The tide has turned?
This hasn't been a good week for NVIDIA. Between losing a court battle with Rambus and being replaced by AMD as the graphics provider of choice for Apple desktops, company execs were probably just hoping to get to the weekend in one piece. No such luck, though, as Mercury Research has announced in its quarterly report (courtesy of CNET) that the GeForce-maker has fallen behind its closest rival in terms of discrete GPU shipments.
The figures suggest that AMD managed to grab 24.5 percent of the total graphics market for the second quarter of this year, compared to 19.8 percent for NVIDIA. This is a huge role-reversal compared to the same quarter in 2009, when the companies held 18.2 percent and 29.6 percent, respectively. Of course, the real winner remains Intel, whose integrated graphics-chips captured 54.3 percent of the total market.
Talking specifics, the research indicates that AMD's share of the discrete (add-in) market, dominated by two players, was 51 percent, whereas NVIDIA slumped to 49 per cent. Compare this with 41 percent and 59 percent share, respectively, a year ago.
Bear in mind that these stats might be a little skewed since NVIDIA's latest graphics cards weren't widely available until part of the way into the third-quarter. Even though the GeForce GTX 470 and GTX 480 ‘launched' at the end of March, supplies were quite thin on the ground until some time later. Even taking this into account, though, it's still quite a blow for the manufacturer, and a pretty big win for AMD/ATI. Prior to the release of the Radeon 4000 series, the company was struggling to stay competitive, but has seen a massive resurgence over the past few years.
However, more interesting results will be for the next quarter. The initial rush for the latest technology has passed and both manufacturers now have a fair range of cards on the market. Numbers going into the second-half of this year should give a much better idea of the actual balance of power.