5 Replies Latest reply on Dec 7, 2016 8:04 AM by black_zion

    GPU sales surged in 2016 on strong demand for high-end desktop, laptop gaming


      After Nvidia’s record-breaking quarter earlier this month, it was clear that the overall gaming market had to be in fairly good shape. New data confirms this trend, both relative to the previous quarter and the same period a year ago. No matter where you look, overall gaming shipments are up — but the gains from those improvements aren’t being spread equally between AMD and Nvidia.

      This new information is courtesy of John Peddie Research and has been extensively discussed by Anandtech. First, the general market news — gaming GPU sales have rebounded to an estimated 13 million unit shipments between AMD and Nvidia, with AMD accounting for roughly 3.8 million units compared to Nvidia’s estimated 9.25 million units. That’s the best quarterly performance since 2013 and it arrives while the rest of the PC industry continues to contract. Clearly there’s some truth to the argument that gaming and other high-end boutique products have become the success story of the PC business. It also explains why we’ve seen so many firms trying to push into high-end machines as opposed to refreshing mass market hardware.


      JPR also reports that sales of mainstream cards are dropping off compared to higher-end equipment. This has always been expected to some degree, since steady improvements to APU hardware inevitably obviates the graphics cards that used to compete in that space. AMD and Nvidia both refreshed their $100 segments in 2016, but it wouldn’t surprise us if both companies eventually transition to focusing on the $150 and up segment.

      One of the most interesting aspects of this report is AMD’s GPU shipments by quarter from 2009 to the present day.




      AMD’s unit shipments held fairly steady throughout 2013 but declined sharply thereafter. In Q1 2014, AMD shipped 4.9 million GPUs. In Q2 2015, the company bottomed out at 1.69 million GPUs, a decline of 66%. In February 2014, we worried that the surge in cryptocurrency mining could have catastrophic consequences for AMD’s GPU market share, and in retrospect, that’s precisely what happened.

      For those of you who don’t recall: In 2013, cryptocurrency mining and rampant speculation sent GPU prices skyrocketing, just as AMD launched its new Hawaii refresh. This situation took months to settle down, kneecapping AMD’s ability to seed GPUs into the market. GPUs that should have sold for $300 were hitting $500, while $500 cards were up to nearly $1000. While this might have been a price that cryptocurrency miners were willing to pay, the gaming market wasn’t — and since AMD wasn’t behind the increased prices, the company didn’t log any increased revenue off the gouging.


      AMD is picking up its own increased revenue thanks to the Xbox One S and PlayStation 4 Pro refresh cycles, but it makes relatively low margins on its console business due to how it structured its royalty payments from Microsoft and Sony. AMD’s total CPU and GPU business revenue (Computing and Graphics) segment was $472 million in Q3 2016. Five years ago, AMD recorded Q3 2011 CPU and APU sales of $1.286 billion, while graphics accounted for $403 million. In other words: AMD’s combined CPU and GPU business, not counting its console revenue, is just 27% the size it was five years ago. We’re glad to see the GPU side of the PC business recovering, but AMD has yet to unveil more information about its Vega launch plans beyond stating it will launch the architecture in the first half of 2017, and right now, high-end gamers are clearly snapping up Pascal hardware, not waiting around to see what AMD can build.


      ARTICLE > GPU sales surged in 2016 on strong demand for high-end desktop, laptop gaming - ExtremeTech

        • Re: GPU sales surged in 2016 on strong demand for high-end desktop, laptop gaming

          As I said months ago, AMD shot itself in the foot by not releasing a high end competitor to Nvidia's pascal architecture this year. Even if it wasn't quite up to par with a GTX 1080, it leaves the AMD high end loyalists which are generally the most vocal supporters of AMD products on tech sites with nothing to spend their money on, thus nothing to talk about technologically in retort to fans of current releases by their competitor. There was nothing to talk about on AMD's side of the fence, aside from the RX480, which is most definitely not a high end offering, a great card for the mid range, but not for the tech enthusiast in the slightest.


          This led to many AMD loyalists being put in a position to upgrade to Nvidia or not upgrade at all and they decided to upgrade and did it it in the droves. Now, although the RX480 was a fantastic seller for AMD and helped them gain the mid range market share back, if AMD at least offered something as a counter measure on the high end, they would have seen even more growth this year.


          It always boggled my mind that AMD never took into account that sales of the R9 290/X were quite substantial for their time due to their general amazing performance as driver support matured for them. Enthusiasts took notice and they eventually became a go to card for the enthusiast grade consumer. Hell, the Hawaii family series eventually not only out performed the GTX 780/ti, but can at times when overclocked by an experienced overclocker, match the GTX 970/980 which were released the next year in late 2014. Mighty impressive to say the least.


          Yet generally speaking, even then the maximum upgrade time for an enthusiast is three years, no more, which brings us to 2016 with nothing to offer them.


          Considering the R9 290/X, out performs the RX 480 by a substantial margin and is only slightly outclassed by the refreshed R9 390/X with its 8GB of Vram and nothing more, there's only one other series to consider and that's the Fury/X series. Yet, although most definitely outclasses the R9 290/X on every technological point, as does the Nano, its previous and current price point simply doesn't equate to what is offered overall.


