AMD’s Big Navi cards are holding their own – but Nvidia is still way ahead in the GPU race

Nvidia GPU
(Image credit: Nvidia)

A new report shows Nvidia remaining dominant in the world of discrete graphics cards, although Team Green hasn’t actually pulled away any further from AMD since ratcheting up its game in Q2 of last year.

The latest stats on the GPU market from Jon Peddie Research (as flagged up by Tom’s Hardware) indicate that Nvidia has a market share of 81% as of Q1 2021, leaving AMD on 19% (note Intel does now have some discrete laptop Xe GPUs, but these are apparently reported as integrated graphics solutions, not standalone).

Year-on-year, Nvidia has increased its market share by 6%, seeing as it was on 75% in Q1 2020. However, most of that gain happened in Q2 2020 – the very next quarter – where Nvidia reached 80%, before maintaining that, and resting on 82% at the end of 2020. So now Nvidia is on 81%, it actually slipped a percentage point quarter-on-quarter.

In short, the GPU market has pretty much remained unchanged since Q2 2020, although that doesn’t alter the fact that Nvidia is still well in the lead.

Strong surge

Away from that comparison, overall graphics card sales are up (again), and that’s no surprise due to the pandemic causing a surge of PC (and related component) sales. Total GPU sales (integrated and discrete) increased by almost 39% year-on-year, a huge leap, hitting 119 million units – and discrete graphics card sales reached 11.77 million units, up from 11 million units the previous quarter.

Looking at the market share breakdown for overall GPUs, Intel is king by a long way thanks to the integrated graphics in the laptops which represent the majority of PC sales (and where Intel CPUs still very much dominate). Intel holds a 68.2% market share here, with AMD on 16.6% and Nvidia on 15.2%.

As for discrete graphics cards, it surely hasn’t escaped your attention that there are major ongoing supply issues on the manufacturing side, and if demand for new Ampere and Big Navi GPUs could have been met by Nvidia and AMD respectively, overall sales would have spiked even more, no doubt.

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).