Gaming GPUs Are Gaining Traction, But Mainstream GPUs Are Still Strong

In our overview of Q2 2016, we mentioned that shipments of higher-end graphics processors were growing, whereas sales of mainstream GPUs were declining in the recent years as a result of major improvements of AMD’s integrated graphics and Intel’s iGPUs. In particular, sales of enthusiast-class adapters hit 5.9 million units in 2015, which was a record. This year is not that good for expensive graphics cards, but shipments of gaming-grade desktop GPUs are still very high.

Sales of enthusiast-class desktop AIBs in Q3 2016 were considerably lower than sales of enthusiast-class standalone desktop GPUs in the same period a year ago. Nonetheless, we are still talking about around ~1.5 million units, which seems to be higher than what we have seen historically. Moreover, since JPR considers everything that costs between $250 and $900 as “enthusiast”, it is obvious that unit shipments do not necessarily reflect revenues earned by AMD and NVIDIA. Moreover, since AMD and NVIDIA officially sell the Radeon RX 480 and the GeForce GTX 1060 for $249 and demand for these products (which performance is on par with much more expensive predecessors) was probably very high during the quarter, it is likely that some of the “enthusiast” buyers were classified as “performance” ($249 and below) buyers in Q3 2016.

Fall 2016 GPU Pricing Comparison
Market Segment AMD Price NVIDIA
$250 - $900
  $1200 TITAN X (Pascal)
  $599 GeForce GTX 1080
  $379 GeForce GTX 1070
$100 - $249
Radeon RX 480 (8GB) $249 GeForce GTX 1060 6GB
Radeon RX 480 (4GB) $229  
Radeon RX 470 $199 GeForce GTX 1060 3GB
  $139 GeForce GTX 1050 Ti
Radeon RX 460 (4GB) $119  
Radeon RX 460 (2GB) $109 GeForce GTX 1050
No New GPUs <$100 No New GPUs

Despite the fact that shipments of higher-end standalone video cards dropped year-over-year (YoY) in the third quarter, gaming-grade graphics adapters (enthusiast + performance) hit around seven million units. The industry still supplied over five million of mainstream boards in Q3, which is quite a lot. Nonetheless, performance and enthusiast-class desktop AIBs have been outselling mainstream graphics cards for five consecutive quarters now.

Q3 2016: Good for GPUs, Mediocre for PCs AMD: Polaris Now Accounts for 50% of Channel GPU Revenue
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  • timbotim - Monday, November 28, 2016 - link

    “Everybody that is effectively born in the last 10-15 years [is] likely to be a gamer.”

    Gotta be up there with "640k" and "there is a world market for maybe 5 computers".
  • TristanSDX - Monday, November 28, 2016 - link

    Great article
  • beginner99 - Tuesday, November 29, 2016 - link

    And another couple of graphs clearly showing naive gamers getting ripped of by NV selling mid-range at flagship prices.
  • just4U - Friday, December 2, 2016 - link

    I recall paying 400 for a Creative Geforce2 and (cough..) 870 for a Asus Geforce3 so... Prices have remained steady thru the years. Every once in awhile AMD/ATI throws a monkey wrench into Nvidia's pricing by releasing really great cards at the high Mid range price though.. and that temporarily changes things. Nvidia did it once with their 460s as well.
  • T1beriu - Tuesday, November 29, 2016 - link

    I guess you missed the AMD memo a month ago for lowering the prices of 460 and 470. The MSRP for the 460 2GB is $99 and for 470 4GB is $179.
  • vladx - Wednesday, December 7, 2016 - link

    Too bad real actual prices don't reflect MSRP ones.
  • mikelanding - Tuesday, November 29, 2016 - link

    This article and study failed to mention that AMD sale are up might be due to RX series card are most efficient for Cryptocurrencies mining like Ethereum, Zcash and Monero. Miners are buying RX series card in large quantity. I myself had many rigs (1 rigs = 6 RX series cards) doing just mining.
  • BrokenCrayons - Tuesday, November 29, 2016 - link

    I'm not into the crypto currency thing at all, but I've heard from multiple sources that CPU and GPU mining is too inefficient. Much of the mining workload has shifted to custom ASICs that offer better performance for lower prices and less power consumption.
  • TheinsanegamerN - Tuesday, November 29, 2016 - link

    For bitcoin, yes. For many other alt-coins, GPU is still king o the hill.
  • colonelclaw - Thursday, December 1, 2016 - link

    Well done to Nvidia and AMD etc. etc.
    Now, is there any chance you drop your bloody prices?

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