          Although the Fury/X series is an amazing leap in technology on many fronts, in comparison to the GTX 1080's raw power, it simply doesn't compete, even on a price to performance ratio. That combined with the Fury/X series limited overclocking potential and you have a tech enthusiasts nightmare. Otherwise, I believe that it could have been a true consideration for many ready to upgrade if priced accordingly and there was more overclocking headroom, even if it was a temporary upgrade until Vega released.


          It's a shame that AMD didn't release an 8GB HBM variant, which contained a refresh of the fiji GPU for 2016, because I honestly feel that would have drove sales quite a bit. 512GB/s Bandwidth aside, when the Fury/X launched with only 4GB of video memory, I truly feel it hurt it sales considerably. Although the substantial bandwidth offered by HBM can compensate for the lack of video ram volumetrically, it can't compensate for the perceived lack of video ram that it expresses to the general uninformed public. I could be wrong, but I truly think if there was a Fiji refresh as explained above, it would have been received by the consumer in a good light and drove sales.


          Either way, it's good to see AMD increasing their market share, but I feel there was a missed opportunity to extend that growth even farther. Hopefully AMD releases substantial information on Vega that creates a serious industry buzz at the New Horizon event on the 13th of this month. Then perhaps it will satiate those awaiting a high end upgrade and intending on doing so this Holiday season. Perhaps, if enough information is presented, consumers will consider awaiting an upgrade until its arrival and then they'll see substantial growth that transcends these 2016 numbers presented above in 2017 by a vast margin.


          Vega can't arrive soon enough and neither can Zen.

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            • Re: GPU sales surged in 2016 on strong demand for high-end desktop, laptop gaming

              I'm one of those people stuck in limbo waiting for a high-end card. I've got $1200 sitting in my closet driving me nuts. My HD 7970's are feeling old. Been with AMD since 1996. Never owned a Nvidia card. There's a lot of talk about the upcoming Vega and the release of the GTX 1080ti. But there are other things to consider when your buying a powerhouse GPU. It's nice to have a shiny new card but without the proper drivers and software it useless. Plus how much support the game developers give to AMD or Nvidia. And right now I think Nvidia has the edge on all 3. Yes, I know they have driver issues too. But they seem to get them worked out a lot faster in most cases. And lets face it. Somebody buying a $1000+ card is going to do a lot more research than someone spending $150. That could be a deciding factor on which company to go with. AMD is going to have to pull something big out of their hats with the release of Vega to get my money. And not just a good piece of hardware.

              Just going off topic here for a second. Just pure speculation on my part. What if Vega and Zen fail and AMD is forced to leave the market as black_zion                suggests. Do you think Intel might step in with a line of discreet graphics cards? As stated in the above comments better APU's have made the need for lower end cards less and less important. Would Intel take the leap with the departure of one of the two major GPU developers?

                • Re: GPU sales surged in 2016 on strong demand for high-end desktop, laptop gaming

                  AMD won't leave the market, at worst they'll be forced to sell out to another company (probably Chinese, as they've been buying everything American lately, RIP Newegg, Smithfield, and Vizio.) I doubt they'll carve them up, so Intel won't get Radeon. I am still surprised Intel didn't buy nVidia at about the same time AMD bought ATI...

                    • Re: GPU sales surged in 2016 on strong demand for high-end desktop, laptop gaming

                      Intel has reportedly signed a deal with AMD to license Radeon graphics

                      "HardOCP's Kyle Bennett this past May published an editorial in which he painted a rather bleak picture of the happenings inside AMD’s walls. Specifically, Bennett – based on conversations with a number of current (at the time) and former employees – said Raja Koduri, leader of the Radeon Technologies Group (RTG), wanted to spin off from the rest of AMD and once again become “ATI.” Key to realizing this goal was to become the GPU technology supplier of choice for arch rival Intel."

                      Intel said a month earlier that it was cutting 12,000 jobs due to the continued downturn in the PC industry. Bennett reported that well over 1,000 graphics engineers and employees working directly with graphics engineers were let go in anticipation of Intel handing over graphics-related tasks to AMD.

                      Fast-forward more than six months to late Monday evening where Bennett proclaims in the HardOCP forum that the licensing deal between AMD and Intel to put AMD’s GPU technology into Intel’s iGPU is signed and done.

                      Intel has reportedly signed a deal with AMD to license Radeon graphics - TechSpot

                        • Re: GPU sales surged in 2016 on strong demand for high-end desktop, laptop gaming

                          I saw that months ago when it was announced but I didn't believe, and still don't believe, it'll turn Intel HD Graphics into Radeon graphics, else why would anyone use AMD APUs when Intel's would carry the same GPU power as well as much improved performance and lower power consumption (especially considering Intel basically gives them away to OEMs to keep AMD chips out)? My thinking is along the line of Forbes' that it is some kind of patent license deal, possibly related to HSA.