Business, Graphics

Professional GPU market still hit hard, slowly recovering


Just like in any recession, business spending is hit the hardest. In the world of IT, this means higher ASP [Average Selling Price] products such as AMD Opteron and FirePro, Intel Xeon or nVidia Quadro suffer until the commercial segment starts ordering again.

Jon Peddie Research group released a report about the commercial graphics segment, and the report brings some very interesting numbers. This time around, we saw a drop from 1.81 billion USD in Q2’08 to just 1.16 billion in Q2’09 and a drop from 867,400 to just 602,100 units [but 25,400 units more than in Q1’2009, worst quarter to date]. AMD gained market share by a significant margin thanks to their mobile line-up – it seems lack of GT200-based Quadro parts for notebooks really hurt nVidia. Then again, they don’t have anybody else to blame but themselves.

AMD’s rock solid mobile offering was the main driver behind reaching 14.4% overall market share, up from just 8.8% from Q4’08 and 6.9% a year ago. This means ATI captured 8.3% in the past 12 months, an impressive feat indeed.
However, if we look away from overall market share and check the add-in board sales [where the most money is being made anyways], we see that nVidia actually increased the market share by additional 1.2%. In Q2 2009, nVidia’s desktop market share was massive 89.4%.

This means that on every ATI FirePro or FireMV card, there are nine nVidia cards and we find this revelation quite surprising. But, AMD is nibbling away in notebook segment and the "fortress desktop" will be the one where the battle for most $$$$ will be made. Bear in mind that according to this report, average selling price of a single professional graphics unit is nothing short of staggering 1929 USD.

This of course, is not 1:1 Unit:Revenue conversion as there is a lot of things to calculate in it, but when you compare it to margins in the consumer business, you don’t need to be a prophet to see how this low-unit high-margin market has its attractiveness.