AMD’s graphics cards are crushing it, overtaking Nvidia for the first time in five years

(Image credit: Future)

AMD isn’t just making great strides forward with Ryzen processors, but there are also signs of big successes on the graphics card front, with the company beating Nvidia for the first time in half a decade in the overall GPU market – plus AMD has made major gains in the discrete graphics market, too.

These are the conclusions drawn by Jon Peddie Research, an analyst firm that regularly produces stats on GPU sales, and has just released reports on the overall market, as well as the state of play for discrete (standalone) graphics cards.

Let’s start with the overall picture for the second quarter of 2019, which is, as ever, dominated by Intel, seeing as this takes into account integrated graphics which the vast majority of PCs run (namely laptops).

So, Intel leads the pack with 66.9% of GPUs, a slight drop of 1.4% compared to the previous quarter (and down the exact same amount year-on-year). AMD moved up into second place on 17.2%, which is a 1.5% gain on the last quarter (and a jump of 2.4% year-on-year).

Nvidia slipped to 16% although that’s only down 0.1% on the previous quarter (but represents a drop of 1% compared to the same time last year).

So now, Nvidia is lagging behind AMD to the tune of 1.2% when all graphics solutions including integrated are taken into account. And as mentioned, according to Jon Peddie’s stats, this is the first time AMD has been ahead of Nvidia since Q2 of 2014, some five years ago.

AMD shipped 9.85% more GPUs compared to the previous quarter, Nvidia’s shipment numbers remained essentially flat, and Intel shipped 1.44% fewer GPUs.

Interestingly the overall GPU market for the PC was up 9.25% compared to the previous quarter, and witnessed a gain of almost 3.1% year-on-year.

Be discrete

Now, let’s consider discrete graphics cards – separate video boards, rather than graphics integrated into the processor – where Nvidia has reigned dominant for a long time now.

While this represents the minority of the market – according to Jon Peddie, discrete GPUs are in 27% of PCs in Q2 2019, which is actually a drop of 2% compared to the last quarter – it’s where the biggest profits are to be made (just look at the prices of high-end graphics cards, of course).

Discrete graphics card shipments actually dropped by 16.6% compared to Q1, and a hefty 39.7% year-on-year, a slump that’s most likely still tied in with the implosion of the market for crypto-mining GPUs, which is seemingly continuing to make its effects felt at least to some extent as we progress through 2019.

However, within that rather bleak picture, there was a surprising result for AMD – a big gain in market share in discrete, too.

AMD moved up to a 32.1% share of the discrete GPU market, which represents a big upward swing of nearly 10% – AMD’s share was 22.7% last quarter. Nvidia, of course, owns the rest of the market, meaning it’s currently on 67.9%.

If you rewind to as recently as Q4 2018, though, Nvidia’s discrete market share was a colossal 81.2% according to Jon Peddie. So there has been quite a shift towards AMD throughout 2019 – although to be fair, this could be regarded as something of a normalization. As if you go back to a year ago, in the Q2 2018 report, AMD held a 34.9% market share; so year-on-year, it still hasn’t quite recovered to that level.

Clearly, though, this doesn’t alter the fact that things are moving strongly in AMD’s favor in both the overall and discrete GPU markets – at least according to this analyst firm’s reports, anyway.

Worrying times for Nvidia?

So what about the reasons for AMD’s success? Competitive APUs may have helped the company in the laptop market. As for discrete, perhaps bargain basement graphics cards (like the RX 570, for example, which has seen some tempting deals in recent times) are helping drive some of this momentum, but really, this is all guesswork, and solid reasons are difficult to put a finger on.

One thing’s for sure, which is that the discrete success hasn’t been driven by Navi, as those GPUs weren’t on sale in the timeframe of Jon Peddie’s Q2 report.

Navi graphics cards didn’t launch until July in the form of the Radeon RX 5700 range, and perhaps the real worry for Nvidia is that the figures for Q3 will carry this fresh payload of pain from AMD.

Given that the crypto-mining hangover must surely be over looking to Q3, or at least reduced to tiny ripples – and the overall PC GPU market is looking healthy – we can likely expect further forward progress in terms of GPU sales. And AMD could be poised to take more of that swelling momentum with its new Navi offerings, which represent the firm striking a major blow for power and affordability.

Nvidia’s response, then, may have to be more than just new Super variants of its GeForce RTX cards, and perhaps GPU pricing will really start to heat up to the benefit of the consumer. Fingers crossed, as ever.

Via Tom’s Hardware

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).