AMD has a long way to go before closing the gap with rival Nvidia on graphics card shipments, and golf has just gotten a little wider according to a new GPU shipment report. Meanwhile, Intel is still the largest GPU provider, a peculiarity of this type of reporting because virtually all CPUs sold by the company have an integrated graphics chip. They are counted, even if the consumer does not use integrated graphics.
These are the two main categories: general GPU shipments, which include PC graphics cards, embedded GPUs, console graphics chips, and discrete GPUs on laptops; and discrete GPUs, which restrict the field to PC graphics cards and discrete laptop GPUs.
In this case, AMD's share of the discrete GPU market fell to 17% in the second quarter of 2021, compared to 19% in the previous quarter and 20% over the same quarter last year, according to the latest report from Jon Peddie Research, a well – known consulting and market research company. What AMD loses, its main rival wins: Nvidia’s share in the discrete GPU market is now at 83% dominant.
The numbers align approximately with Steam Hardware Survey, which shows that the GPU split between AMD and Nvidia is 15.31% and 75.41%, respectively (Intel makes up the rest).
This is not entirely academic from a consumer point of view. Market share is important because a dominant position can influence the technologies and optimizations that developers prioritize. For example, Nvidia’s proprietary Deep Learning Super Learning Sampling (DLSS) and AMD’s open source FidelityFX Super Resolution extension techniques.
They both aim to do essentially the same thing, but they do it in very different ways, and it’s up to the developers to optimize them for one or the other (or both or none). The saving grace for AMD is that its state-of-the-art RDNA 2-based GPUs are also being rolled out to the latest gaming consoles (PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X / S), which could encourage developers to take advantage the capabilities of architecture.
It should also be noted that such breakdowns are not necessarily indicative of consumer preference and normal trends. This is because these are not normal times. The persistent shortage of GPUs means that for the most part, gamers will buy any graphics card they can get. This also makes it difficult to predict trends from what is no longer.
"Covid has distorted all prediction models in the universe, even Moore's law has been disrupted. Short-term condition-based predictions have created contradictory and distorted estimates of some sectors that will prove wrong and embarrassing, ”said Jon Peddie, president of JPR.
Normally, there would be a seasonal increase in GPU sales during the holidays. To prepare, vendors build up GPUs during the third quarter. But those strategies “will be limited until the supply chain catches up with demand,” Peddie noted.
In any case, this is how the market for discrete GPUs looks when it prepares to welcome a third player, which is Intel and its Arc line. Starting with Alchemist, Intel will officially compete with AMD and Nvidia in the discrete GPU field in 2022, and it will be interesting to see what these market share breakdowns look like in a year’s time.