Market analysts at Jon Peddie Research (opens in new tab) have published their latest quarterly figures for graphics card shipments, and concluded that sales of discrete add-in graphics cards were down 3.5% in the last three months of 2011 compared to the same period of 2010.
It's not all bad news though. Overall sales of graphics processors, including Intel's Sandy Bridge hybrid CPUs and AMD's Fusion APUs, were up by 8.9% to 124million units compared to the previous year, apparently. Sales of PCs in general rose by around 1.8% by the same metric.
The big winner as far as graphics go was Intel, with a 7% rise in market share. That's no doubt due to the fact that a lot of laptops can rely on semi-decent on-processor graphics now, however, and possibly even tied in to the launch of Ultrabooks – although I don't think many of those sold in the run up to Christmas. AMD got hammered in notebooks as a result, bit apparently put on 44.8% more desktop sales to make up for it – not a bad achievement at all. Even NVIDIA's poor performance, down 7%, can be attributed to the fact that it's pulled out of the integrated graphics market, according to JPR. As hybrid chips get better, however, that doesn't bode well for NVIDIA in the future.
Generally speaking, though, there's quite a bit in the report to smile about. PC sales are up, and high end boards still seem to be selling well. The interesting stat comes in the middle of the release, talking about numbers of graphics processors per PC. “The average has grown from 115% in 2001 to almost 150% GPUs per PC,” says the report, which means there's an awful lot of PC and laptop buyers who aren't settling for Sandy Bridge or Fusion graphics still, and want the extra performance of a discrete card.
It's next quarter's sales figures which will be really interesting, though. With AMD's HD7000 series launching so late in the year, it's possible people held off upgrading before Christmas.