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ATI trounces Nvidia in desktop, mobile, integrated markets

Intel still ahead of them both...

Mercury Research will today publish market data putting ATI well ahead of its arch-rival Nvidia in the graphics chip business. Both, however, are still some way behind the market leader, Intel.

Mercury's numbers put Intel's Q3 market share at 39 per cent, up a single percentage point over the previous quarter, separate well-placed industry sources told The Register. ATI came second, with 27 per cent of the market - up four per cent - while Nvidia saw its share fall eight per cent to 15 per cent.

In the standalone graphics chip segment, in which Intel is not a player, ATI took 59 per cent of the market, up from 50 per cent in Q2, while Nvidia 37 per cent, down from 46 per cent the previous quarter.

Drilling down to the mobile side of the standalone market, ATI ranked market leader, with 72 per cent of the market to Nvidia's 22 per cent, with the rest being mopped up by the likes of VIA and SiS. ATI has long stayed out front in this arena, conversely falling behind in the standalone desktop segment.

No longer. During Q3, ATI came away with 55 per cent of the market, growing its share 17 percentage points over the previous quarter. Nvidia lost 16 percentage points of market share, ending up with 42 per cent of the market. In Q2, Nvidia had 58 per cent of that market, ATI 38 per cent.

To be fair, Nvidia was able to claim a single win: it took 64 per cent of the high-end, up from 26 per cent in Q2. But that still leaves ATI with the remaining, far larger portion of the desktop standalone space.

The integrated sector remains in Intel's bag, with the chip giant taking 61 per cent of the mobile arena and 66 per cent of the desktop market. ATI is on 26 per cent and two per cent, respectively. Nvidia has two per cent of the desktop integrated market, not being a player in the mobile side of the integrated business.

Overall the numbers aren't surprising, given the financial data posted by the two graphics chip makers. Nvidia saw its revenues fall 3.4 per cent to $456.1m between Q1 FY2005 and Q2 FY2005, while ATI's sales 16.4 per cent to $575.2m in Q4 FY2004 from Q3 FY2004. ATI's Q4 completed a month after Nvidia's Q2, which would have missed some of the back-to-school sales period and been more heavily affected by the late calendar Q2/early calendar Q3 inventory correction issues that have hit the chip industry hard.

That aside, ATI does appear to have benefited from its focus on native PCI Express, which has won it plenty of support from among PC vendors. A big chunk of the more-than-a-million PCI-E parts ATI said in September it had shifted by that time are believed to have gone into Dell's assembly plants, for example.

And despite the very limited availability of top-end Radeon X800 XT Platinum Edition parts, lesser chips appear to have sold very well.

Nvidia will released its results for Q3 FY2005, which ended 24 October, soon, and has already said it expects the quarter's sales to come in well ahead of expectations, with the mid-range GeForce 6600 line expected to have made a big contribution to its bottom line. It also strengthened its lower-end offerings with the GeForce 6200. Nvidia is looking for sales between $510m and $515m.

ATI's current quarter, Q1 FY2005, is due to end with come 30 November, and will yield revenues of $600-640m, if the company's expectations are met. Depending on where the final figures fall, Nvidia could close the revenue gap on ATI or see it widen. ®

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