Nvidia beats AMD even without Fermi -

Updates to this story

Peddler of graphics predictions, Jon Peddie, has released his report on estimated graphics chip shipments and suppliers' market shares for Q4'09, claiming it to be a bumper quarter with a whopping 14 per cent year to year growth, despite the crippling credit crunch.

Peddie reckons shipments were above anyone’s expectations in Q4, although the only clear winner on the graphics front appears to be graphically challenged Intel, tearing up the integrated space, with both Nvidia and AMD getting a taste of the bittersweet in both discrete and IGP offerings.

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Looking at the numbers alone, Nvidia’s market share seems to have declined YoY from a healthy 30.6 per cent to a rather more anemic 24.3 per cent. But Peddie says “Nvidia's increases came primarily in desktop discretes, while slipping in desktop and notebook integrated,” which is surprising seeing as AMD are supposed to have the ‘superior’ discrete option with their DX11 capable 5000 series.

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AMD, meanwhile, gained a bit of share in the integrated segment, “but lost some market share in discrete in both the desktop and notebook segments due to constraints in 40nm supply.”

Again, this is bizarre, as Nvidia has had the same supply issues as AMD owing to TSMC’s dodgy ramp-age, and has a currently inferior discrete product than its competitor while it waits for TSMC to get its act together and bung Fermi together, so this must really sting for AMD who has lost out to the green queen in market share yet again.

It seems the Radeon HD 5870, HD 5850, HD 5770, HD 5750 and even the almighty HD 5970 were just not enough – or simply just not in enough supply – to tempt punters away from the more widely available 55nm offerings from Nvidia, and that’s even with the temptations of EyeFinity and DX11. Perhaps people don’t care about flashy features as much as AMD thinks they should.

Meanwhile, an Nvidia spokesman told TechEye that whilst the YoY percentages looked a bit grim, owing to losses in the notebook discrete market share, Nvidia was already starting to win it back.  

“And it’s equally known that Intel has grown share, largely on the strength of netbook sales,” he added.  

He went on to say that the recession had put the entire graphics market “into shock last year, so it’s hard to derive real long-term trends from the data.”  

That said, our source does believe discrete attach rates will go up this year – as there are already clear signs of them improving. Indeed, the whole graphics market seems to be improving when we compare 2009’s 14 per cent growth to 2008’s measly six per cent. 

“Our desktop discrete share has been relatively stable, and we’re now on the verge of a new product cycle, which should impact share positively,” concluded Nvidia’s spinner, although, Fermi be damned, Nvidia seems to be fending AMD off just fine even with its old tat.

Meanwhile, AMD was doing its best to remain optimistic about the results, with spokesman Dave Erskine telling TechEye “our graphics market share is up year over year. Not only has our overall graphics unit volume nearly doubled in that period of time, we achieved a 40% increase in graphics revenue quarter to quarter.” 

“The continued strong demand for ATI Radeon HD 5000 products and a record-setting quarter for ATI Mobility Radeon units shipped are strong indicators that our focus on technology leadership and innovation continues to be an effective strategy,” he added.

Not as effective as Nvidia’s ‘sit-tight and look pretty’ strategy, though, eh?