The market did well in the third quarter, but demand is weakening
According to the latest report published by Jon Peddie Research (JPR), the markets for workstations and professional graphics hardware are expected to experience slowdown in the near future due to the weakening of the global economy. The research firm says that, although the two segments have performed admirably in the third quarter, they both see signs of slower growth.
JPR reports that a total of 854.2 thousand workstations were shipped in Q3 2008, which would translate into around $1.8 billion in revenue. The year-over-year gains are rather moderate, being of only 12.0 percent and 2.8 percent, respectively, while compared to the greater 15 to 25 growth rates the industry has seen on long term since 2005. The same slowdown can be observed in the graphics hardware market, which posted a unit gain of 8 percent, dramatically down from rates up in the 20’s and 30’s it has recently seen.
This year is approaching its end, and the industry registers shifting fortunes among workstation suppliers and vendors. Sun and IBM, the last two suppliers of traditional proprietary workstations, are dropping their long-time UltraSPARC and Power platforms (respectively), marking the complete transition to PC-derived workstations. IBM has already exited the market, yet Sun still has its Intel-based model in the game. Currently, Dell and HP are leading the market, while Lenovo and Fujitsu-Siemens are also strong in specific areas.
Coming down to platforms, AMD's workstation share has seen decline once again. The third quarter was a rather difficult one for the chip maker, as HP’s shipments of Opteron workstations went down, while the second provider of Opteron workstations, Sun, dropped the platform. During the quarter, AMD accounted for 2.1 percent of the shipped workstations, dropping from 2.9 percent registered in the second quarter of the year. Intel, on the other hand, couldn't be doing better, as it had around 97 percent of shipments.
The professional graphics hardware area is still dominated by NVIDIA, which accounted for 90 percent of the overall unit shipments in the third quarter, JPR posting this as the highest share ever recorded. This might be indeed the record for NVIDIA, as its rival, AMD's graphics division ATI, is set to launch more competitive products in the near future, in an attempt to gain some market from the green graphics chip manufacturer.
Workstation Market Sees Slower Growth in Q4