Nvidia still dominates AMD as RTX 3060 GPU becomes seriously popular

Nvidia GeForce RTX 3060 shown side-on
(Image credit: Future)

Nvidia might have taken a battering in terms of falling sales recently, but here’s some better news for Team Green: a substantial uptick in its market share, with the firm remaining by far the dominant discrete (standalone) GPU power. Furthermore, the RTX 3060 appears to be shifting a seriously healthy amount of units right now.

First up, let’s look at those market share figures from analyst firm Jon Peddie Research (JPR), as spotted by Wccftech.

The statistics for Q2 of this year show Nvidia with a 79% market share, a chunky uptick of 4% compared to Q1, with AMD falling from 24% to 20% in the same period. Intel has the remaining 1% of the market with its new Arc discrete GPUs, so Team Blue is now making very slight inroads into the desktop graphics card scene.

Compared to the same quarter last year, Nvidia finds itself pretty much in the same position: Team Green had an 80% share in Q2 2021, and now has 79%, losing that single percentage point to Intel (AMD was on 20% a year ago, and remains on 20% as noted).

Furthermore, as Eteknik flagged up, looking at the latest Steam hardware survey (for August), one GPU which seems to be gathering some serious sales momentum and helping Nvidia’s cause is the RTX 3060.

The RTX 3060 desktop graphics card is now in sixth place in the overall sales rankings for Steam gamers, with a robust 0.66% increase in August, giving it an overall market share of 3.24%. It’s narrowly behind the 3060 laptop GPU which is in fifth place on 3.39%.

So, if you add those together, you actually get 6.63%, which technically makes the RTX 3060 (both desktop and laptop) more popular than the top-ranked GTX 1060, which is on 6.6% (after experiencing a fairly hefty drop of 0.52% this month).

All of the top 10 GPUs – which are all Nvidia models – fell in popularity, in fact, except for those RTX 3060 cards, and the RTX 3070 in tenth place which ticked up a marginal 0.03%.

Analysis: Some solace for Nvidia amidst tough times

As we mentioned at the outset, Nvidia has had a rocky time with falling levels of GPU shipments of late, with softening demand compounded by an unfortunate situation whereby the firm has overproduced RTX 3000 stock.

What the stats from JPR show is that everyone is having a tough time of it, with overall discrete graphics card shipments being down 22% in comparison to the previous quarter. Nvidia can at least take some solace from clawing back its dominant position in Q2 compared to Q1, and the strong progress of the RTX 3060 is a positive sign, too.

What’s widely predicted to happen in the very near future is further price cuts for Nvidia GPUs – and AMD graphics cards too, as Team Red also wants to clear current-gen stock before next-gen products arrive later this year – and that should stoke the fires of RTX 3000 sales further.

Thus far, we’ve only seen the big discounting with the higher-end Nvidia graphics cards – the RTX 3090 and its Ti version, and the RTX 3080 Ti in particular – but price cuts are very likely to trickle down the range further. Whether or not they’ll reach as far as the RTX 3060, well, that’s unclear, and what we have to remember is that its successor, the RTX 4060, isn’t on the horizon (not yet). Whereas the RTX 4070 and upwards definitely are, at least in theory, even if the rumor mill reckons there could be something of a more pronounced staggered launch, with bigger gaps than normal between these higher-end next-gen models.

All of which is to say that the price of the RTX 3060 may not see much movement, but still, even some small drops in price tags could fire up sales of this mid-range GPU further, on top of its already apparent good progress over the past month. This graphics card could still play a key part for Nvidia even when the next-gen Lovelace launch is well underway, given that we’re not at all sure when the 4060 might arrive. And even after the 4060 does debut, the 3060 could well hang around as a lower-priced alternative (Team Green has already talked about a launch timeframe that will ‘layer’ the two generations of GPUs together).

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).