AMD outpaces Nvidia graphics card sales as cryptocurrency morphs the market

AMD Vega

According to a new report on the GPU market, AMD has made good ground selling graphics cards at the expense of Nvidia, apparently making big gains from cryptocurrency miners.

The most recent add-in graphics board report from Jon Peddie Research covers the final quarter of 2017, and finds AMD making a big, 6.5% gain when it comes to the discrete GPU market (i.e. separate graphics cards, as opposed to integrated graphics).

AMD’s market share rose from 27.2% in Q3 to 33.7% in Q4, while Nvidia dropped by a corresponding amount, falling from 72.8% to 66.3%.

Perhaps as interesting as that shift was the further revelation that over three million graphics cards were sold to cryptocurrency miners during the course of 2017, accounting for revenue of $776 million (£560 million, AU$990 million).

More importantly, Jon Peddie observes that AMD was the 'primary benefactor' of those cryptocurrency-based sales.

Advantage AMD?

Digging a little deeper here, then, it appears that the huge cryptocurrency boom that kicked off late last year has been doing AMD more of a favor than Nvidia. This perhaps goes some way to explain why Nvidia has been doing more to appear to be fighting the consumer’s corner when it comes to the availability of graphics cards for gamers.

We’re talking about the recent measures aiming to prevent miners from bulk ordering graphics cards from retailers, and Nvidia’s general stance that ‘gamers come first’ regarding GPUs.

And, maybe that’s a reason more gamers will be looking to buy Nvidia graphics cards in the future, because they feel more supported by the firm than AMD. We'll see whether this pans out in the next market share study.

Although that said, the reality of buying a graphics card now is that it’s still a difficult quest to try and avoid getting massively overcharged for a decent model. Demand is that high, and supply is simultaneously constrained due to a bottleneck with video memory production – and those forces aren’t going anywhere in the near term.

The situation is likely to continue as we move forward into 2018 and probably for a good while, unless there’s a major development with cryptocurrency – i.e. the market somehow implodes. That may not be completely beyond possibility, but at this point certainly doesn’t look likely.

Meanwhile, it will definitely be interesting to see if AMD can keep on making inroads into Nvidia’s GPU territory – cryptocurrency sales or not.

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).