ATI appears to be winning back the marketshare it has lost to its arch-rival, Nvidia, over the last year or so.
According to the latest stats from market watcher Mercury Research, ATI's share of the desktop PC graphics business grew six per cent during the second quarter. By contrast, Nvidia's share fell 13 per cent.
Mercury's numbers put ATI on 27 per cent, up from 21 per cent in Q1. Nvidia still dominates the market, thanks to a 53 per cent share, down from 66 per cent in Q1. Matrox came third, with a meagre eight per cent of the market. But, unlike Nvidia, it managed to grow sales during Q2, albeit by just one percentage point.
Mercury Research blames Nvidia's fall on the company's own Q2 price increases, which led not only to reduced sales during that quarter, but better sales in Q1 after buyers got wind of the increases to come.
The figures also suggest that higher margin high-end parts weren't what the market wanted during Q2, and powerful but cheaper mid-range parts, such as ATI's Radeon, were the order of the day.
ATI is hoping that will change a little in the coming months as it ships its long-awaited response to Nvidia's high end GeForce 3, the Radeon 8500 (aka R200). However, ATI hasn't ignored the mid-range, and has released the Radeon 7500 to shore up its position there.
Nvidia can take some consolation from Gartner Dataquest's latest figures, which show it leading the workstation graphics market with a 32 per cent share (46 per cent, if you only consider x86-based machines).
It had better watch out - ATI is getting aggressive in this arena too, leveraging the FireGL brand it bought off SonicBlue and the R200 chip, brought together as the FireGL 8800 card, announced this morning. ATI is also taking the fight to Nvidia in the chipset market with its own Pentium 4 offering to rival Nvidia's AMD Athlon-based nForce part. ®
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