New figures show Nvidia leaving AMD in the dust with graphics card sales

Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080
Image Credit: TechRadar

Nvidia has grabbed a further chunk of market share from AMD in the world of graphics cards, and now dominates the discrete GPU arena by having sold more than four cards for every one of its rival’s sales.

This is according to the latest add-in board (i.e. discrete graphics cards for desktop PCs) report from Jon Peddie Research, which gives us figures for the global shipment of GPUs in the last quarter of 2018.

The analyst firm pegged Nvidia’s Q4 2018 market share as 81.2%, with AMD taking the rest and dropping to 18.8%. That’s a sizeable shift compared to the previous quarter, when Nvidia owned 74.3% of the market.

And it’s an even bigger tilt when you consider the previous year, because in Q4 2017, Nvidia had a 66.3% share of the desktop graphics card market, with AMD on 33.7%.

The total value of shipments for the quarter was over $2.8 billion (around £2.1 billion, AU$4 billion), and the overall picture wasn’t good news for either GPU maker, given that the total volume of shipments dropped by 10.7% compared to Q3, and slumped a colossal 40.2% year-on-year. You can blame this on the collapse in demand for crypto-mining GPUs, Jon Peddie noted.

AMD in trouble?

Seeing Nvidia jump to over an 80% market share might seem surprising to those of you who have been following the GPU world of late, given that we’ve heard a fair bit of negativity concerning the company recently.

That included Nvidia’s revenue dipping to the lowest level since mid-2017, and the admission that “certain high-end GPUs” from its new Turing range of (RTX) graphics cards hadn’t sold as well as anticipated (which was part of the reason for that revenue slump).

But remember that this is indeed reflected in the total shipment volume, which has dropped by over 10% since the previous quarter.

The tilt in market share towards Nvidia just shows that within this overall gloomy picture, AMD still did worse. Which, of course, is worrying news for the Radeon GPU maker.

Perhaps, then, while higher-end Turing models (i.e. RTX 2080 and Ti) haven’t done so well, the RTX 2070 actually managed to do okay in the tail-end of last year? (Remember, the RTX 2060 wasn’t out in the time period this report pertains to, and only emerged at the start of 2019).

And indeed, perhaps folks are getting overly impatient with AMD’s new Navi GPUs not being on the near-horizon (though several rumors have claimed they could be launching in July), and the freshly launched Radeon VII just isn’t enough (given that it’s priced at around $800 or £650 currently, so is a pretty wallet-damaging GPU).

Matters could get worse for AMD, too, in the next quarter, as Nvidia has now unleashed a new much cheaper Turing offering in the form of the GeForce GTX 1660 Ti (which drops the ray tracing tech the RTX cards offer, in order to achieve a much more affordable price tag). Furthermore, more even cheaper Turing offerings are expected to follow imminently.

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).