achieve the success the company expected, but 7800, 7900 and 8800 scored majorly. ATI came out with 3800 and did rather well, but GeForce 9000 outsold ATI parts. Now with Radeon 4000 series, AMD/ATI scored big with the “second generation” rule. And it didn’t stop there – AMD offered the same generation hardware to low-end, mainstream and high-end, while Nvidia royally screwed up themselves with no GT200 variants coming in $199 and $99 bracket.
For the first time in years, Nvidia did not release same-generation low-end/mainstream parts (remember GeForce 6600, 7600, 8600, 9600?) and that move is now costing them dearly.
According to my short-term boss, Jon Peddie at Jon Peddie Research, Q3’08 was market with big victory for guys from Markham, Marlborough and Santa Clara.
In Q3’08, a grand total of 111 million GPUs were shipped, 21 million (22.5% jump) more than in Q3 of last year and 18% gain from Q2’08. It proves that Windows Vista still generated the “thirsty for graphics” sales effect both Nvidia and ATI preached about. If you recall, Microsoft stopped legal sales of Windows XP end of June, and vast majority of computers shipped in Q3 had “real” graphics.
Overall, Intel now has 49.4% of the market. AMD grew to 20.6%, while Nvidia lost couple percents and now has 27.8%. JPR analysis also proved that notebooks are also on the way to overtake desktop sales, since they make for 49.4M of 111M overall sales.
BTW, don’t believe recession talk. Both Intel and AMD scored big results while Wall Street melted, and I would expect that strong sales will continue in Q4. Because when times are tough, people will stay inside house and play games, watch movies etc. No better time than to buy a new graphics chip.